Community Grant Eligibility Criteria and Guidelines


Grant Funds may be used for:

  1. General operating funds, capacity building, capital purchases, special programs/projects, and sponsorships (excluding those for fundraising purposes)
  2. Specific short-term proposals to be completed within one year of receipt of funds

Eligibility Criteria: Nonprofit organizations must:

  1. Legally operate as one of the following:
  • Tax exempt under IRS code 501c3 and registered with the Registry of the Charitable Trusts, State of California Department of Justice for a minimum of two years and be in sound financial condition.
  • Under the formal fiscal sponsorship of another organization’s 501c3 status for a minimum of two years and be in sound financial condition.
  • As a program of a local government entity; or an un-endowed foundation which was developed to support a public entity, (e.g., a public school foundation or Friends of the Commission on Aging)
  1. Be non-discriminatory on the basis of race, gender, sexual identification or orientation, spiritual beliefs, national origin or immigration status.
  2. Operate as a program or project within the following four focus areas: (grant proposals must state which sector they represent to support grant funding in diverse sectors)
  • Arts & Culture
  • Environment/Parks/Sustainability/Recreation
  • Education
  • Health/Community Betterment
  1. Operate a program or project in the geographical area of Sonoma County
  2. The following are ineligible for Community Grants:
  • Organizations and/or projects aimed to solely benefit Sonoma Valley residents
  • Organizations and/or projects that exclusively serve religious purposes and/or require religious activity as a condition of receiving services
  • International projects
  • Legislation and public policy and/or lobbying
  1. Receipt of a Community Grant does not impact an organization’s eligibility for an Impact Grant and vice versa. Awardees of a Community Grant may not apply for another Community Grant for three years, but may apply thereafter.

Exclusion Criteria: Community Grants May Not be used for:

  1. Debt reduction or operational deficits
  2. Grants to individuals
  3. Private foundations
  4. Endowment funding
  5. Interim or bridge funding
  6. Partisan, legislative, or political activity
  7. Fees paid to a grant writer or for fundraising activities
  8. Projects of religious organizations or bodies of worship, unless the project is secular in nature
  9. Annual appeals or fundraising drives, activities or events
  10. General capital campaigns unrelated to a specific project