Empower Knox Grant Funding Guidelines


Emily Norris
[email protected]
(865) 215-3524

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Click here to download the Empower Knox Funding Guidelines Document or view the text below.

Empower Knox logo in two colorsProgram Overview

The City of Knoxville’s Empower Knox Initiative recognizes that youth resilience and workforce development are essential components of positive youth development, particularly for young people ages 12 to 24 to successfully transition from middle to high school and pursue post-secondary opportunities. Resilience and workforce skills can be built and nurtured through meaningful programming, and Empower Knox seeks to provide grant funding to non-profit and community-based organizations, including smaller organizations, capable of providing high-quality youth programming and/or youth employment in or around Knoxville.

Proposals should specifically engage young people in workforce development or resilience building through STEM, arts, or recreation programming. 

The City of Knoxville has funding available in this round of grants to be awarded in November 2023 for programming carried out between November 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024. Awards may range between $1,000 - $8,000 and shall specifically support programming, stipends, payment, or other services directly for youth ages 12 to 24 engaged in programming.

This is a competitive process. Some applications may not be funded, and some may be only partially funded. Additionally, previously receiving funding does not guarantee selection for funding this cycle.

Applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. Thursday, October 5, 2023.

A post project report of the programs or activities administered, demographics and number of youth served, and impact of programming must be submitted at the end of the grant cycle.

Terms & Conditions

Please read this entire document before you start filling out your Application. If you have a question or need help understanding these Guidelines or the Application, call Emily Norris at 865-215-3524 or email [email protected], or Tiffany Davidson at 865-215-3057 or email [email protected].

1. Deadline for Applications

Applications must be received via mail, email, or in person no later than 4:30 p.m. Thursday, October 5, 2023. No applications will be accepted beyond this deadline.

Please submit all applications to Emily Norris:

• By email: [email protected]
• In person or by mail: City County Building, Room 691, 400 W Main Street, Knoxville 37902

If you wish to have someone at the City of Knoxville review your application for completeness, please have your application to the office no later than 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 28, 2023.

Any applications that are not received by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 5, 2023, or that do not have all requested paperwork, will not be accepted. No applications by fax, please.

2. Funding Disbursement

To receive funding, an applicant must be a nonprofit organization with tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status or have secured a Fiscal Sponsor. (See Fiscal Sponsor section in this document.) An applicant cannot discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or disability when carrying out any aspect of the funded project.
Funds will generally be distributed in a single payment upon execution of the grant agreement, however the City reserves the right to hold a portion of grant funding until after submission and approval of an End-Project report.

Checking Account

To receive funding directly from the City, an applicant must have a checking account in the name of the 501(c)(3) or Fiscal Sponsor prior to receiving the first check. However, if you use a Fiscal Sponsor, you may not need a checking account depending on how your Fiscal Sponsor handles your receipts and invoices. It is not necessary to possess a checking account at the time you submit an application.

Fiscal Sponsorship

Grants can only be made to tax-exempt organizations with 501(c)(3) status. If an applicant has a 501(c)(3) determination letter from and is in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), that applicant can receive funding directly from the City. A W-9 form will be requested in order to provide funding if the City does not already have one from your organization. Each applicant must include a copy of its IRS Designation Letter, verifying the organization’s non-profit status, and a copy of the organization’s most recent annual report/budget.

Organizations without such tax-exempt status may receive support by partnering with a tax-exempt organization willing to serve as the organization’s fiscal sponsor consistent with applicable law. Funds are disbursed to that sponsor, which then provides the funds to the sponsored organization. You may partner with a fiscal sponsor of your choosing. You will be responsible for setting this up on your own.

Please Note: By law, churches and other religious organizations may not serve as fiscal sponsors for taxpayer-funded grants.

3. How Funds Can Be Used

Funds must be used to support programming that serves youth ages 12 to 24. Programming should be designed to build youth resilience and/or engage in workforce development through meaningful activities utilizing STEM, arts, and/or recreation. 

When completing the required Budget Form, applicants should estimate the actual costs of supplies, services, and other costs that are expected to be needed to support activities.

4. Program Reporting

Empower Knox will require an exact accounting of how all funds are spent. Funded organizations will consent to allowing City staff to observe funded programs in action.

Funded organizations will file a post project report, due no later than Friday, July 12, 2024.

The post project report will include demographic information for youth served, summaries of activities or services provided, pre-test and post-test data (when administered), summaries of post-summer referrals or continued engagement plans for participants, and other data as requested. A template for the post-project report will be provided to awardees prior to the beginning of the project cycle.

The post project report must be accompanied by receipts for all expenditures paid through this award. Failure to provide a report and receipts in a timely manner may result in the organization’s forfeiting of any grant funds held by the City and/or the organization’s suspension from future consideration for funding.

Additionally, funded organizations will be required to distribute pre and post surveys to its participants that identifies resiliency measures to assess impact of programming. These surveys will be provided both before programming begins and after programming ends.

Additional Terms

Funded entities will be required to enter into an agreement with the City of Knoxville that includes the following requirements:

1. Comply with the following ethical standards prescribed by the Knoxville City Code:

(A) Sec. 2-1048. Conflict of Interest;
(B) Sec. 2-1049. Receipt of Benefits from City Contracts by Councilmembers, Employees
and Officers of the City;
(C) Sec. 2-1050. Gratuities and Kickbacks Prohibited;
(D) Sec. 2-1051. Covenant Relating to Contingent Fees; and
(E) Sec. 2-1052. Restrictions on Employment of Present and Former City Employees

2. Comply with all applicable requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (“ADA”).

3. Not discriminate against any participant, employee, or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, familial status, or national origin.

4. Take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, familial status, or national origin.

5. State in all solicitations or advertisements for employees that all qualified applicants shall receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, familial status, or national origin.

6. Include these same Non-Discrimination provisions (#2, 3, 4, and 5 above) are included in subcontracts, subleases, etc. relevant to funded work.

7. Religious organizations receiving funding under this program may not utilize grant funds to engage in any of the following activities:

(A) Perform inherently religious activities such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization;
(B) Acquire, construct, or rehabilitate structures or properties that shall be used for inherently religious activities, including sanctuaries and chapels; and
(C) Discriminate against any beneficiary or prospective beneficiary of the grant on the basis of religion or belief

8. Agree to indemnify / hold harmless the City using terms standard to City agreements