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Deadlines: 12:00 noon March 15 and September 15, 2016, 2017 and 2018


The Downtown Challenge Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia was created to implement the Macon Action Plan through a series of grants to local businesses, nonprofits, individuals, and government entities. To read the Macon Action Plan, please visit The Community Foundation appreciates your interest in the Challenge. 

Thanks to generous grants from the Peyton Anderson Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, $3 million has been invested in to the Downtown Challenge Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.  This three-year program will fund the best ideas to transform Downtown Macon, also known as the Urban Core, into a place that can grow with grace, build upon its good bones, dance to its local rhythm, care for its heart, and coordinate and focus for maximum impact.

This grant will fund creative, transformational ideas for Macon’s downtown from organizations and individuals. A broad-based, competitive grant program, the Challenge will fund the best ideas – small and large – that entice both businesses and individuals to want to call Downtown Macon home.

Who can apply?
Businesses, non-profit organizations, government entities, and individuals may apply to the challenge.  However, we strongly encourage individual applicants to partner with a sponsoring organization.  An individual without a sponsoring organization will be required to submit additional information and will be subject to additional reporting requirements.  The challenge is administered by the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.  

Grant Size
To ensure that creativity is not impeded, there is not a minimum or maximum grant size. 

Application Deadlines & Award Dates
Application deadlines are 12:00 noon on March 15 and September 15 through 2018.  Grants will be announced no later than 3 months following the application deadline.  PLEASE NOTE:  To access the online application, you must have a User ID and Password for the Community Foundation’s web portal.  A user ID and password may be obtained by going to Once your request is approved and you are able to log in, you will be able to access the online application by going to “Available Grants”. If you are registering to apply for a grant as an individual, please select "Downtown Challenge Individual Applicant" as your "organization". 

Successful Applications
Successful projects will respond to community needs and opportunities within the four areas identified in the Macon Action Plan,  Preference will be given to applications that are programmatic in nature. Successful applicants will have a well developed plan for sustainability, will involve teamwork, will be citizen-led, and will be inclusive.  They may not be political or discriminatory. 

  • Economic Development – Diversify the local economy to ensure that Downtown is competitive and attractive for new business, support Macon’s institutions as economic anchors for growth, send a clear message that Macon is open for business, and support start-ups and attract job-creating businesses.
  • Experience –Program downtown’s social life, build the local audience, keep the urban core clean and safe, and transform Macon’s sidewalks and public spaces as the center stage for community life.
  • Living – Encourage more households to locate downtown, update regulations and codes to encourage investment, strengthen surrounding neighborhoods to offer the best of both worlds (downtown and intown living).
  • Connectivity – Cultivate and improve multi-modal transportation options, enhance safety, manage downtown’s parking system in a comprehensive manner.

Please note that the Downtown Challenge Fund will not make multi-year grants or pay individuals for their time. The Downtown Challenge hopes to inspire people to volunteer their time to transform Downtown Macon.

The Downtown Challenge service area is the Urban Core. This area is bound by I-75 to the west, 7th Street and the Ocmulgee National Monument to the east, Little Richard Penniman Boulevard to the south, and Emery Highway to the north. Click here to view the Map of the Downtown Challenge’s Service Area.

Project Budget Summary
Each grant application must include a project budget summary that includes all revenue sources, including in-kind, (requested, pending & received) and all expenses for the project. 

How to Apply – Applications will only be accepted online
First, you must apply for and receive a User ID and Password for our web portal at you are registering to apply for a grant as an individual, please select "Downtown Challenge Individual Applicant" as your "organization". Once your registration has been approved, you can log in to our web portal, and by hovering over “Grant Applicant” you will see “Available Grants”. Complete the online application for the Downtown Challenge and submit all required attachments (see list below) prior to the deadline.

Required Attachments

  • Project Budget Summary (ALL APPLICANTS)
  • Organization’s Annual Operating Budget (Organization Applicants Only)
  • Most recent financial statement, audit or completed IRS form (Organization Applicants Only)
  • Photo, sketch or video clip, if applicable.

Please Note
Late, faxed, hard copy, hand-delivered or incomplete applications will NOT be considered.  Please do not include any other forms or information other than what is required as outlined above.  Applicants will be contacted if more information is needed.

Technical Difficulties or Questions?
Only online applications will be accepted.  If you have problems or need assistance completing the application, please contact the Community Foundation at (478) 750-9338 ext. 104 or

MAP Action Committee
The MAP Action Committee was identified in the Macon Action Plan to steward the plan from vision to reality. This Committee will meet after each deadline to prioritize the proposals that are received via the online application. The Committee makes recommendations to the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia. The Community Foundation’s Board makes the final decision on all potential grantees. To learn more about the Macon Action Plan and the ideas in it please visit