Grants: Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of things do you fund?
We make grants to 501(c)(3) organizations. Anything that would qualify with the IRS as a charitable project – spanning the fields of health, human services, education, arts and culture, civic projects, conservation and preservation and the environment – could be considered eligible for a grant.
How large are your grants?
Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties are diverse in size and in the needs of the many communities we serve. We have several grants with various funding amounts and criteria offered through our Community Grants Program.
Can I just call and ask for an application? What are the deadlines?
All of our grant applications are submitted online. Applicants will be required to create an account and complete their questions online. You will be able to stop, save, and return to your account at any time. It also keeps historical information that can be helpful when applying for future grants at the foundation. Each of our grant deadlines is unique, be sure to look on the appropriate page for deadline information. To ensure you receive notification when grant applications open, be sure to join our mailing list, or follow us at twitter and facebook for updates.
Who decides which grant applications to fund?
The Board of Trustees of the Foundation is responsible for review and evaluation of all the applications we receive. The Foundation’s staff supports the work of the committee but has no direct input on grantmaking decisions.
If a nonprofit has an endowment with the foundation, will it affect our chances of receiving a grant?
No. Having an endowment with the community foundation has no bearing when it comes to receiving a grant. If you have an endowment with us but your organization needs a grant, go ahead and apply if you wish. You will be on even footing with all our other applicants.
Our grant request last year was turned down, why?
Please remember that it is discouraging to have to say “no” to good people doing important work. Applications are usually not turned down because they are “bad” applications. Occasionally, an application will fall outside the bounds of our guidelines and the Committee will find itself unable to help. (Please read the guidelines carefully before you invest the time and energy in making an application.) But generally it is a case of the competition being very tough. It is an annual occurrence to receive far more in requests than our grant budget allows us to provide in grants.
Do you make grants to capital campaigns?
Capital campaigns will be considered through the Regional Impact Grant program, but only if the organization has met at least 70% of their goal and prospects of completing the project are strong.
Do you fund salaries and operating expenses?
Yes, the foundation allows requests for general operating expenses, including salaries.
Do you give any multi-year grants?
Legally, we can. However, the Trustees have decided to suspend multi-year grants at this time.
Does the number of people who will be affected by a grant matter?
Yes, but not always. It is certainly something that the Committee considers but our efforts to get a good “bang for the buck” are measured qualitatively as well as quantitatively.
Should we have a professional grant writer prepare our application?
It’s not necessary. We have a simple application and those who read them are more interested in the reality of the need and the quality of the plan for addressing it than in the elegance of the grant request language. It’s ok to use a grant writer it’s just not necessary.
Is your grantmaking strictly responsive to requests you receive or do you undertake initiatives?
For the most part, our grantmaking is reactive. We believe that a strong community must have all the elements of arts, conservation, education, basic need programs, animal welfare and public facilities. To determine one area of funding over another to be most important defeats that philosophy. We review data surrounding needs and expect our nonprofit applicants to be able to adequately address their role in fulfilling a need in the community, not duplicating services and providing value for the programs they provide.
Why do you make grants ouside of North Central Washington?
Some of our donors have charitable interests beyond the boundaries of North Central Washington. For example, they may care about supporting their out-of-state college or university. Grants from unrestricted and field-of-interest funds, over which the Board has complete discretion within the criteria established when the fund began, only benefit programs in NCW. Donor advised funds and designated funds established by members of our community may serve institutions located beyond our borders.
Do you award grants to the geographic location where your donations come from?
When a fund is established, if the donor asks that distributions from the fund go to a certain geographic area, that’s where those grant dollars go – forever. Otherwise, it is our general belief that the needs of our community do not end or begin at a county/city line and that the needs of our neighbors are our own. Interestingly, more and more we see the same nonprofits – no matter where their office may be – serving needs that span North Central Washington so it is not the issue it might once have been.