2021 Community Grants Program
Applicants: please note the Early Bird deadline has been extended to Tuesday, January 19 by 5 p.m.
For more than 20 years, OCF’s Community Grants program, with strong support of OCF donors, has invested in strengthening the social fabric of our communities. In 2021, Community Grants will continue to support our communities with a sharpened focus on the most pressing challenges Oregon is facing today: the impact of COVID-19, systemic racism and racial injustice, wildfires and the underinvestment and lack of infrastructure in under-resourced rural and marginalized communities across our state. This funding opportunity recognizes that deeply entrenched inequities mean that our current challenges – and resulting traumas – are disproportionately impacting some populations and communities.
Our 2021 Community Grants program is an interim approach. We anticipate a longer-term approach will emerge in 2022, based on what we learn about evolving community needs. We look forward to partnering with organizations and communities across Oregon in the year ahead and sharing your needs with OCF donors.
On January 6, 2021, we offered a Community Grants 2021 applicant webinar and Q&A. OCF regional program officers provided an information session about the 2021 Community Grant Program. The webinar PowerPoint presentation can be found here. The webinar recording can be found here.
Please review the following information carefully as the types of funding available, funding priorities and other Community Grant program details for 2021 differ from past years.
2021 Program Goals
To provide an open, responsive grantmaking program that offers organizations flexible types of support, with prioritized support for those communities most disproportionately impacted by the multiple crises in Oregon.
- We value Oregon’s diverse regions and populations, and we seek to advance equity, diversity and inclusion through our funding
- We are committed to funding across Oregon with grant dollars reaching our remote, rural, suburban and urban communities across every region of our state.
- We give high priority to investments that are strengths-based and create positive, substantive change
- We prioritize investments that demonstrate strong community support, solid planning and wise stewardship
- We believe that impactful, creative and sustainable solutions come from people closest to the issues being addressed and implemented by organizations trusted by the community
Funding Priorities for 2021
We know that funding needs will far exceed our limited grant dollars. While a broad range of organizations are eligible to apply, we will prioritize funding in support of the following populations disproportionately impacted by inequities exacerbated by racial and social injustice, COVID-19 and/or wildfires:
- 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
In 2021, Community Grants anticipates awarding at least $5 million, boosted by donor advised funds.
We aim to fund a mix of proposals in communities across Oregon and anticipate funding organizations working in a range of fields and addressing an array of challenges.
We will offer two opportunities to apply for a Community Grant in 2021:
Spring Cycle – Accepting applications December 15, 2020 through February 1, 2021 at 5 p.m., with decisions by early May 2021
- Early Bird Submissions: All applicants who submit before 5 pm on January 19, 2021 will be entered into a drawing to receive one of two $2,500 grants for general operating support
- As part of the decision-making process, applicants may be contacted for additional information or a virtual site visit during March
Fall Cycle – Timeline TBA (deadline summer 2021 with decisions by early November 2021)
Grant Types and Amounts
Three types of funding will be offered. Because community conditions are in a state of significant transition, all grants will be one year in duration.
Types of Funding for 2021
General Operating Support – unrestricted funding to support an organization in carrying out its mission
▪ Culturally specific organizations located anywhere in Oregon and of any budget size
▪ Rural-based nonprofits with annual operating budgets of $100,000 or less and whose work aligns with OCF’s priorities for this funding opportunity
Up to $20,000
Capacity Building – to help strengthen and stabilize an organization’s governance or operations
Open to all types of organizations
Up to $40,000;
$20,000 average grant size
Project/Program Grants – to adapt or expand existing projects/programs or develop new projects/programs to respond to current community challenges
Open to all types of organizations
Up to $40,000;
$20,000 average grant size
For the spring cycle, the application window opens December 15, 2020, and applications are due February 1, 2021, at 5 p.m., with decisions made by early May 2021.
Online applications are accepted through MyOCF. Please note renewal applicants (organizations previously invited to reapply to the Community Grants Program for continuation of funded activities) will be emailed instructions directly to reapply through a new and separate process.
To preview the list of application questions, please visit here.
Important! In an effort to expand access to more avenues of funding at OCF, organizations who choose not to submit a Community Grants application are invited to share their current needs with donors by completing this Organizational Profile Tool.
Organizations that apply for a Community Grant will automatically have information about their proposal shared with OCF donors. We encourage applicants to provide clear and complete project descriptions to support donor connections.
Please see the FAQ section at the bottom of the 2021 Community Grants page.
For questions about the program and submitting a competitive application, please contact the program officer in your region (see second-to-last question in FAQ).
For technical assistance in preparing and submitting the online application (application window opens December 15), please email email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
The deadline for the spring cycle is February 1. If your application is ready sooner and can be submitted by the Early Bird deadline of January 18, you will be automatically entered into a drawing for one of two $2,500 grants for general operating support. (Early bird winners will be notified in late January.)
Grant decisions on all applications will be made by the OCF board in early May 2021. For information about the fall cycle deadline, please check OCF’s website for updates in the spring.
All nonprofit organizations based in or doing work in Oregon are eligible to apply.
No. Given that community conditions are in a state of significant transition, all grants will be one year in duration. This will ensure that OCF has maximum resources available to support changing needs as they emerge in future years.
Yes! We encourage arts organizations to apply for any needs that align with our funding priorities and address the current climate our communities are facing.
Please note that small arts and culture organizations with operating budgets under $100,000 who do not fit the criteria for general operating support through this framework will have the opportunity to apply for operating support in 2021. Please stay tuned for updates on arts & culture grant opportunities on OCF’s website and social media channels in early 2021.
No. We are intentionally not limiting the issue areas addressed by organizations or their specific requests (everything from environmental issues and the arts to addressing basic needs is eligible). Our emphasis is instead on ensuring our resources reach populations most disproportionately impacted by current conditions. Rather than assessing how your organization fits this framework topically, please consider the people and communities served and the type of grant funding that is most appropriate to meet their needs.
Grants for general operating support will be limited to culturally specific organizations (of any size) and rural-based organizations with operating budgets under $100,000. Organizations that fit that criteria – regardless of issue area – may apply for general operating support; otherwise, they may request project/program or capacity-building support.
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 submit an application. Applicants must submit formal paperwork confirming the fiscal sponsor relationship .
We welcome a wide range of requests and do not discourage organizations from applying for what they need. That said, we know nonprofits’ funding needs will far exceed grant dollars available, and we will prioritize funding that addresses current challenges and needs of populations who have been disproportionately impacted due to inequities.
We encourage organizations to assess their fit with guidelines before applying. We also encourage you to share needs with donors by submitting information through the Organization Profile Form tool on our website. This form is not a grant application, but a tool to help OCF collect information
Starting December 15, apply for a grant by visiting OCF’s website and submitting an application through OCF’s online portal: https://oregoncf.org/grants-and-scholarships/grants/community-grant-program/. Register an account with the portal before applying. Before submitting a request, please read over important information on the program page, including the guidelines and the list of questions we ask in the application. Grants will be no more than $40,000, and average grant sizes will be a round $20,000.
Due to highly limited resources, we are restricting operating support requests to organizations who serve communities who have experienced historical underinvestment by philanthropy and have been underrepresented in OCF's grantmaking, both in terms of requesting and receiving funding, and who often have less access to outside sources of funding. If your organization’s most urgent need is operating support and you don’t fit the criteria, we encourage you to share your needs with donors by submitting information through the Organization Profile Form tool on our website. This form is not a grant application, but a tool to help OCF collect information on needs that can be shared with donors.
Through 2021, the program will not prioritize requests for capital efforts. With the magnitude of need and limited resources, we are focusing on programs, projects, and operational needs.
Yes. In this transitional year, organizations who have received funding in 2020 are eligible to approach us with any new or evolving needs that align with our funding priorities. Please note that organizations may apply to the program only once in 2021.
An organization that is culturally specific meets the following criteria:
- The organization’s mission, activities and outreach all intentionally focus on a population that has experienced significant bias or discrimination due to their race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, immigrant/refugee status, or national origin;
- The organization’s staff, board and volunteers reflect the population they serve;
- The population being served recognizes the organization as specific to their community; and
- The majority of members and/or clients are from the specified community, such as African, African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latinx, Native American, immigrant and refugee, LGBTQI+, disability community, etc.
We define a rural-based organization as one that focuses on a community with a population of 35,000 or fewer that is NOT directly adjacent to (or part of a) metropolitan area of 50,000 or more.
Under-resourced communities have high proportions of low to moderate income residents and generally receive below average services and financial resources from government sources. Many, but not all, of them comprise an above average number of people of color, immigrants, and/or geographically-isolated individuals. People earn lower incomes due to many factors, but they often have been negatively impacted by social and economic marginalization. Some communities have been intentionally disenfranchised by decades of redlining and/or economic disinvestment that limits access to resources and services, devalues physical assets, and weakens community anchor institutions. Others may experience geographic isolation that results in limited investment in critical infrastructure such as medical facilities, internet connectivity and transportation. Combined, these conditions create what we refer to as under-resourced communities.
One of the benefits of a community foundation responsive grant making program is our direct connection to evolving needs and priorities of the communities we serve. We anticipate launching a longer-term responsive grantmaking strategy in 2022 that incorporates key learnings and inputs from community partners throughout 2020 and 2021. The program will likely evolve to ensure we can continue to support the ever-changing landscape in Oregon.
If you submit a request to “2021 Community Grants,” your application will be accessible to OCF donors. We also encourage you to share information with donors by filling out the Organizational Profile Form on our website. The latter is not an application but does allow you to share your needs with donors.
No. Organizations who were invited to reapply for continued funding in spring 2021 will not have to fit the new framework. You can request support for the same activities for which you were invited to reapply.
Instructions for reapplying will be emailed directly to renewal applicants in December.
Organizations who have previously been invited to reapply to the Community Grants Program in the spring cycle will have the opportunity to modify their request, although OCF cannot accept adjustments to the specific dollar amount for which organizations were invited to reapply. Should organizations wish to modify or broaden their request, the application should state clearly how your organization could continue to generally meet the purposes of the original grant awarded. Decisions on spring renewal applications will be made in early May 2021.
Please reach out to the program officer in your region:
- Central Oregon – Cheryl Puddy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Eastern Oregon – Cheryl Puddy (email@example.com)
- Metro Region – Carly Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org), Melissa Hansen (email@example.com), or Eva Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- North Coast – Eva Miller (email@example.com)
- Northern Willamette Valley – Melissa Hansen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- South Coast – John Moriarty (email@example.com)
- Southern Willamette Valley – John Moriarty (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Southern Oregon – Amy Drake (email@example.com