Greater Harrisburg Community Foundation UPstream

You know your community and its challenges best—GHCF UPstream seeks to empower your solutions.

There is an often quoted parable that tells of two people fishing downstream who are startled to see a person floating down the river, struggling for life.  Working together, the fisher folk pull the person to safety but shortly after they notice another person crying for help.  Again, they pull the person to safety.  Other community members hear what is happening and rush to help.  As the fisher folk tire, volunteers take their place, and the community works together all day and all night to safely pull more and more people from the river.  The next morning the community members have a new idea—we need to go upstream and find out why so many people are falling in the water.  Upon walking upstream, the community members find that people are drawn to the edge of a cliff to look at the river and its beauty. Unfortunately, there is no safe way to do this and many of them fall. The community members return and report the number of people who have fallen into the river due to the lack of a protective barrier on the cliff.  In response, the community builds a wall behind which people may safely view the water.  Some still fall, but there are far fewer.

Grant Amount

Up to $10,000

Applications Open: June 1, 2024

Applications Close: September 1, 2024

Apply Now

Funding Priorities

The Greater Harrisburg Community Foundation (GHCF) UPstream grant opportunity seeks to improve our area communities by supporting existing or new “upstream” systems, interventions, programs, or projects that attempt to create positive social change by addressing a problem at its source rather than managing its “downstream” symptoms.

This grant opportunity is open to singular or collective nonprofit organizations whose proposals will serve the GHCF service area of Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lebanon, and/or Perry Counties and the Dillsburg Area of Northern York County.

GHCF UPstream is available to organizations of all sizes, budgets, and reaches.

The number of grant awards will be dependent upon the quantity of qualified applicants and funds sought.

GHCF UPstream welcomes creative and strategic solutions that seek to address the source of systemic issues within the communities you serve.  Applicants may seek support for ANY “upstream” project, program, or intervention that best meets the needs of the population to be served.  Examples of upstream projects include, but are not limited to:  access to quality education, access to a safe and healthy environment; life skills training; materials that increase accessibility or improve an individual’s self-sufficiency; availability of reliable and safe transportation that improves an individual or group’s ability to grow, learn, or address a key need; animal spay/neuter clinics; early health screenings; job training and placement; support of basic needs that work to support an individual or group’s ability to grow, learn, or address a key need.  The principal focus of GHCF UPstream is the support of any grant application that best presents upstream solutions to any area of community need. In addition, GHCF is empowered by a range of special funds which serve to collectively strengthen our area communities through shared themes and also welcomes upstream applications that address:

  • Education: Early childhood education; education & development programs for children & youth; educational programs serving adults
  • Environment & Parks: Environmental stewardship; horticulture & the arts; health & environment; park beautification & improvement
  • Health & Wellness: Health & human services; programs and projects focusing upon: cancer awareness and/or research, dental care for those in need, HIV & AIDS, individuals with debilitating or terminal illness, Individuals with intellectual disabilities, prevention of head and/or spinal cord injury, purchasing of devices that improve accessibility
  • Homelessness & Hunger: Programs & projects addressing homelessness & hunger
  • Mental Health: Counseling for children with terminally ill family members; guidance, counseling, or programming that includes guidance and/or counseling for youths; programs and projects that address mental health
  • Seniors: Programs & projects serving older adults
  • Communities of Focus: Programs and projects that benefit residents of Millersburg, a borough of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. Disaster relief & human services that serve the communities of Lebanon City, PA, and Cressona, PA. Projects to enhance Camp Hill Borough parks provided by youth organizations such as Scout programs or other youth organizations; programs & projects that focus upon or nurture access to early childhood education within Camp Hill. Please note: each community of focus is supported by special funds and parameters established by caring community members and is specific to the respective community. 

Attention Prospective Arts Applicants! – The Greater Harrisburg Community Foundation recognizes the artistic, cultural, and economic value of the arts and is pleased to offer funding opportunities for the arts through The Arts for All Partnership, a collaboration between the Greater Harrisburg Community Foundation and the Cultural Enrichment Fund.  This unique collaborative funding initiative aims to improve the efficiency of arts grant funding and increase the overall impact of grant funding for arts programming in our communities.  Prospective grant applicants whose project is centered upon the arts and access to the arts, will be best served by seeking funding support through The Arts for All Partnership rather than GHCF UPstream.

Grant Eligibility

  • Eligible projects must serve individuals, groups, and/or locations within Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lebanon, and Perry Counties, and/or the Dillsburg Area of Northern York County.
  • Applicants must either be a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, a nonprofit organization as recognized by the IRS as such, or have a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization act as a fiscal sponsor for the proposed project.
  • Applications from faith-based organizations for programs or projects that serve all members of the community as applicable to the project and do not require participation in religious activity for receipt of services are eligible.

Grant Timeline

  • June 1, 2024: Application available.
  • September 1, 2024 : All application materials must be submitted online.
  • Applicants will be notified of their status by December 1, 2024.
  • Proposed projects may take place at any time during the grant year beginning January 1, 2025 and ending December 31, 2025. Only projects taking place during the stated grant year will be considered for this round of funding.

What We Do Not Fund

  • Advertising*
  • Capital campaigns
  • Direct lobbying to influence legislation or funding appropriations*
  • Individuals
  • National and statewide umbrella organizations that cannot demonstrate a local presence
  • New staff positions without a substantial plan for sustainability
  • Religious organizations for religious purposes
  • Retroactive projects

*Grant proposals that include these should describe the scope, purpose and guidelines.

Criteria for Evaluating Proposals

The GHCF Advisory Committee makes all grantmaking decisions and consists of a dedicated group of individuals committed to the betterment of the GHCF service area.  The GHCF Advisory Committee may request additional information about the grant application prior to making an award or denial.

Below is a list of the criteria utilized to evaluate applications.

  • (20) – Connection to the Mission of GHCF: Upstream
    • Need and target audience is clearly stated.
    • Narrative provides a clear picture of all proposed actions and activities.
    • Project/program dates and locations are clearly addressed and anticipated.
  • (5) – Roles and responsibilities are defined and work to strengthen/enhance the project.
    • Partnerships, collaborations, services and affiliations are clearly defined if applicable.
  • (5) – Funding:
    • Project has a funding diversification plan and is not 100% dependent upon grant award.
    • Budget Worksheet clearly defines where awarded funds will be applied.
  • (10) – Project success is clearly defined and measurable.
    • Goals are measurable and anticipated outcomes are clearly defined.
  • (10) –  Diversity Equity and Inclusion:
    • Project demonstrates how it will be inclusive/accessible to all applicable audiences.
    • The board, staff and/or volunteers reflect the community and the people being served.

Would you recommend funding this project? Yes/No


  • Application Tutorial
    • How to register and apply
  • Draft Reviews
    • Applicants may request a draft review of their application up to 2 weeks prior to the deadline. To request a draft review contact the Community Investment Team, at

If you should have any questions regarding TFEC grant opportunities or your application, please contact the Community Investment Team, at or 717-236-5040. Questions are welcome at any time!


Questions regarding our grant opportunities?

get in touch with us or
view the grantseeker FAQ