The Big Lottery Awards night will distribute the first batch of a fund worth half a million pounds.
Tonight's event is a response to concerns that take-up of money for good causes from the lottery was low in areas with high ethnic minority populations.
After publicising the Awards for All small grants scheme through ethnic minority children and families charity roshni, the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland (Big Scotland) was deluged with applications totalling more than £1.3m.
An initial pot of £100,000 was increased to £500,000 earlier this year to better meet demand and half of that will be allocated in grants of up to £10,000 each for grassroots projects at a unique event in the southside of Glasgow tonight.
Ali Khan, executive chairman of roshni, said the charity partnership had enabled the lottery distributor to address barriers which had discouraged ethnic minority communities from applying for their share of lottery funds.
He said: "Ordinary people will decide who gets the money and we will distribute £250,000 tonight and another batch at a later date.
"The Big Lottery Fund should be applauded for their innovative approach in recognising the importance of using community organisations to engage directly with Scotland's minority ethnic communities."
The event in the 300-capacity Village Curry House will see 270 people - who the organisers say will be ordinary community members, rather than councillors or MSPs - decide between more than 50 applications for funding, already whittled down from a long-list of 240.
The applicants come from all over Scotland, and represent a range of ethnic groups.
They include a request for money to put on a one-man satirical play The Marinated Muslim about anti-Islamic racism in Scotland and a proposal for a Highland Curry Ceilidh.
The Scottish Afghan society, the Eritrean Community Residing in Scotland, the Lanarkshire Muslim Welfare Society, the Asian Deaf Club, Glasgow Polish School and the Fife Migrants Forum are among those seeking small grants.
Translation services were made available so applications could be made in people's native languages and bids for support were received in Farsi, Punjabi and a range of African languages.
Each of the 54 contenders has made a one minute video 'pitch' which will determine whether they win enough public approval to be awarded funds tonight.
A spokeswoman for Big Scotland said there was a perception among some ethnic minority groups that lottery funds were not for them, and other barriers including language might make them less likely to pick up the phone and enquire about funding.
However, organisations which begin by claiming small grants funding under the Awards for All scheme can frequently end up taking on larger, better funded projects at a later date.
The spokeswoman said this meant organisations who win support tonight could end up with a much longer relationship with Big Scotland, she said.
Big Scotland director Jackie Killeen added: "The partnership between the Big Lottery Fund and roshni will provide significant funds to support minority ethnic communities across Scotland through the SEC £100,000 fund.
"When we started this collaboration last year we had modest ambitions for success. But the response from communities has been fantastic and we have been overwhelmed by the energy and creative drive that has emerged."
Tonight's event will also feature the announcement of winners of the Youth Ethnic Awards, which will recognise exceptional achievements by minority ethnic people aged 14-25.