2022 Community Grants
We are thrilled to support 84 nonprofits through this annual grant program! Learn more and join us in celebrating the excellent work of this year's recipients.
About Community Grants
Strengthening our Lewis, Mason, and Thurston County communities through broad, diverse, and flexible funding for local nonprofits, the Community Grants program supports a wide range of 501(c)(3) organizations.
Grantees contribute to the region's overall social, health, and environmental well-being across a broad range of focus areas, from arts to wellness and everything in between, as shown below.
Together with our communities, the foundation was proud to distribute $376,620 to 84 nonprofits in 2022! Awards range from $1,500 to $5,000, and these organizations have the flexibility to decide how to use the funding to serve their communities best.
Unrestricted grants — those to be used at the nonprofit's discretion — are the best way to give and help nonprofits be more effective. In turn, it allows the Community Foundation to invest in a nonprofit's mission rather than a specific program or project and furthers our trust building within the nonprofit community.
Coming to decisions, together
This year, 40 community members signed up as reviewers for our Community Grants committees. They come from a broad range of sectors and backgrounds and sit on the county-specific committee for which they live and/or work in. Local people know best what their communities need, and including their perspectives and experiences ensures that we support the most crucial priorities in each county.
Here's how the process works—first, Community Foundation staff review applications for eligibility requirements. Then, qualified applications go to the appropriate grants committee for further review and discussion.
One of our longtime friends of the foundation, Rebecca Staebler, shares why she volunteers to review grant applications.
"Serving on the grant committee is a great way to support the foundation's good work and that of the nonprofits in my home community. I love learning about the creative ways organizations and volunteers provide essential needs and create opportunities for Lewis County residents. It's been a joy and privilege to be a part of the process over the past several years!"
As you might imagine, these rich committee discussions are always complex, especially with varying perspectives at the table. However, with the support of our staff, the group comes to a decision, and our committee members always learn something new, as Charli Terminelli recalls below.
"The funding cycle for Community Grants this year was extremely difficult. So many great organizations have the same goals, reach diverse groups, and, simply put, do very similar work. You must dig deep, mindfully weighing out which organization makes more of an impact and which is paying attention to the climate of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and striving to make sustainable change. Having a group of committee members that move and speak with purpose and intent allows for a very candid conversation. We are all very passionate and believe in the core values of the Community Foundation."
Together, we use our growth mindset to make the best and most equitable decisions regarding funding that best support our Lewis, Mason, and Thurston County communities through every Community Grants cycle.
The foundation's staff is committed to learning from and alongside our communities and deepening our knowledge continuously. To remain accountable to the people we serve, we check in on our progress and are truthful about our growth areas. Doing so clarifies how to best support overlooked and underfunded opportunities and centering our commitment to equity.
Each yearly cycle provides fresh opportunities to receive insights about and from people leading locally. With each round of proposals, new themes emerge that add to the larger picture of our region's overall well-being. Below are some of our learnings from this year's cycle that were apparent across all review committees.
- The long-term effects of COVID-19 are far from over. Local nonprofits are continually shifting and adapting their services to meet the changing needs of their communities and are focusing on doing so justly and equitably.
- Our Community Grants committee members appreciated the opportunity to learn more about how applicants were advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in their work. We are thankful for our nonprofit partner’s roles in increasing belonging across our region. We know that achieving true equity for everyone across our counties and tribal communities will require continued collaboration and joint learning as individuals and organizations.
- While we were already aware of the need for capacity-building support for nonprofits, we continued to hear that many nonprofits would benefit from this type of support, and we have learned that this typically means more tailored support as opposed to "one-off" training. When we refer to capacity building, we aren't only talking about staff shortages or knowledge gaps; it could refer to any organizational need that the nonprofit needs to level up. The National Council of Nonprofits defines this term as "an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of a nonprofit."
2023 & beyond
Over the next few months, Janece Levien, our newest teammate and director of community programs will continue to be out in our communities, listening and learning from our nonprofit partners while building deeper connections.
Having joined our team partway through this year's cycle, she shares that, "Having transitioned from another community foundation grounded in the knowledge that our communities are the experts and know their needs best," she is excited to continue and expand that work at the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound.
Janece further shares, "Incredible things are happening in Lewis, Mason, and Thurston Counties, and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to continue elevating trust-based philanthropic practices at the Community Foundation."
2022 Community Grants Recipients
Please join us in congratulating this year's grantees; follow the links below to learn more about their work.
Arts & Culture
Community & Civic Engagement
Education & Youth
Environment & Animal Welfare
Health & Wellness
Housing & Human Services