Joy W. Pope Memorial Grants


The Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant Program is an annual competitive grant opportunity for organizations in the arts and human services. Through the grants, the Foundation seeks to foster innovation and model solutions across North Carolina. 

The program offers two grant funding pools: The Memorial Grant in Arts and the Memorial Grant in Human Services. Proposals can request $25,000 – $100,000, and each fund will award no more than $100,000. As a result, we may issue one or more grants through each fund. Applications and guidelines are identical for each grant. We will accept applications for the 2021 grants between June 15 – September 15, 2020.

Memorial Grant in Arts

Historically, North Carolina has many unique art traditions that date back centuries and include Appalachian folk and Piedmont blues music, Cherokee craftwork like beading and carving, and Seagrove pottery. But the scope of arts in our state isn’t limited to traditional arts or distinct geographic regions. As North Carolina has continued to grow and evolve, so have the state’s art traditions. Today, North Carolinians from Murphy to Manteo celebrate, host, and create a broad spectrum of the arts in small and large venues. These arts have intrinsic value and bring substantial benefits to our communities. Through the Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant in the Arts, we hope to support innovative ideas beyond our Foundation’s usual geographic focus and highlight the valuable contributions in the nonprofit arts arena.

Memorial Grant in Human Services

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime,” is an often-quoted proverb. But for the John William Pope Foundation, it’s also a guiding philosophy. We make grants to nonprofit organizations that address immediate needs (for example, hunger) and long-term needs (for example, learning opportunities). By restoring people in crisis and shining a light on pathways to self-betterment, organizations ensure that future generations have the chance to thrive. But no one private institution could or should do these things alone. Across North Carolina, nonprofits extend a hand up to those in need and, in doing so, directly contribute to the flourishing of self-empowered citizens. Through the Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant in Human Services, we hope to support innovative ideas beyond our Foundation’s normal geographic scope and highlight valuable contributions in the human services arena.


We designed The Joy W. Pope Memorial Grants to recognize innovative projects across all spectrums of arts and human service work; however, it is not intended for medical research.For these grants, an innovative project would likely be a project that is an entirely new creation; a project that addresses how things could be done better (improving processes, procedures, equipment, facilities, etc.); or a project that addresses how things could be done differently (expanding to reach new populations). Regardless of what the project does, the result should be a quantifiable gain for the organization and the people it serves.

  • Organizations are limited to one project-specific proposal.
  • Eligible projects include capital improvements (new or existing), program development and execution, equipment, and technology. This list is not exhaustive, and we will consider other grant purposes.
  • Proposed projects should not entirely consist of general operating support.
  • Proposed projects should not be endowment requests.
  • Projects should be complete by the end of 2021, and we will ask grant recipients to submit a final report.

Grant Amount

In 2020, the Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant program is operating with an amended funding model. COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on nonprofits’ activities and funding streams. These impacts spurred our Foundation to consider how we can best support projects through this grant program. In the past the Foundation has sought to award one $100,000 grant. However, this year’s funding will award a total of $100,000 to one or more projects – potentially resulting in awards to more than one project. In making this change, we hope to create more flexibility for organizations that may have scaled back projects. Organizations should apply for an amount between $25,000 – $100,000. We may meet grant requests partially or entirely. As a result, the Foundation may issue one, two, or more grants.

How to Apply

Applications are accepted from June 15 – September 15, 2020, for funding that we will award in January 2021. Applications can be submitted online or by mail (please choose one method only). We request the same information online and in paper applications.

Required Information:

  • Basic contact information.
  • A project narrative that includes a description of your project, the project's timeline, details about whom the project will serve/reach, explanations of how you will measure the project's success, brief descriptions of the key people involved in the project and any relevant qualifications, details about how you are obtaining funding for the project, and what specific portion of the total cost that the grant will fund.
  • A copy of your IRS' Letter of Determination' showing the tax-exempt status.
  • A copy of your most recent 990, if you file a full return.
  • A copy of your most recent audited financials (if you don't perform audits, a balance sheet for the most recent completed fiscal year reflecting assets, liabilities, and net assets is sufficient).
  • List of current board members/officers and staff.
  • Project budget (entire project--not just the portion of the project that the Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant will be supporting).

If you apply online, you will be able to enter all the requested information through our website portal. You will be able to upload attachments (all common file types supported). You will receive an automated confirmation email for your application and an emailed confirmation letter. 

If you apply by mail, submit all requested information in one package via mail (postmarked by 9/15/2020) to John William Pope Foundation, 4601 Six Forks Road, Ste 300, Raleigh, NC 27609. We will send an emailed letter confirming we received your proposal.


  • Applications accepted: June 15 - September 15, 2020
  • Committee review: September 15 – December 1, 2020
  • Board makes final decisions: December 2020
  • The selected organization notified and grant issued: January 2021
  • Public announcement: Early 2021
  • Final report from the selected organization due: January 2022

Evaluation Criteria

Pope Foundation staff reviews grant proposals and make recommendations. Our board of directors makes the final decision. Evaluation questions we ask are:

  • Is the project consistent with the mission and values of the Pope Foundation?
  • Does the proposed project create something new, do something better, or do something differently?
  • Does the proposal detail the need and explain the quantifiable gain for the organization and its clients?
  • Is the project a good use of one-time funds?
  • Is there a viable funding plan if costs continue past the first year of the project?
  • Is the budget practical and necessary?
  • Does the organization seem to implement best practices in their work?
  • Does the organization have the qualifications to do the work?

We are unable to provide detailed feedback about your potential proposal before submission. However, if you have questions or need more information, please email us at or call us at 919-871-3329.