2023 Community Grants Program FAQs
The LOI is an abbreviated application on which applicants briefly outline their funding request. Program staff and trained volunteers will review the LOIs for program fit—alignment with the program guidelines, funding priorities, and available funding—before inviting competitive applicants to formally apply by submitting supplemental information.
501(c)(3) organizations, Tribal entities and government entities are eligible to submit an LOI and may be invited to apply for a grant. Other types of organizations may work with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor to become eligible. An official agreement outlining the relationship with the fiscal sponsor must be submitted with the LOI.
Please note: Fiscal sponsorship materials will not be accepted past the LOI deadline of March 20, 2023.
Organizations must be located within Oregon and primarily serve Oregonians to be eligible.
All organizations must meet the Spring cycle eligibility. See the definitions of small rural, culturally specific organizations and organizations specific to populations who have experienced significant bias and/or discrimination in the FAQs below and review the Program Guidelines.
Your letter of inquiry should be submitted and received by March 20, 2023, at 5 p.m. We experience an influx of submissions close to the LOI deadline and highly recommend you submit your LOI and receive email confirmation of your submission via MyOCF. If you do not receive confirmation of your submission by email, your application has not been submitted.
LOI declines and invitations to formally apply for a Community Grant will be sent by email on April 20. Invited applicants will have up to 10 days (April 24 – May 4, 5pm) to submit their application for general operating support. We strongly encourage applicants to block these days out in advance on their calendars to ensure adequate time to submit the application. (Please see the Program Guidelines for further application details).
Typical ranges are $10,000 - $30,000. We will consider requests up to $40,000, especially for efforts that closely match Community Grant funding priorities, benefit priority populations, and clearly demonstrate the timeliness, feasibility and impact of an OCF grant of this size.
All eligible organizations based in Oregon or primarily serving Oregon communities are eligible to apply.
No. All 2023 grants will be one year in duration.
Yes! Arts & culture, environmental and other organizations whose mission is key to building and supporting healthy, thriving and resilient communities are welcome to apply. We highly encourage organizations to apply for needs that align with our funding priorities. See the Program Guidelines for funding priorities in 2023.
The examples below highlight a few proposals that demonstrate a strong alignment with priority populations:
Project A: A museum in Klamath County highlights the work of a celebrated and contemporary Klamath Tribe artist in that artist’s homelands for the first time. The request demonstrates strong community engagement with Tribal leaders, strengthening the new relationship between the museum and the Tribe.
Project B: A small land trust on the Oregon Coast applies capacity building funds to contract financial management support to free the executive director’s time to focus on a partnership with an under-resourced municipality to protect the local residential drinking water source.
Project C: A statewide land stewardship group based in a rural community takes an intersectional approach to addressing a critical gap in access to land for farming. With key partnerships in place, the project will support Black, Indigenous and Latinx farmers in accessing education, financial support and technical assistance to address systemic bias in local food systems.
Project D: A regional arts organization requests funding for a guest curator program, compensating local Black, Indigenous and artists of color in designing shows that emphasize the organization’s commitment to presenting work by historically marginalized community members and actively addressing the difficult history of their region.
In the context of OCF’s Community Grants program, an organization is culturally specific if:
- Primarily serve one or more communities of color and demonstrate intimate knowledge of lived experience of the community, including but not limited to the impact of structural and individual racism or discrimination.
- The organization’s leadership and staff represent the community served and its mission, activities and outreach intentionally focus on one or more communities of color
- The population served recognizes the organization as specific to their community.
- Communities of color include, but is not limited to: Black/African/African American, Indigenous/Native American, Latinx, Asian/Asian American, Middle Eastern, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
This concept was developed by the Coalition of Communities of Color.
Organizations that are specific to populations that have experienced bias and/or discrimination are those that:
- Primarily serve one or more populations that have experienced significant bias or discrimination due to sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, immigrant/refugee status, or national origin.
- The organization’s leadership and staff represent the population served
- Organization’s mission, activities and outreach intentionally focus on one or more populations that have experienced bias and/or discrimination
- Populations that align with this category include immigrants and refugees, people experiencing disabilities and LGBTQI+ communities
In the context of OCF’s Community Grants Program, an organization is small and rural if they meet all of the following criteria:
- The organization is located in and serves a community or communities in Oregon 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.
- The organization had less than $250,000 in cash expenses from the most recently completed fiscal year.
This definition was developed by Ford Family Foundation.
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.
Yes — if an organization meets the 2023 spring cycle eligibility criteria it is welcome to submit an LOI regardless of whether or not it received a Community Grant in 2022.
Yes, LOIs and applications submitted to this program are reviewed independently from other OCF programs. Other applications with other grant programs will not affect your eligibility or competitiveness for this program.
Your application will be accessible to OCF donors regardless of request type or size. 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 organization's needs with donors.
Approved and declined applicants will be notified by email on June 8th. Awards will be distributed on the same day via check or ACH.
Due to highly limited resources, we are restricting operating support requests to organizations who serve communities who have experienced historical underinvestment due to systems, practices, and policies. OCF aims to provide general operating support to communities who have been historically underrepresented in OCF's grantmaking, both in terms of requesting and receiving funding, and those who have not had the same level of 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 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.
There are no reporting requirements for grantees that receive general operating support through the 2023 spring cycle. However, grantees may receive an open invitation in 2023 to connect with a regional program officer to share more about the organization’s goals and explore how OCF can partner with the organization.
The organization enhancement cycle will accept LOIs in July with fund distribution in November 2023.
We will update the program website and organizations within our network when we have the final program details to share. We will also host an applicant webinar in June before the LOI window opens in July.
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