We concentrate our giving programs in geographic areas where AgStar has a significant business presence and on those programs that fit strategically with the intent of our clients and their communities in which they live. The grants are discretionary and restricted to a specific purpose: project or program support, technical assistance, general operating support or equipment. The AgStar Fund does not allow awarded funds to be used for indirect costs. All awarded funds must be used for direct project or program costs. Funding is limited to $10,000 per organization per year.
The AgStar Fund supports direct delivery of services. Also, we will align the grants with the company’s broader business interests and community involvement programs. In order to be considered for funding, requests for support must align with the Fund's mission, as well as, one of the following focus areas:
- Education – Educating young, beginning or future farmers.
- Environment – Maintaining or improving the quality of the rural environment.
- Technology – Supporting the advancement and utilization of technology for the benefit of farmers and rural communities.
- Quality of Life – Programs or initiatives that enhance the quality of life for farmers and rural communities.
How to Apply:
Who Can Apply? – Our giving programs are concentrated in our Local Service Area.
Online Application – Those who meet our guidelines and criteria are encouraged to apply online between October 1 and November 30.
Funds will generally not be approved for:
- Programs outside our four focus areas.
- Programs of religious groups except where they provide needed services to the community at large and do not include or promote a particular religious instruction or belief.
- Legislative or lobbying efforts.
- Political campaigns.
- Fundraising activities such as benefits, charitable dinners, annual fund drives or sporting events.
- Sponsorship of organized sports teams or sporting activities.
- Construction or maintenance of recreational facilities, such as ballparks, bleachers, playground equipment, trails, health club memberships and related transportation, etc.
- Theatrical productions.
- Books and magazines, articles or advertising in professional journals.
- Fraternal societies and orders, or veteran organizations.
- Arts-related facilities and activities, such as performing group equipment, concerts, art shows, theatrical productions, etc.
- All or portions of public or private school teaching positions.
- Deficits already incurred, loans or debt retirement.
- Programs or activities that directly benefit specific individuals or private businesses.
- Programs or activities that directly benefit AgStar employees or directors
The AgStar Fund will not fund grant requests from organizations that are discriminatory toward other organizations or individuals, or to organizations that engage in activities that are not compatible with the AgStar Fund mission.
Grant Review Process
Upon initial review of the applications, the applications that best meet our guidelines and criteria will be further reviewed. Proposals up to $2,500 will be reviewed for approval by AgStar Fund Staff, according to the grant program guidelines. Proposals in excess of $2,500 will be reviewed for approval by the Board of Trustees.
The AgStar Fund staff will review the proposals, request additional information if necessary and conduct site visits as needed.
To enable the AgStar Fund staff to complete the review process, applicants may be asked to provide copies of any or all of the following:
- Comprehensive description of the grant request including activities and outcomes.
- Detailed budget for the use of grant request funds.
- Current financial statement for the requesting organization (preferably audited).
- Current IRS Form 990.
- IRS tax classification letter verifying 501(c)(3) status.
- List of the organization’s board of directors.
- Other items deemed necessary by the AgStar Fund staff to perform a comprehensive review.
- Grant requests may be partially funded.
- Previous funding does not guarantee continuing support to any organization.
- Some organizations meeting the AgStar Fund criteria may not receive support in a given year.
- The AgStar Fund will not provide critiques of proposals submitted.
- A post-grant evaluation will be requested.
- When the review process is complete, and depending upon the size of the proposal, the AgStar Fund administrator will either make a decision or make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The AgStar Fund trustees make the final decision on all proposals for more than $2,500.
- Proposals will be reviewed and grants awarded in March of the following year. Applicants will be notified of all decisions as soon as possible.
The AgStar Fund for Rural America may fund only a portion of the many worthwhile grant requests received each year. A decision to decline a grant request does not imply that the applicant’s program is not needed or valued, but simply that it does not fall within our giving guidelines or priorities, or that funds are not available.