Grant FAQs

• When should my organization apply for a grant?

We have two grant cycles per year in the spring and fall. See our grant guidelines for more information.

• Can I apply for more than one grant a year?

Yes. Organizations can submit one grant application per cycle.

• Do we have to be a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization to apply?

We require an applicant organization to have 501(c)(3) IRS tax-exempt status or be a public agency, school, library or park, tax exempt by the IRS.

• We are a newly established 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Does the Community Foundation award grants to organizations for start-up costs?

We recommend you contact us and discuss your programming and funding needs. In the current economic climate, the Foundation is cautious about investing in new and emerging organizations. We will want to learn about the compelling need to start a new organization that meets an unmet need in the community no one else is already addressing effectively. We will want to know that you have done research on similar organizations in your sector. We will also be interested in learning about any existing sources of revenue to support your work. Unfortunately nonprofits without 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor cannot be considered for funding.

• Do you give grants to organizations outside of Snohomish County?

The Foundation’s grantmaking program funds organizations that deliver programs to people living in Snohomish County. We will consider requests from organizations based outside of Snohomish County as long as the organization is substantially working to build a healthy, vibrant community and to improve the quality of life of long-term and permanent Snohomish County residents.

• What size grants does the Foundation generally make? How much money should I request?

The grant range is $500 to $5,000. The Foundation doesn’t typically make grants for more than is requested, and it is common for grant awards to be less than is requested. In addition to the Foundation’s average grant size, some things for you to consider about your request size might be:

  • How well does the request meet the funding priorities?
  • What percentage of the total budget is this request?

• How many grant applications do you receive each year and what percent are funded?

The Foundation’s Grantmaking Program receives approximately 130 proposals every year and approximately one-third of the organizations that apply are funded.

• We are a local chapter of a national organization and we cover all of Washington. How does this affect our grant request?

The priority of the Foundation’s grantmaking program is to programs serving in Snohomish County. Your application must address how the requested funding will meet this priority in a significant way.

• Can my school apply for a grant?

While we value the importance of education to the health of our region, the Foundation does not award grants to individual schools through the Foundation’s grantmaking program. With our limited funds, we have chosen to focus our support at the district level and not support individual schools, including PTA organizations with 501(c)(3) status.

• How long does the grant process take?

It takes about 60 days from the application deadline until the final decision. The additional time allows staff to share information about applicants with grantmaking committees and donors and invite them to partner with the Foundation in contributing to organizations we are considering for funding.

• Does the Foundation fund faith-based organizations?

The Foundation does fund faith-based organizations if their activities address the needs of the wider community without regard to religious beliefs. We do not fund religious activities or organizations that require religious activity as a condition of receiving services. We do not fund organizations that “further religious doctrine”— for instance, have as its primary goal or one of its primary goals to further a specific religious belief.

• Does the Foundation fund all-volunteer nonprofit organizations?

Yes, as long as the organization is established with a mission, budget, and board members as well as working to build a healthy community.

• Can I meet with a Foundation representative in person before submitting an application?

Although the sheer volume of applications precludes meeting with each organization prior to submission, Foundation staff are available to meet at various times or talk on the phone. We may follow up with you after receiving an application to learn more about your organization.

• Is it an advantage to know a director, a donor, or someone who works for the Foundation when submitting a grant?

Knowing a director, staff member, or advisor to the Community Foundation does not provide any advantage in applying for a grant. We have very strict conflict of interest policies that prevent undue influence on any grant. Your best advantage is to prepare an application that outlines your work and describes how it meets the priorities of the Foundation.