Grants & Scholarships

back

Community Grant Program

The Oregon Community Foundation's Community Grant Program addresses community needs and fosters civic leadership and engagement throughout our state. As of November 2014, the application deadlines have changed to January 15 and July 15. More information can be found under Application Process below.

  • Funding Priorities

    Guiding Principles

    • We believe that creative and sustainable solutions come from people who work in partnership to address common needs and aspirations.
    • We give high priority to investments that create positive, substantive change and attempt to resolve problems at their source.
    • We recognize and respect Oregon's diverse regions and populations, and we seek to advance equity, diversity and inclusion through our programs.

    Program Details

    As a responsive arm of OCF, the Community Grant Program awards about 220-240 grants each year, mostly to small- and moderate-size nonprofits. The average grant is $20,000. OCF typically receives 300 to 350 proposals per grant cycle and funds 110 to 120 of these. Concerns central to OCF’s evaluation of proposed projects include:

    • The strength of local support for the project
    • The strength of the applicant organization
    • Whether the project addresses a significant community need

    OCF will also consider how well the project fits the following list of funding priorities. Please review the full guidelines, which include tips on submitting a competitive proposal as well as guidance on capacity-building and capital requests.

    Health & Wellbeing of Vulnerable Populations (30 to 40 percent of grants)

    1. Improve community-based health and wellness, including oral and mental/behavioral health
    2. Address basic human needs, such as food, housing, and related services
    3. Improve the quality of life, safety and self-sufficiency of at-risk populations

    Educational Opportunities & Achievement (30 to 40 percent of grants)

    1. Promote social, emotional and cognitive development of young children, including programs that support and educate parents and efforts that engage volunteers
    2. Expand academic support, mentoring and recreational programs for children and youth, particularly to close the achievement gap
    3. Broaden workplace, career and postsecondary experiences and opportunities for youth
    4. Improve adult literacy, skill development, education and workforce training 

    Arts & Cultural Organizations (15 to 25 percent of grants)

    1. Strengthen and stabilize arts and cultural nonprofits, and support collaborative efforts
    2. Cultivate and support appreciation of diverse cultures and art forms
    3. Deepen community-based arts education for children and adults
    4. Encourage audience development, particularly to reach underserved populations

    Community Livability, Environment & Citizen Engagement (10 to 20 percent of grants)

    1. Promote leadership development, volunteerism, immigrant integration, and civic participation
    2. Support stewardship and appreciation of Oregon's outdoor spaces and scenic beauty
    3. Address social, economic and environmental challenges or opportunities by bringing together disparate stakeholders
    4. Preserve places essential to communities' civic and historic identities
  • Eligibility

    Eligibility

    General Requirements

    • Applicants must have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and be classified as a public entity rather than a private foundation as defined by section 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Alternatively, they must have a qualified fiscal sponsor (i.e., a sponsoring tax-exempt organization that is tax-exempt).
    • Applicants must have submitted required evaluation reports for all prior grants from the Foundation.
    • Organizations are not eligible to apply who either currently have an active Community Grant, or who are requesting funding for a program or project that has been previously funded by a Community Grant.
    • Generally speaking, applicants may submit only one Community Grant application per 12-month period. An exception may be made in cases where an applicant from a smaller community serves as the umbrella for multiple programs, and acquiring separate 501(c)(3) status for each would be impractical. Please contact OCF staff if you believe your organization qualifies for this exception.

    Additional Considerations

    • Applicants who have secured little funding at the time of application to OCF are usually less competitive.
    • Preference may be given to applicants who have not received multiple Community Grants in recent years, unless reapplication was specifically invited by OCF.

    Activities Typically Not Eligible for Funding

    • Annual fund appeals or endowment funds
    • Sponsorship of one-time events or performances
    • Sponsorship of regular events or performances (e.g., a "season")
    • Projects in individual schools
    • Grants to scholarship or regranting programs
    • Subsidies to allow individuals to participate in conferences
    • Capital projects that will not clearly benefit the community
    • Purchases or activities that occur prior to grant decisions
    • Deficit funding
    • Replacement of government funding
    • Lobbying to influence legislation
    • Scientific research
    • Religious activities
    • Operating support, except where a grant may have strategic impact on the long-term viability of programs of high priority to OCF

    Nonprofits Declined in Past Three Months

    Our longtime policy has been to allow one Community Grant application per year from a nonprofit. However, because many requests are declined now because relatively little funding was secured at the time of application, we are able to bend this rule on occasion. If you believe your organization fits this description, please contact OCF staff to find out if you are eligible to apply again in the same year.

    OCF Non-Discrimination Policy

    OCF does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical circumstances, age, status as a veteran, or national origin. Grant applicants must hold similar standards. Community Grant applications from organizations known to have discriminatory policies will not be considered.

  • Application Process

    Application Process

    Deadlines

    Application deadlines are January 15 and July 15, for Board decisions in May and November. The windows for application are December 1 and June 1. If a deadline falls on a weekend, proposals are due by 5 p.m. the Friday before. This is not a postmark deadline, and proposals must be received at OCF's Portland office. Renewal applications follow the same process as new applications.

    Application Packet

    Please submit two complete packets of the following information, assembled in the following order, with everything printed two-sided, if possible:

    • Completed and signed application summary form.
    • Detailed project narrative form for new applications OR project narrative form for renewal applications (no more than four pages)
    • Detailed project budget showing both revenues and expenses (if grant request is for a multi-year project, please show the budget for each year)
    • Project timeline, no more than one page (optional)
    • Board of directors list, including contact information, affiliations and description of skills each brings to the organization
    • Organization budget for the current year
    • Organization budget for the past year
    • Most recent audited financial statement (if available)
    • Organization's letter from the IRS granting 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status

    Review Process

    Once an application has been received, a multi-stage review begins, which occurs over the course of about 16 weeks. Some applicants receive phone calls and/or site visits during this process. Strong proposals may be shared with our advised fund donors, who may choose to support a project even if it does not receive funding through the Community Grant Program.

  • Grantee Reporting

    Grantee Reporting

    A grantee progress report is due nine months after the grant award. Please submit the grant evaluation form by email to grants@oregoncf.org.

    What if I need to submit a renewal application and report on progress from the previous year?

    We now have a combined project narrative and grant evaluation form for renewal applicants. Please submit this new form with the rest of your application materials instead of the regular nine-month evaluation form.

    What if my project is delayed or off-track?

    We know that projects do not always begin on time; unexpected events can interfere with progress, and projects sometimes fail despite good planning and intentions. Our philosophy is that if all of our grant-funded projects are successful, we are not taking enough risks.

    Please do not delay submitting your report for fear our reaction will be negative. Also, please feel free to contact us with any questions. We can delay a report due date if your situation calls for it.

    • Staff Assistance

      Staff Assistance

      Portland Office: 503.227.6846

      Eugene Office: 541.431.7099

      For proposals in Benton, Douglas, Lane and Linn counties, please contact:

      Bend Office: 541.382.1170

      For proposals in Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Sherman, Wasco, Wheeler, Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa counties, please contact:

      Medford Office: 541.773.8987

      For proposals in Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake counties, please contact: