Community Grants


Program Objectives

In reviewing grant proposals, the Community Foundation considers the following:

  • Impact: Our goal is to support a broad range of organizations contributing to individual and community well-being. We seek to fund organizations across a variety of focus areas including, but not limited to arts and culture, community and civic engagement, environment and animals, health and wellness, basic needs, and economic opportunity.
  • Geography: Organization primarily operates in our service area or fills an unmet need within our service area.
  • Community Partnerships: Organization carries out their work in coordination with local community partners.
  • Population Served: We support nonprofits that provide services to all populations, and we prioritize populations with unequal access to resources and opportunities.
  • Accountability: Organization’s services are designed appropriately for the communities they serve. Organization meaningfully engages the voices, perspectives, and expertise of their program participants.  
  • Organizational Capacity: organization demonstrates reasonable capacity and financial health.

Volunteer grants committees review and score applications and make recommendations to the Board of Directors.

Most Grants Will Be Unrestricted

“Unrestricted grants” refers to an investment in a grantee’s mission, rather than specific projects or programs. It allows grantees to use funds as they see fit to reach their goals-such as salaries and overhead, technology, or a marketing campaign. To qualify for unrestricted grants, an organization’s headquarters must be based in Thurston, Mason, or Lewis County and must meet all other eligibility requirements posted in the 2020 Community Grants Guidelines.

We will accept applications from organizations with a regional or statewide geography. Your application should tell us how grant funds will be used for programs and services within our geography. We will accept applications for programs run by religious organizations if the program meets a critical need in the community and does not require religious participation. Organizations who qualify for one of these exceptions must meet all other 2020 Community Grants Guidelines.

Click here to read more about the changes we have made to our Community Grants program.


The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound makes grants to 501(c)(3) public charities that serve Thurston, Mason, and Lewis County residents. Organization must acknowledge that 100% of Community Foundation grant funds will be used in our geography. If your organization or group is not a 501(c)(3), you must secure a fiscal sponsor.

Not eligible:

  • Organizations that discriminate with regard to age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin, religious affiliation, or presence of a disability
  • Individuals
  • Partisan political activities
  • Religious organizations when funds would be used in whole or in part to further the organization’s religious purposes
  • National and statewide organizations that cannot demonstrate a local presence in Lewis, Mason, or Thurston Counties
  • Re-granting organizations
  • Service clubs and service club foundations
  • Schools, school districts, school foundations, PTOs, preschools, and daycares
  • Sports teams

Nondiscrimination Policy

The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound does not support organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disabilities, age, status as a veteran, national origin, or any other protected classes.

Due Date

Applications are due on Friday, September 4 at 11:59pm. Applications received after the due date will not be accepted. Please note that staff will be available to answer questions and offer technical assistance until 5:00pm on Friday, September 4. We recommend beginning your application before the due date—especially if you are new to our online grants system.

Contact Us!

We welcome and encourage questions about the Community Grants process. Please feel free to get in touch with staff for questions about eligibility, the online grants system, your proposal, or anything else about the Community Grants process. We strive to respond to all inquiries within 48 hours. Contact Melissa Rosscup at or (360) 705-3340.

Download the 2020 Community Grants Guidelines