Community News

2021 Community Grants Open July 12th

The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound is excited to announce that our 2021 Community Grants program is opening July 12! You can find the full guidelines, download the application questions, and learn more about applying by visiting our Community Grants page. Applications are due August 27, 2021.

This program is made possible by generous donors who have contributed unrestricted and broadly defined area-of-interest gifts, allowing us to build community capacity and respond to changes over time. Our goal for the program is to make grants to nonprofit organizations that contribute to the social, physical, and environmental health of our communities through many focus areas, including arts and culture, environment, health and wellness, education, economic opportunity, basic needs and human services, and community and civic engagement. We believe all of these areas are interconnected and important to our region and the people who live here.

In addition to supporting a wide range of focus areas, Community Grants also support a wide range of organizations, from all-volunteer grassroots groups to large, well-established, and professionally staffed organizations. Together, these organizations support individual and community well-being, reflecting the diversity of the communities and geographic area we serve. Their work encompasses a range of solutions, from community enrichment to both short-term and long-term solutions to our most pressing needs. Community Grants also provide a path for the foundation to live out our values and commitment to fund organizations that are led by and serve historically underserved communities, including rural communities and people of color.  

The Community Grants program has typically resulted in responsive grants, with relatively small amounts of funding going to many applicants. Over the last 4 years an average grant of $4,200 has gone to 80+ organizations across Thurston, Mason, and Lewis Counties. Last year, the 2020 Community Grants program awarded $399,300 in grants, supporting the work of 97 great local nonprofits. We also made several changes to the Community Grants program in 2020, and we plan to continue with these changes in 2021. We made all funds ‘unrestricted’ because we believe it is important to invest in the relationships we have with grantees, giving them flexibility to spend funds as they see fit and trusting their expertise. We also created a simpler, less burdensome application and began working to provide clearer evaluations and criteria. Currently, we are seeking broad participation on the Community Grants committees that evaluate applications and make funding recommendations to our board. We welcome interested community members of all backgrounds and experiences to apply for these committees by filling out a volunteer interest form HERE.

Including these diverse and responsive grants our overall grantmaking strategy allows us to establish and build relationships with a broad range of local nonprofits; learn about community needs and opportunities across our region; provide informed philanthropic advisory services to donors and fundholders; and contribute diverse funding support for a vibrant, thriving community. Thank you to all the community members, volunteers, donors, and fantastic local nonprofits who make this program possible and partner with us in so many ways to care for and strengthen our South Puget Sound communities. We are grateful for you!

July 14, 2021

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