Our Community Comes Together

RESPONDING TO CRISIS: Donate now to either our COVID-19 Response Fund or Fire Response Fund.

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 $100 million to local community organizations to date. In 2019, we awarded $2 million in community grants to high-performing nonprofits serving Santa Cruz County, who are aligned with our funding priorities, responsive to the needs of our community, and are making a lasting impact on Santa Cruz County residents and their quality of life.

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 community grant process for 2020 is getting a fresh approach. We want our grants process to strengthen our ability to be a bridge between donors’ goals and your work to address our County’s needs. We're making changes to be better advocates for your work with our donors who direct more than 80% of the grants we award to the causes they care about most.

We want to work with you to create a stellar 1 Page Funding Request that will help you put your best foot forward with us. It will help us better advocate for you and connect you with donors in new and more meaningful ways throughout the year. It will list the questions donors ask us most often. Download a worksheet below to help populate the template that's also shared below.

Since the close of our spring grant request period, we’ll accept these requests on a rolling basis for donor-advisor consideration. You can view our 2020 partner grant recipients here.

1. 2020 Grants - How to Apply Overview
2. Funding Request Worksheet
3. Funding Request Template

Arts, Culture & History grants will again be made in collaboration with the Arts Council Santa Cruz County. We are excited to be working together to strengthen our support for the arts and offer a single application process that simplifies the process for our local arts community. The 2020 application deadline has passed and award announcements will be made soon.

Compassionate Care grants are dedicated for organizations addressing end-of-life and hospice care issues. Grants are by invitation only.

The Diversity Partnership Fund grant program seeks to sustain, enhance or expand programs and/or projects designed to strengthen alliances, promote respect, and enhance services for Santa Cruz County’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) community. The next opportunities to apply will be in 2021. Learn more.

The Rydell Visual Arts Fund will be announced grant recipients in February 2020 for four new artist Fellowships of $20,000, and for artist-nonprofit partnership projects.

Education Initiatives

We have two initiatives underway to prepare children and youth for college and career pathways.

Girls Paving the Way is a three-year program supporting the educational progress and social-emotional learning of a cohort of girls from sixth through eighth grade in Pajaro Valley. This initiative is led by the Educational Partnership Center at UCSC and supported by a variety of youth-serving organizations and funded through our Fund for Women and Girls.

Closing the Math Achievement Gap is a multi-year initiative with Santa Cruz County College Commitment to improve student math scores by supporting math skill acquisition. It is funded primarily through our Borina Fund for Education.

Looking for information on our scholarships? Learn more here.

Eligibility & Criteria for Selection

We partner with 501(c)(3) organizations and/or fiscally-sponsored groups to advance our goals and priorities. In addition to alignment with our priority funding areas, we use a variety of criteria in which to evaluate proposals including your organization’s strength of leadership, its ability to attract resources to fuel your mission work, and your record of success towards clearly defined outcomes that respond to local social conditions and challenges.

Have questions about our grants program? Send us an email to get an answer from our team.

Contact Us

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
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
Senior Network Services
Seniors Council
Teen Kitchen Project
Walnut Avenue Family & Women's Center
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


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.