Black Student Success Capacity Building Grants


The educational challenges that face marginalized Black children in Oregon are too great for one organization or group to tackle alone. Success requires strategic, ongoing collaboration. Within the past few years, the Black Student Success Initiative has used this lens to support the operation and programming of Black-led, Black-serving organizations across the state as part of the Black Student Success Network (BSSN). Through these efforts, OCF learned that many organizations within this target demographic needed additional support to continue serving Black children and their families – increasing the capacity of these organizations would surely increase the impact they are able to make in service of Black Student Success across Oregon.

Grant Opportunity

Based on data collected from surveys and renewal applications for the BSSN (2021 and 2022), OCF was able to create the current opportunity to grant $500,000 as part of a multi-year capacity building grant for Black-led, Black-serving organizations across Oregon. Grants will be made for up to three (3) years with a maximum request of $50,000 per year totaling $150,000 across three (3) years. All applications will be reviewed by a selected committee of state, local, and community leaders with final recommendations to be approved by the OCF Board.


Timeline for 2023 TBA.


  • Organizations/coalitions eligible for this grant opportunity must meet the following criteria:
  • Must have 501(c)(3) status as a public charity (not a private foundation), be a public entity, or have a qualified fiscal sponsor
  • The staff and leadership reflect the African/Black community (or communities) that is served
  • A significant number of clients/children/families served are from African/Black communities
  • The organization/leadership has a track record of successful community engagement and involvement with African/ Black communities being served
  • The community (or communities) being served recognizes the organization and as advancing the best interest of the community (or communities African/African Immigrant pan African)
  • The organization can demonstrate an understanding of the unique needs of African/Black students

In addition, all organizations applying should be providing at least one program related to the focus areas below for Black Students and must have a focus that falls within the scale of Birth through Pre-K, K-12 or post-secondary:

  • Early learning programs
  • Diversification of the educator workforce through recruitment, hiring, and retention efforts
  • Transitions between early childhood-K-3 education; elementary to middle school; middle school to high school; high school to post-secondary education
  • Newcomer programs and supports for African students
  • Culturally responsive curriculum
  • Literacy and numeracy outcomes for students in the K-12 system
  • Disproportionate discipline
  • Attendance and absenteeism
  • Freshman on-track
  • Graduation rates
  • Post-secondary enrollment
  • Credit acquisition (post-secondary)
  • Completion of associates degree and/or bachelor’s degree (40-40-20 goal)

Application Process

Applications for Black Student Success Capacity Building Grants will be accepted through MyOCF.  You must be a registered user to access OCF’s Grants Portal.  If you don’t have an account, you can create one by following the instructions on the MyOCF login screen.

The application will include a request for details of:

  • Organization contact information
  • Organization mission and structure, including details on who the organization serves and how the organization fits the criteria of this grant program
  • Narrative Responses:
    • Tell us about your work with Black students.  Details should include outreach efforts, the percent of program participants who are Black students, the age of the students you work with, and the type of services you are providing for students. (Limit 5,000 characters)
    • How would this grant increase your organization’s capacity? (Limit 3,750 characters)
    • Is there anything else your organization would hope to gain by being a recipient of this capacity building grant? (Limit 3,750 characters)

 Eligible Uses of Grant Funds

These funds are to be used to support capacity of organizations. “Capacity” shall be defined as any function or service to help strengthen and stabilize an organization’s governance, operations, internal culture and/or community relationships. Examples of eligible uses of capacity building funds are as follows:

  1. Request of $50,000 per year for three (3) years to create an FTE for a development/fundraising position within a given organization
  2.  Request for funding to hire a consultant for strategic planning services that will allow the organization to assess, respond to, and create needed change.
  3. Request for funding to support leadership development within the organization to increase staff hard skills and capacity for the work.
  4. Request for funding to invest in IT for the organization to streamline and improve processes and outcomes for those served.


Participants will not be required to submit traditional reports but will be asked to participate in surveys at the end of each funding cycle to provide general details about the work that they are doing with Black students. In addition, a site visit may be requested.


Questions about eligibility or qualification for this grant program can be directed to LaNae Johnson, Senior Program Officer, at