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 $131 million to local community organizations to date.

In 2021, 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 grants@cfscc.org 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 2020 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

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. To respect the time of those whom we anticipate not being able to fund, spring community grant requests will be by invitation only.

We work actively to bridge donors’ interests and local nonprofits’ work to address our county’s needs. To stay accessible 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, even if you were not selected to apply for a grant.

Impact Profile

To support the fundraising of local nonprofits, we love to give donors more background about your work and up to date information about what you need. To do this, we worked with donors to develop the Impact Profile as a chance to answer the questions donors are most curious to learn. 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. Access the Impact Profile in our grants portal. We accept them on a rolling basis.

Our schedule this spring:

  1. Invitations: In February, staff invite select organizations to apply for unrestricted community grants. Invited applicants submit a request through our grants portal.
  2. Review: Staff get an up to date understanding of applicants’ goals, successes, and opportunities and follow-up where more information is needed.
  3. Selection: Together with a Board committee, staff review proposals and make recommendations in March.
  4. Final Approval: Staff present recommendations to the Board for final approval on April 1st.
  5. Bridging to Donors: Any local nonprofit can complete an Impact Profile to update us and our donors on their work. We will share it with donors throughout the year.

Have questions about our grants program?

Read our FAQs

Congratulations to our 2020 Partner Grant Recipients

Community Support Grants

Aztecas Youth Soccer Academy
CASA of Santa Cruz County
Catholic Charities of Monterey Diocese
Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County
Community Bridges
Dientes Community Dental Care
Digital NEST
Families in Transition
Family Service Agency of the Central Coast
FoodWhat?!
Girls Incorporated 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
Live Oak Cradle 2 Career
Pajaro Valley Shelter Services
Salud y Cariño
Salvation Army Watsonville & Santa Cruz
San Lorenzo Valley Historical Society
Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County
Senderos
Senior Network Services
Seniors Council
Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center
Teen Kitchen Project
Walnut Avenue Family & Women's Center
Watsonville Film Festival
Watsonville Law Center
Watsonville Wetlands Watch
Youth N.O.W.

Compassionate Care

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

Here to Help

Kevin Heuer

Questions?

Contact our Director of Engagement & Impact Kevin Heuer at 831.662.2030 or kheuer@cfscc.org

Grantee Partners

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