2021 Community Grants Program

Information below is for 2021 only. Please visit this page in early December for updates on 2022 Community Grants, including timing and guidelines. We will share application questions in January.

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.

Guiding Principles

  • 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

Application Details

Please review the Program Guidelines, FAQ and application questions prior to preparing and submitting an application.

Funds Available

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.

Please note that in the spring 2021 cycle, we received a record-breaking 562 requests totaling $15.9M, and were able to fund just 25% of applications and dollars requested. While we cannot anticipate what we will see in the fall, we do expect a larger volume than was typical prior to the crisis climate.


We will offer two opportunities to apply for a Community Grant in 2021:

Fall Cycle – Accepting applications June 1, 2021 through July 15, 2021 at 5 p.m., with decisions by early November 2021

  • Early Bird Submissions: All applicants who submit before 5 pm on July 1, 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 September

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

Eligible Applicants

Funding Amount

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 Buildingto help strengthen and stabilize an organization’s governance or operations

Open to all types of organizations

$20,000 average
grant size; up to
$40,000 in limited
instances (see note)

Project/Program Grantsto adapt or expand existing projects/programs or develop new projects/programs to respond to current community challenges

Open to all types of organizations

$20,000 average
grant size; up to
$40,000 in limited
instances (see note)

Note about Funding Amounts

An average Community Grant is around $20,000. We anticipate that most grant awards will range between $5,000 - $30,000. In limited situations, we will consider requests up to $40,000 for efforts that very closely match Community Grant funding priorities, benefit priority populations and clearly demonstrate the feasibility, role, timeliness, and impact of an OCF grant of this size.

Application Process

For the fall cycle, the application window opens June 1, 2021, and applications are due July 15, 2021, at 5 p.m., with decisions made by early November 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 June 1), please email grants@oregoncf.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the deadline for applications? If approved, how long will it take to receive funding?
What geographic regions are eligible to apply for funds?
Is this program accepting multi-year requests?
Are arts and culture organizations welcome to apply in this framework?
Are there any nonprofit organizations/issue-specific areas that are NOT eligible to apply in this framework?
Are 501(c)(3)s the only organizations eligible to apply?
My organization was planning to apply for activities that do not appear to be closely aligned with 2021 funding priorities. However, I believe our goals are aligned with the former Community Grant priorities. May we still apply?
How do I apply for funding from the 2021 Community Grants Program?
Can my organization submit more than one application?
What my organization needs most is general operating support, but we don’t fit the criteria. What can we do?
I don’t see the option to request support for capital-related activities (i.e., efforts that improve the physical assets of an organization, such as building construction and renovation, furnishings and vehicles). What does this shift mean?
I recently received or applied for a different grant from OCF. Am I eligible to apply to “2021 Community Grants”?
What does the term “culturally specific” mean to OCF?
What is OCF’s definition of a “rural-based organization”?
What is OCF’s definition of an “under-resourced” community?
Is the standard Community Grants Program as it has historically been operated coming back in 2022?
How can our organization share our needs with OCF advised fund donors so they may also contribute to our efforts?
I represent an organization that was invited to reapply to the Community Grants Program in fall 2021. Do we need to fit the new 2021 framework to be considered for renewed funding? What are our instructions for submitting?
I represent an organization that was invited to reapply to the Community Grants Program in fall 2021. Can we modify our request to better meet our and our communities’ needs post-COVID-19?
Our organization is located in an area that was impacted by the 2020 Oregon wildfires, but we need support for activities that are NOT directly related to fire response. Should we apply through the Community Rebuilding Fund or through the Community Grant
Our organization has already received support through the Community Rebuilding Fund. Are we eligible to apply for the Community Grant Program?
Who may I contact at OCF to discuss this framework further?
I’m having trouble with the online application system. Who do I contact for assistance?