A woman smiling at a young child in a daycare. The text reads: The Julia L. Grant Basic Human Needs Grant Program

Grant Applications Close at 5pm on February 11.

The Issue

Living in Sonoma County is expensive. The high cost of living makes it challenging for low- income residents to cover their basic human needs—a situation made worse by the compounding effects of the wildfires, coronavirus pandemic, and subsequent inflation. Families are increasingly forced to choose between paying their rent or medical bills, buying food or gas to get to work.

In crises such as these, straightforward, real-time assistance with food, shelter, transportation, or medical expenses can prevent families from losing a job, falling into homelessness, or facing another day without food.

Grant Program Overview

Community Foundation Sonoma County’s Julia L. Grant Fund for Basic Human Needs grant program provides a unique funding opportunity for nonprofit organizations already working with vulnerable populations and in need of funding for critical safety net services. Eligible organizations may apply for a grant between $15,000 and $30,000 through a streamlined application process.

Funds may be used to provide immediate and direct assistance to secure shelter, emergency food, transportation, and support for urgent medical and dental expenses to people in acute need. Examples of previous safety net services funded through this program include:

  • Support for provision of food
  • Rental assistance
  • Emergency financial assistance
  • Diapers and other hygiene items
  • Medical expenses
Please note that due to the extreme impacts of inflation on the cost of food, proposals targeting food insecurity will be prioritized in 2022.

Grant Program Criteria

Our Julia L. Grant Basic Human Needs Grant Program is a broadly accessible grants program meant to address the most essential needs of families and individuals in Sonoma County. When evaluating proposals, we use the following criteria to assess the competitiveness of a request for funding:

An elder community member picking up her food from a young lady holding trays of food.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Support can be delivered immediately and directly to those in acute need (ex. gift cards, hotel vouchers, rent subsidies).
  • Organization is fiscally sound with strong management.
  • Program minimizes barriers to accessing services.
  • Food providers will be prioritized.

The blue ocean waves are seen behind two older ladies as they smile for a photo.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Sonoma County 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or fiscally sponsored.
  • Intervention-related services that address short-term needs of community members, rather than prevention-oriented activities.
  • Case management and referral services are not eligible for this funding.
  • Program and general operating support are not eligible for this funding.


January 24, 2022: Grant application opens; apply here

February 11, 2022: Grant application closes at 5pm

March: Applicants informed of grant awards

Grant Period: April 1, 2022 through March 31, 2023

How to Apply

How To Apply

Community Foundation Sonoma County uses an online process for submitting grant applications. If this is your first application using the online portal, you will be asked to set up an account. Click here to apply.

If you have an established account, you will be asked for your password to open a new application.

Once you’ve opened an online account, you will be asked a series of questions that include your contact information and a series of narrative questions. Applicants will also be asked to upload the following documents:

  • Organization Budget
  • Board of Directors List
  • Fiscal Sponsorship Form (only for organizations using a Fiscal Sponsor)*

*If using a Fiscal Sponsor, complete the Fiscal Sponsorship form. Provide an Organization Budget and Board of Directors list for both the fiscal sponsor and the organization being sponsored.

We highly recommend that you complete your application in a Word document and then copy and paste the content into the online template. Click here to download a Word version of the narrative questions.

A word of caution: when working in the electronic application program, save your work as you go along and, if you want to leave and then return to complete your application later, save your work before you exit the program. Once you’ve exited without saving, your unsaved work is lost.

To review FAQs for Online Submission, please click here.

For questions about the Julia L. Grant Fund for Basic Human Needs, please contact:
Ariana Diaz De Leon

Ariana Díaz de León

Community Impact Director
For questions about the  online application process, please contact:
Annette Williams

Annette Williams

Community Impact Coordinator

2021 Grant Recipients

OrganizationGrant Purpose
Buckelew Programsto provide direct, urgent, basic need and safety net services to Sonoma County residents who live with severe and persistent mental illness
California Parenting Institute (CPI)to provide food, medical, transportation, clothing, diapers, and other safety net support services to families in Sonoma County through Basic Needs program
Ceres Community Projectto support Healing Meals for Healthy Communities
COTS (Committee on the Shelterless)to support the Mary Isaak Center
Council on Aging Services for Seniorsto support the Drive-up/Pick-up meal program which has become invaluable in reaching food-insecure seniors during the COVID crisis
Covia Foundationto support the Market Day senior program by providing access to fresh produce, critical information, and referrals
FISH of the Santa Rosa Area Inc.for purchase and distribution of food to families in Santa Rosa
Food For Thoughtto provide healthy groceries to seriously ill, food-insecure homeless people across Sonoma County through the Bags of Love Program
Friends in Sonoma Helpingto provide rental assistance to clients in Sonoma Valley
Healdsburg Shared Ministriesto provide healthy food to food insecure residents of Healdsburg and Geyserville
On The Moveto support the critical needs of transition aged youth in VOICES Sonoma
Petaluma People Services Centerto meet the expanding need of older adults for Home Delivered Meals
Reach for Hometo support basic human needs through the Community Health and Wellness Mobile Unit
River to Coast Children's Servicesto provide food, diapers, short-term shelter, health and safety supplies for west Sonoma County families in need and who have children living in the home
Sebastopol Area Senior Centerto provide nutritious meals to older adults in West Sonoma County through the Sebastopol Senior Meals To-Go! program
Shared Housing and Resource Exchange California DBA SHARE Sonoma Countyto restabilize clients by addressing their basic human needs
Side by Sideto provide basic human needs to Side by Side's Sonoma Community Counseling and YouThrive clients
Sonoma Overnight Supportto provide food, housing support, healthcare, and other resources to the growing number of individuals and families who are facing housing and food insecurity
Sonoma State Universityto provide emergency micro-grants to Seawolf Scholars and DREAM Center students through the Critical Needs Fund
St. Vincent De Paul Society of Sonoma Countyto support Braking Bread the St. Vincent de Paul Sonoma County food truck that delivers meals to homeless people
The Living Roomto support the Outreach Program to provide homeless or at risk of becoming homeless individuals with essential goods and services
TLC Child & Family Servicesto support the THP Resource Center for transition age youth experiencing homelessness or transitioning out of systems of care
Verity-Compassion Safety Support A California Corporationto assist survivors of sexual violence and human trafficking with basic needs such as food, emergency shelter, transportation and clothing
Vintage House Senior Multipurpose Center of Sonoma Valleyto support the Soups On! and Suppers On! weekly meal programs to address food insecurity and social isolation among Sonoma Valley seniors
Wayfinder Family Services, dba Lilliput Familiesto provide for basic needs of children/youth who have entered into emergency care with relatives
West County Community Servicesto provide twice weekly lunches to low income seniors in the lower Russian River area
Women's Recovery Services - A Unique Placeto provide immediate basic human needs for mothers with substance dependence and their children
YWCA of Sonoma Countyto provide basic needs assistance and support to individuals and families impacted by domestic violence