Grant Opportunities

Our Donors’ Generosity Leads to Opportunity and Impact

Since 1982, we have had the privilege of stewarding charitable gifts from generous locals who wanted to see our community thrive. Together with our donors, we’ve awarded a total of $183 million to community organizations to date.

In 2022, we expect to fund approximately $2 million from our discretionary grantmaking funds. The majority of these funds are restricted to children, youth, and seniors and are focused on education, end of life care, youth development, historic preservation, and human services.

We will also continue to provide grants from our Fire and Covid Recovery Funds by invitation only. Please contact to see if your work may be eligible for our funds dedicated to supporting people to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and/or is helping the land and people to heal from the CZU fires.

Our Mission, Vision, and Values drive our actions

Our Mission

To bring together people, ideas, and resources to inspire philanthropy and accomplish great things

Our Vision

To make Santa Cruz County thrive for all who call it home, now and in the future

Our Values

Accelerating Solutions. Building Trust. Advancing Opportunities.

Our Grantmaking Overview

Our approach is to provide flexible funding to organizations helping solve our most pressing local issues and creating lasting positive impact. We prefer making grants to support the general operations of nonprofits. We are moving towards increased numbers of multi year grants and we continue to work with leaders of color to make sure that our grant funds are addressing historic and current inequities. You can view our 2021 community grant recipients here.

Our Priorities

We make grants to local nonprofits addressing critical issues in areas where we have dedicated funding. Over 80% of our grantmaking funds are restricted for education, youth development, seniors, end-of-life care, and historic preservation. Funding for the arts, environment, health, community development, and specific LGBTQ+ causes make up less than 20% combined.

We recognize what a difficult time this is for nonprofits to maintain the health and operations of their organization. We will continue to prioritize support for organizations serving those disproportionately affected by the current crises, including immigrants who may be ineligible for other support programs, seniors, youth, and families suffering from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

Our Process

2022 Community Grants

We have a commitment to trust-based grantmaking and general operating support grants to partners addressing our priority funding areas. Our high level of renewal grants have offered more security and sustainability for our current grant partners. It’s also meant that there is less capacity for new organizations to get awarded a community grant. Details about our annual community grants process will be available in February.

Impact Profile

Separate from our Community Grants process, we work actively to bridge donors’ interests and local nonprofits’ work to address our county’s needs. To stay accessible year-round and help make everyone’s work efficient, we offer a tool to share a profile of your organization’s impact with us and our donors.

Completing an Impact Profile is a chance to answer the questions our donors are most curious to learn. To create an Impact Profile for your organization, start by downloading the Impact Profile instructions and optional worksheet. When ready, fill out the Impact Profile Form located in our grants portal by following the directions on the instructional worksheet. Your responses will be collected in our online Impact Profile form and made available to donors as they consider grants from their donor-advised fund. We accept them on a rolling basis.

Have questions about our grants program?

Read our FAQs

Congratulations to our 2021 Partner Grant Recipients

Community Support Grants

Alzheimer's Association of Santa Cruz County
Aztecas Youth Soccer Academy
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Boys & Girls Club
Cabrillo College Foundation
Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music
Catholic Charities of Monterey Diocese
CASA of Santa Cruz County
Central Coast/Watsonville YMCA
Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action
Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc.
Community Bridges
Dientes Community Dental Care
Digital NEST
Diversity Center Youth Program
El Sistema
Esperanza del Valle
Families in Transition
Family Service Agency of the Central Coast
Grey Bears
Health Improvement Partnership of Santa Cruz County
Health Projects Center
Housing Matters
Immigrant Legal Services of the Central Coast
Life Lab Science Program
Live Oak Cradle to Career
Monarch Services
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
Museum of Art & History
NAMI Santa Cruz County
Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes
Pajaro Valley Shelter Services
Salud y Cariño
Save the Music
Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County
Senior Citizen Legal Services
Senior Network Services
Seniors Council
Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center
Teen Kitchen Project
Tobera Project/Watsonville is in the Heart
Valley Churches United
Watsonville Film Festival
Watsonville Law Center
Watsonville Wetlands Watch
White Hawk Indian Council
Youth N.O.W.
YWCA of Watsonville

Borina Special Places

Dientes Community Dental Care
Pajaro Valley Sports Foundation/Freedom Soccer Fields
Santa Cruz Community Health
Starlight Elementary Lagasse Teaching Garden & Kitchen/PVUSD
Walnut Avenue Family & Women's Center

Compassionate Care

Coastal Kids Home Care
Hospice of Santa Cruz County
Jacob's Heart Children's Cancer Support

Rise Together

Aztecas Youth Soccer Academy
Black Health Matters Initiative, Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center
CA Film & Cultural Center
Community Action Board Santa Cruz County
Communities Organized for Relational Power In Action (COPA)
Estrellas de Esperanza
Mahala House Foundation
Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance
NAACP Santa Cruz County Branch
United Way Santa Cruz County
Watsonville Campesino Appreciation Caravan
Watsonville Film Festival

Greatest Needs and Other

Arts Council Santa Cruz County
Community Action Board Santa Cruz County
Community Bridges
Equal Access Santa Cruz County
Housing Santa Cruz County
Juneteenth Santa Cruz
Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County
Seniors Council
Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Building
Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County
Download the full list of 2021 Community Grants

Here to Help

Kevin Heuer


Contact our Director of Engagement & Impact Kevin Heuer at 831.662.2030 or

Grantee Partners

Looking to submit a grant report or new application? Login here.