Rapid Response Grants

Fast-tracked grantmaking to respond to changing needs.

Independent of our Community Grants process, a portion of our funds will be reserved to support responses to changing needs in our community. Rapid Response grants are intended to provide fast resources to organizations seeking to respond to unanticipated, urgent social and economic justice issues in real-time. 

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Our goal is to review applications and have decisions no later than 30 days after submission. One-time grants will be awarded in the range of $500–$10,000 for a grant period of six months. Organizations can only apply for one Rapid Response grant within a 12 month period.

This opportunity is in addition to our annual Community Grants cycle, and applicants and grantees for Rapid Response are still eligible to apply for the Community Grants 2018 cycle, which will open in February. We anticipate awarding up to $50,000 as part of this program in 2018.

Grantmaking Criteria

Criteria to be eligible for funding:

  • Timely and Urgent: the specific event, opportunity or challenge that your organization is responding to must be unanticipated and must require urgent action.
  • Focus on Social and Economic Equity: the proposal must be in response to an unexpected moment or opportunity to advance social and economic equity. 
  • Opportunity for Intervention: grant funds must be able to influence social and economic equity.
  • Community Engagement: the proposal must demonstrate strong involvement by those who are most effected by social and economic inequities (e.g. communities of color, immigrants, formerly incarcerated residents, youth, low-wage workers, people with disabilities, low-income residents, or LGBTQ community members).
  • Organizations: must have an IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt status or be a fiscally sponsored project of another nonprofit entity. The Community Foundation cannot grant to individuals.

The Rapid Response program will not fund:

  • Requests from individuals
  • Natural disasters
  • Internal nonprofit operations emergencies, such as office vandalism, resignation of an executive director, or the sudden loss of funding
  • Nonprofit general operating or ongoing program support
  • Capital improvements
  • Budget shortfalls, fundraising events, or campaigns
  • Regularly scheduled or previously planned community events, arts/cultural/film performances, or theater productions
  • National organizations or local affiliates, except programs developed at the local level and specific to local needs

Examples of Potential Grants

The program could support projects such as:

  • Legal clinics, “know-your-rights” trainings, identity document clinics, and legal forums for immigrants facing deportation.
  •  A convening of grassroots organizers and community leaders to strategize how to respond to a new policy threat to a vulnerable population.
  • A non-violence training for community residents in response to incidents of hate/bias violence.
  • Funds to support an urgent communications or legal response to address a crisis (e.g. a nonprofit voter engagement organization is wrongly accused of partisan activity that could jeopardize their 501(c)(3) status).
  • Other emerging or urgent community needs and opportunities including leveraging critical funding sources.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Please review the above guidelines and contact Program Officer Ana Espinoza at aespinoza@cfscc.org or 831.662.2073 to discuss your proposal prior to applying. Review the list of questions you'll be asked. Brief applications will be submitted on our online grants portal and decisions will be made within 30 days of submission.