Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant Funds


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

The Arts Fund

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.

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Human Services Fund

“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.

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Guidelines for both grants

We designed the Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant Funds to recognize innovative projects across all spectrums of arts and human service work; however, they are not intended for medical research. Our definition of an innovative project is one that 1) is an entirely new creation 2) changes how things are done (ex: improving processes, procedures, equipment, facilities, etc.) or 3) expands or alters the scope of work (ex: reaching new populations). Regardless, 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, debt relief, or crisis funding requests.
  • Projects should be complete by the end of the granting year, and we will ask grant recipients to submit a final report.

Fund amounts

In 2020, the Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant program amended its funding model. We heard how Covid-19 heavily impacted nonprofit activities and funding streams and realized many organizations may have changed their project plans or scaled back overall budgets. So, we sought to create more flexibility in this grant program. We had positive feedback about the changes and have opted to continue operating the grants as funding pools, rather that one large prize.

Each grant fund will offer up to $100,000 in grants – potentially resulting in more than one award. Organizations should apply for an amount between $20,000 – $100,000. 

Application information

Applications are accepted from July 1 – September 15, 2021, for funding that we will award in January 2022. 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 9/15/2021) 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.

Our online application will go live on July 1, 2021.



  • Applications accepted: July 1 - September 15, 2021
  • Committee review: September 16 – December 1, 2021
  • Board makes final decisions: December 2021
  • The selected organization notified and grant issued: January 2022
  • Public announcement: Early 2022
  • Final report from the selected organization due: January 2023

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.