Discretionary Grants - How to Apply

We award grants to a full spectrum of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organizations – from social service to the arts to health and the environment – based upon worthy community efforts and the greatest community need. Generally grants are awarded to help launch new projects not addressed by existing organizations or to support special efforts of already-established not-for-profit organizations in the Dayton Region. The programs we consider for discretionary support are located primarily in Montgomery, Miami, Greene, Darke, Preble and Warren (north) counties.

The Dayton Foundation has designed a streamlined process to help you apply for a discretionary grant. Please review the following grant guidelines and application procedures. The size and number of grants awarded varies for each grant cycle. This is directly related to the amount of money available and the restrictions our donors place upon the use of certain funds. Additionally, grant awards typically do not exceed 25 percent of a project’s total budget and/or $75,000.

See a listing of recent discretionary grantees and how they are making a difference in Greater Dayton.


1. Ensure that your organization is eligible to apply for a Dayton Foundation discretionary grant.

2. Attend the Foundation’s Grant Orientation to learn more about our grant process. Grant orientations are offered twice a year and recommended for all organizations that are planning to apply for a grant. Organizations are NOT required to attend a Grants Orientation in order to apply for a grant. 

3. Review the Foundation’s guidelines for discretionary grants.

4. Review the Foundation’s policy for Letters of Intent for Vehicle Purchases.

5. If your organization does not have an audit, please download and review the Audit Exemption Policy.

6. Submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). The LOI provides the Foundation with an overview of your funding request. (If you have any difficulty filling the Letter of Intent in PDF format, please contact Tania Arseculeratne at Tania Arseculeratne to request a Letter of Intent in Word format.)

7. We have added a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Form as a required document to our Discretionary Grants application process. If selected, a fillable form will be emailed to you with the full application. As a reference, review the non-fillable Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Form.

After completing the Letter of Intent, please email it to Tania Arseculeratne. Check the schedule below for the next deadline for completed LOIs.

Please Note: If your organization has received a discretionary grant from The Dayton Foundation, you must submit a final report on how the grant was used and have it approved by the Foundation’s Grants Department two weeks prior to the LOI deadline before you are eligible to apply for a new grant.

Click here for a list of steps to apply for Greenlight Grants.

Nonprofit organizations interested in applying for a grant that will come from the Harry A. Toulmin, Jr. and Virginia B. Toulmin Fund should follow the Foundation’s existing discretionary grant application process.

Whom to Contact for More Information

If you have questions about our grantmaking process, please contact Tania Arseculeratne, program officer, at (937) 225-9966.


The Dayton Foundation offers two discretionary grant cycles per year. All applicants are encouraged to attend a discretionary grants orientation.

    • What:

    • When?

    • Letters of Intent Due by 4:00 p.m.
    • Full Grant Application Due
      (Invitation only)
    • Grants Program Orientation
    • June 2021 - CANCELED
    • Letters of Intent Due
    • PASSED
    • Full Grant Application Due
      (Invitation only)
    • October 1, 2021 by 4:00 p.m.
    • Grants Program Orientation (Virtual)
    • November 3, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Want to know more about our discretionary grants process? Attend an upcoming Grants Program Orientation.

See a listing of Foundation funds that accept grant applications.

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File date: 09.24.21


Tania Arseculeratne

“We encourage those organizations planning to apply for a discretionary grant to attend our discretionary grants program orientation. There also are a number of endowed funds at The Dayton Foundation that not-for-profit organizations may apply to for grants. Click here for more information.”
Tania Arseculeratne, community engagement officer, (937) 225-9966

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