Competitive Grant Guidelines and Eligibility

We invite creativity and imagination in the preparation of grant requests. We hope this application process is an exploration on how to build a community where everyone thrives. Funding for the competitive grants program comes from the Community Foundation’s endowments, donations, and gifts from designated and donor advised funds.

Grant opportunities to benefit communities in Whatcom County include:
• Funds for Whatcom County
• Brian and Marya Griffin Community Fund
• Pitts Sportsmen’s Fund
• Project Neighborly
• South Fork Community Fund
• Youth Philanthropy Fund for the Environment

Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations with a valid letter from the IRS recognizing its 501(c)3 status, Native American Tribes, religious and educational institutions, and, projects with an approved fiscal sponsor. City or County Governments requests for non-essential, quality of life, community enhancement projects not typically funded through tax dollars may be eligible. Grant amounts vary, but typically range from $1,000-$10,000. Please review grant opportunity descriptions for specific criteria and funding amounts available.

We aspire to invest in relevant and timely activities that utilize a cooperative approach to community building. Successful proposals will describe not only what you propose to do, but also how it involves others in the community who need to be a part of truly successful problem-solving and long-term planning for our community’s future. We place the highest priority on ideas that fuel inspiring, actionable, relevant projects which:
• Reflect and promote the diversity of the communities we serve
• Advance equity and inclusion
• Leverage resources
• Cultivate neighborliness
• Link demonstrated needs with opportunities in our community
• Address and help resolve important existing or emerging community issues
• Support new and creative projects that offer the greatest opportunity for positive and significant change
• Facilitate cooperation and collaboration among organizations
• Lift community voices
• Catalyze change while building capacity

Ineligible applicants and activities include:
• Organizations that discriminate based on gender, religion, sexual orientation or identity, ethnicity, national origin or physical ability
• Religious activities (grants will not be made for religious purposes but may be made to faith-based organizations for the non-religious programs offered to the broader community)
• General operating, program, or capacity-building needs of established non-profits
• Incomplete, unrealistic, or unclear applications
• Political campaigns
• Sponsorships, tickets for benefits, recurring events or annual fundraising campaigns
• Endowment funds
• Debt retirement
• Capital requests (bricks and mortar) and equipment (exceptions: Pitts Sportsmen and Brian and Marya Griffin Funds)
• Funding for individuals or for-profit organizations
• Scholarships