Here are some common questions about the Cooperative Development Grant (CDG) Program.

If you have questions that are not addressed here or in the request for proposals (RFP), email them to with "Cooperative Development Grant" in the subject line. We will accept program questions until 4 p.m. Central Time (CT) on April 17, 2024, and will post all questions and answers on this page.

Applicant eligibility

Q: We are interested in forming a new coop, but we have not established ourselves yet. We would like to use these funds for getting the word out to interested parties, establishing membership rules and basic initial benefits, writing bylaws, filing for legal status, and starting to conduct feasibility studies. How would a group of us apply, given that in order to get funding we must already be organized?

A: The group must be a cooperative organized under Minn. Stat. 308A or 308B before applying for the grant, as the cooperative is the entity that would be eligible to sign the contract and receive the funding. You would have until the grant deadline to establish your cooperative to be eligible to apply.

Project eligibility

Q: I want to purchase storage equipment for our cooperative and/or farm use. Is this eligible?

A: Infrastructure and equipment are not eligible for funding through this grant. Please check our funding web page or USDA’s grants and loan website for other opportunities that may cover those expenses.


Q: Is there a match required for this grant?

A: Yes. You must cover at least 50% of the total project cost. The match can be in the form of cash, in-kind contributions, or both.

Q: Can I use grant funds from another Minnesota state agency as part of my matching funds?

A: No, state grant funds cannot be used for your portion of the total project cost, but non-forgivable loans from the state may be used.

Q: What is required to prove that we can provide our matching contribution to our grant project?

A: In the budget section of your application, you must identify how you plan to provide matching funds, the type of match (cash or in-kind), and who will be providing the match. No additional documentation is required to verify your ability to provide your matching contribution in your application.

Though not required, as part of the Stakeholder Support section of the application, you may choose to include:

  • Letters of support from business or financial contacts that can attest to your business and financial readiness and your cooperative’s capacity to provide the match you are committing.
  • Letters of commitment from your cooperative or third parties who will be providing match to you project.

Q: Do we need to have the full matching amount in-hand (e.g., in our bank account or through a line of credit) at the start of the project?

A: No, it’s not required to have the full match amount in-hand at that time.

Q: Can we describe a pending grant as a potential source of match?

A: Yes, it is allowable to describe a pending grant as your potential source of match.

Q: If a third-party partner is providing cash match to our project, do those funds need to be given to our cooperative first, or can the third-party pay for costs directly?

A: It is acceptable for a third-party that is providing cash match to your project to pay for costs directly, as long as they can provide you with all documentation required for reimbursement, such as a zero-balance invoice and proof of payment such as a cleared check. They may only pay for matching costs – not costs that will be reimbursed with grant funds. The portion of the cost that will be reimbursed with grant funds must be paid by the grantee (your cooperative), because we will only make reimbursement payments to the grantee and not any third parties.

For example, if a partner organization has agreed to pay for 50% of the cost of a feasibility study, it is acceptable for them to pay 50% of the consultant's invoice directly, and then provide you with the required documentation. However, they would not be allowed to pay 100% of the invoice, because we cannot reimburse them. The other 50% of the consultant's invoice must be paid directly by you so we can reimburse your cooperative.


Q: Any tips to getting my application funded?

A: The applications will be scored based on the scoring criteria in the Project Evaluation Profile in the RFP. Maximize your points by clearly answering the application questions.

Q: Where can I get help with writing the grant application or with our project?

A: There are agencies and groups that help cooperatives. See the Resources tab at the bottom of the main CDG page for some examples.

Q: One of the questions on the application asks if we have received previous grant funding. Should we include grant funding that has been received by other organizations on our behalf?

A: No, you are only required to describe previous grant funding awarded to your cooperative, where you have been the grantee and received the funds directly.

Grant funding awarded to a third party on your cooperative's behalf may be described in the Cooperative History and Capacity section of the application. For example, if a planning or development grant awarded to a fiscal sponsor was an important step in establishing your cooperative, you may describe that in this section.

Q: One of the application questions asks us to describe any third parties we plan to contract with or use to facilitate any of the work. Do we only need to describe third parties that will be paid with grant funds, or do we also need to describe those who will be paid with matching funds or those providing services an in-kind matching contribution?

A: You must describe any third-party contractors or organizations who will be part of your project, regardless of the source of funds they will be paid with.

For example, if your project involves contracting with a business consultant to help your cooperative develop a business plan (paid with grant funds) and working with a cooperative development organization that has agreed to donate the services facilitating board governance training (contributed as in-kind match), both organizations and their qualifications to perform the work should be described in your application.

Award Process

Q: If awarded, what do I need to do to receive the funds?

A: First, you must accept the grant award. This includes submitting an IRS Form W-9 along with other required documents to the grant manager. Next, you will sign a grant contract agreement. After the grant contract agreement is fully signed by all parties, you can begin work on the project. Finally, you will need to provide detailed invoices and proof of payments to receive your grant reimbursement. View our Reimbursement Guide (PDF) for more details.

Back to top