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2023 Community Grants Program

Request for proposals (RFP), letter of inquiry (LOI) and application questions, applicant resources, and additional FAQs 

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2023 Community Grants Program  

For 25 years, the Community Grants Program, with strong support of OCF donors, has invested in strengthening the social fabric of communities by responding to the many challenges facing Oregonians. The 2023 Community Grants Program will continue to provide flexible funding for nonprofits addressing pressing needs of communities across Oregon.

Please note the new elements of the Community Grants Program for 2023 below and review the FAQs and table for additional information. Program details are found in the Request for Proposals (RFP), Program Guidelines and FAQs. 

  • We are introducing a letter of inquiry (LOI)
  • There will be two grant cycles, each offering distinct types of funding

Program Goal

To provide equitable access to funding for organizations serving communities' most pressing needs throughout Oregon.

General Organizational Eligibility

501(c)(3) organizations, Tribal entities and government entities are eligible to apply. Additionally, organizations may work with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor to apply. Applicants must submit legal paperwork confirming the fiscal sponsor relationship.

IMPORTANT: Organizations, except for religious organizations, must be registered with the Oregon Department of Justice and Oregon Secretary of State in order to be eligible to apply for grants from OCF.   

Funding Priorities

OCF will award at least $7 million through Community Grants for 2023. Approximately $3.5 million will be made available for small rural and culturally specific organizations seeking general operating support in the Spring Cycle. We recognize the needs of communities they serve will far exceed the funding available through this grant program. A broad range of nonprofits are eligible to submit a letter of inquiry. We will prioritize funding for work that is clearly addressing community-identified needs in support of the following populations across urban and rural regions of Oregon (populations are listed in alphabetical order): 

  • Black, Indigenous, Latinx and people of color 
  • Immigrants and/or refugees 
  • People experiencing disabilities 
  • People living on low incomes 
  • People living in under-resourced communities and/or communities lacking critical infrastructure 
  • People who are homeless/unsheltered 
  • People who identify as LGBTQIA+ 
  • Survivors of domestic violence and/or child abuse  

New Elements for 2023

Letter of Inquiry

Applicants that meet the eligibility guidelines according to the type of funding they are seeking are encouraged to submit a letter of inquiry (LOI). The LOI is an abbreviated application on which applicants briefly outline their funding request. Program staff and trained volunteers will review the LOI for program fit — alignment with the program guidelines, funding priorities, and available funding — before inviting competitive applicants to formally apply by submitting supplemental information.

Cycles and General Timeline

There are two grant cycles in 2023, each offering distinct types of funding:

  • Spring 2023: General Operating Support
  • Fall 2023: Organizational Enhancement

See this table for a breakdown of each cycle’s funding type, timeline, and eligibility.

For additional eligibility guidance, see Request for Proposals (RFP) – Program Guidelines and this flow chart. 

Request for Proposals:  

We highly encourage applicants to review the Spring 2023 RFP - Program Guidelines, which includes:  

  • Breakdown of Spring Cycle’s funding type, timeline, and eligibility 
  • Key cycle dates and planning steps 
  • Copy of the LOI and application questions 
  • Tips on what makes a compelling LOI/application 
  • OCF review process and review criteria (new) 
  • Connecting to OCF donors (Organizational Profile Tool) 

Steps to submit an LOI and application: 

  • Step 1: Review the RFP – Program Guidelines  
  • Step 2: Login or set up a new account on MyOCF and create or update Organizational Profile 
  • Step 3: Submit your letter of inquiry (LOI) through the MyOCF grants portal.  
    • Submissions received between March 6 and March 20, 2023, at 5 p.m. 
    • LOI decline notifications and invitations to apply for a grant will be sent on April 20, 2023.

If formally invited to apply:  

  • Step 4: Submit your application on MyOCF  
    • Submissions received between April 24 – May 4, 2023 at 5 p.m.  
    • We encourage organizations to mark these dates on your calendars now to ensure adequate time to complete your application.  

Submission Confirmation: Make sure to press the “submit” button to submit your completed LOI and application. An OCF email confirming receipt of your application will be sent shortly after your submission.  

Applicant Webinar – 2023 Spring Cycle | General Operating Support 

The February 15 General Operating Support Applicant Webinar has reached capacity. If you are not currently registered, please know that a recording of the webinar will be available on this page shortly after. 

If your organization is interested in organization enhancement support (capacity building, project/program, capital), please check back for information on the Fall Cycle applicant webinar in June.

Connecting with OCF Staff About Your Proposal 

  • Regional OCF Program Officers will be available for 30-minute meetings (one per organization) to support those interested in applying for general operating support in 2023.
  • You are welcome to invite other staff or partners to join the call (3 people max) and will be able to list their names on the event.
  • Depending on the volume of nonprofits seeking funding, staff may give priority to first time applicants if needed.
  • To schedule a meeting with an OCF regional program officer, click on their scheduling link below. Select your preferred date, time and meeting location (zoom or phone). Once submitted, you will receive confirmation and a calendar appointment with the meeting information. 

Here’s a map of the OCF regions and regional offices 

Central Oregon and Eastern Oregon 

Counties: Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa Wasco and Wheeler Counties 

Tribes: Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Burns Paiute Tribes, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation 

North Coast 

Counties: Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln and Tillamook Counties 

Tribes: Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians 

Northern Willamette Valley 

Counties: Marion, Polk, and Yamhill Counties  

Tribes: Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde 

South Coast and Southern Willamette Valley 

Counties: Benton Coos, Curry, Douglas, Lane and Linn Counties 

Tribes: Coquille Indian Tribes, Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Indians 

Southern Oregon 

Counties: Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, and Lake Counties 

Tribes: Klamath Tribes 

Metro Portland 

Statewide 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a letter of inquiry (LOI)?
Who is eligible to submit an LOI and apply?
What is the deadline to submit a letter of inquiry for general operating support?
When will the organization be notified that they are invited to apply for a Community Grant?
What is the typical range of grant award amounts?
What geographic regions are eligible to apply for funds?
Is this program accepting multi-year requests?
Are organizations serving the general public, such as arts & culture or environmental organizations welcome to apply in 2023?
What does the term “culturally specific” mean to the OCF Community Grants Program?
What is OCF’s definition of a “rural-based organization”?
What is the OCF Community Grants Program’s definition of an “under-resourced” community?
If an organization received a Community Grant in 2022, can the organization submit a letter on inquiry and be invited to apply for general operating support in the 2023 Spring Cycle? 
Can an organization apply to Community Grants and other OCF grant programs in the same year/cycle?
I’m having trouble with the online application system. Who do I contact for assistance?
How can our organization share our needs with OCF advised fund donors so they may also contribute to our efforts?
If my application is approved, how long will it take to receive funding?
What my organization needs most is general operating support, but we don’t fit the criteria for requesting this type of funding. What can we do? 
Where can I find the LOI and Application questions?
Where can I find the review criteria used for the LOI and application?
What are the reporting requirements?
When will we have more information about the Organization Enhancement funding (capital, capacity building, project/program)?