Project Bike Trip
Our grants help nonprofits, like Project Bike Trip, teach practical skills and bike safety to youth.

We make grants from our funds, with help from our donors, to nonprofits providing a wide range of services to people in Santa Cruz County and beyond.

Additional support provided by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the California Wellness Foundation.

In 2013, we awarded over $4.8 million in grants.


2014 Grants

Grants are available in 2014 for eligible nonprofits serving Santa Cruz County.

Grants that will be available during the year are: Community Grants, Diversity Partnership grants, and Rydell Visual Arts Fund grants to visual arts organizations. In addition, grants are available from Driscoll's through their charitable fund. See those pages for specific application and deadline information.

Arts, History and Culture stimulates the county's vibrant artistic and cultural life and preserves its diversity, history, traditions and historic sites.

Community Development encourages civic engagement, improves economic health and develops leadership.

Education enhances academic achievement and prepares young adults for employment, career technical education or higher education.

Environment builds leadership capacity, engages diverse populations in environmental education, and advances local environmental problem-solving and stewardship.

Health promotes wellness (especially for adolescents and seniors), decreases disparities in health status, increases access to care for all residents and encourages coordinated, community-oriented approaches.

Human Services fosters positive youth development outside the school setting and promotes self-reliance for individuals and families by helping them obtain basic services.

Funding is available to support a specific project, to sustain general operations, or to boost organizational effectiveness. See a list of past grants to see what we have funded.

What We Fund

  • Project Support is for a specific piece of work or activity that provides direct benefits to the organization’s constituency while achieving measurable results over a specified period of time.
  • Organizational Effectiveness or Capacity Building is for activities that strengthen an organization (or a coalition of organizations). Activities may include organizational assessment, planning, board/staff development, or resource/communication development.
  • General Operating Support may be used to advance the organization’s mission, but is contingent on whether the organization:
    • Has been operating for at least seven years with a current operating budget of at least $150,000.
    • Has a track record of effectively meeting the mission and goals in proportion to the organization’s size.
    • Is in good standing among peers and funders in providing quality programming.
    • Uses a plan to guide programs and process that is regularly reviewed and updated.
    • Demonstrates sound financial management for at least three years (no deficits greater than 10% of the operating budget for one year out of three years).
    • Has a board policy regarding cultural competency and can demonstrate progress toward implementation.

We Don’t Fund

  • Endowments, building campaigns, annual fund appeals, fundraising events, or one-time festivals or celebrations.
  • Individuals, except for scholarships and Rydell Visual Arts Fund Fellowships.
  • Religious organizations (except for nonsectarian purposes).
  • Existing obligations, debt retirement, deficits, or retroactive funding.
  • Individual (public or private) schools, as distinct from a school district.
  • Partisan political activities.
  • Hiring grant proposal writers.

Applicants must meet the following requirements for all competitive grants (Community, Diversity Partnership, and Rydell Visual Arts Fund Grants):

  • Operate as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, a project under the fiscal sponsorship of a nonprofit, or a public agency;
  • Benefit residents in Santa Cruz County, the Summit, or the Pajaro Valley;
  • Include Santa Cruz County residents on their board of directors; and
  • Adhere to a board-approved nondiscrimination policy regarding employment, governance, and service.

NOTE: Joint projects are encouraged. One organization must serve as the applicant and grantee responsible for funds and reports.

Applicants are subject to the following restrictions:

  • Organizations may apply for competitive grants one time annually.
    • Community Grants, Diversity Partnership grants, and Rydell Visual Arts Fund Grants are all considered part of our annual competitive grants.
    • Special initiatives beyond these three opportunities and donor-advised grants based on our donors’ recommendations are not counted.
  • Multi-service organizations that host multiple programs across the county are encouraged to submit one cross-cutting proposal. We do not accept multiple requests from one agency. Please contact the Foundation for assistance with crafting your request.
  • Organizations with a current grant may apply if reports are up to date and the proposed start date for the new grant is after the end of the current program.
  • Five Year Limit Policy: Applicants are eligible to receive up to five consecutive years of community grant awards if they are meeting their prior grant objectives. This policy, established in 2007, seeks to allocate our resources to a broad group of organizations.
    • After five consecutive years, grantees will be required to wait 12 months before applying for funding.
    • Donor-advised or special initiative grants do not count toward the time limit.