The Programs department holds the great honor of stewarding the charitable legacy of donors who entrusted the Community Foundation, as experts in our local community, to address issues and support effective nonprofits on their behalf.

As part of our work, we seek to maximize the impact of our donors’ funds by aligning them with the appropriate type of grantmaking, either competitive or initiative.

Many of you are familiar with our competitive grants programs: Basic Human Needs, Arts Education, Small Grants for the Arts, and Environmental Education. With these programs, a federally-designated, charitable organization whose mission and services align with Community Foundation priorities submits a funding application to one of our grant programs. The application is evaluated by our Programs staff and Community Investment Committee, whose recommendations are approved by our board. We seek to create grants processes that are right-sized for both nonprofits and the Community Foundation, so we create a competitive grants program when we have funding sufficiently large enough that the effort of applying is appropriate to the amount available to award.

When the intent of a donor’s fund is very specific or the Community Foundation is engaged in an initiative, we will invite organizations to apply for grants. In this way the Community Foundation provides leadership in more effectively resolving community issues through convening and partnering with organizations, field experts, community groups, and civic leaders. We have been involved in many initiatives over our thirty year history; here are a few recent examples:

Fresh Food Initiative: This seven-year initiative, which ends in 2016, is bolstering the capacity of Redwood Empire Food Bank to supply produce to food pantries and agencies throughout the county.

North Bay Climate Adaptation Initiative: Over the past five years we have supported a group of leaders of local environmental organizations to work collaboratively with other sectors to create a local roadmap for adapting to a changing climate.

Our current initiative is focused on early childhood education–more on our Early Childhood Education Initiative in our next newsletter!

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