COVID-19 Community Impact Competitive Grants Program

Applications for this grants program closed on September 8, 2020.

Grant award notices will go out to applicants the week of October 5.

The Issue

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every aspect of our lives and created widespread and long-term challenges in Sonoma County communities and throughout the world. As with previous disasters, the impact is not distributed evenly. The Latinx population has been disproportionately affected with almost 80% of all cases and 98% of cases in the 0-17 population. Our older adults, particularly those on a fixed income that may not have social support, are also over-represented in COVID cases, especially in death rates. A third population, those who are experiencing homelessness, have an increased risk of contracting COVID as well.

Community Foundation Sonoma County is launching a competitive grants program to bring more resources to these three populations—Latinx communities, seniors, and the homeless. Our funds will support nonprofits directly serving these populations and, by doing so, we will be investing in creating a more equitable recovery from the pandemic.

Funding Priorities

 The COVID Community Impact Competitive Grant Program purpose is primarily to serve individuals and families significantly impacted by COVID. We have identified three areas of priority that target populations that are most at-risk and hardest hit by the pandemic locally.

1. Race/Ethnicity DemographicsLatinx and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of color) communities.

Latinxs make up just 27% of the population in Sonoma County but are being disproportionately infected with COVID-19, with BIPOC making up 75% of the cases diagnosed, as of July 2020. We know there are several reasons for this, including overcrowding due to high housing costs, with families doubled or tripled in homes. Latinx people also make up a large portion of the essential workers that keep our county going while others shelters safely in place, and many BIPOC have less resources and options to take sick leave, shelter in place, and be able to continue to pay their rent and bills.

A funding priority for this competitive grant program is organizations currently providing services and support to BIPOC and Latinx individuals and families in Sonoma County.

2. Identity-Based Communities Low-income seniors, and individuals or families experiencing homelessness.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19. Because many people who are homeless are older adults or have underlying medical conditions, they may also be at higher risk for severe disease.

A funding priority for this competitive grant program is organizations currently providing services and support to low-income seniors and to people experiencing homelessness.

3. Geographic RegionsSanta Rosa, Petaluma, and Penngrove.

As reported by the Press Democrat, Sonoma County’s densest regions are the most susceptible to virus transmission and have been hit the hardest. Based on these findings, we are prioritizing programs and projects serving individuals and families in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and Penngrove.

COVID-19 Transmission in Sonoma County

Geographic RegionCount% of total
Santa Rosa99545%
Petaluma and Penngrove40818%
Sonoma Valley1778%
Rohnert Park and Cotati1738%
Windsor and Healdsburg1547%
Cloverdale and Geyserville342%
Sebastopol and West County331%
Russian River Area191%
*As of 7/24/20

A funding priority for this competitive grant program is organizations currently providing services and support to residents living in the Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and Penngrove areas.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility Criteria

Sonoma County 501c3 nonprofit organizations, and fiscally sponsored projects, may apply for a grant for either program or project support. We do not accept proposals for:

  • Annual fund campaigns, fundraising events or debt retirement
  • Capital campaigns
  • Conferences
  • Scholarships
  • Grants (or loans) to individuals
  • Political or religious purposes (or programs requiring religious participation)
  • Projects that primarily serve residents outside of Sonoma County
  • Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability or any other characteristic protected by law

Fiscal Sponsorship

Organizations without 501(c)(3) designation can still apply with a fiscal sponsor but will be required to upload a fiscal sponsorship agreement form to their application. To learn more about fiscal sponsorships, click here.

Equity Into Action: Evaluation Criteria

Organizations must currently serve one or more of the target populations indicated in the funding priorities.

Please note, the purpose of this competitive grant program is to support organizations that provide direct services to individuals and families affected by COVID, such as mental health support, financial assistance, and food insecurity. Grant requests must fall within the range of $15,000 to $25,000.

In our grantmaking, we strive to be accessible and transparent in how we create and administer grant programs. Knowing that many trusted, well-established organizations doing excellent work have already received funding from Community Foundation Sonoma County and are on our radar, we have created a two-tiered system that will allow us to prioritize grassroots and/or new efforts to meet the most critical needs in our community.

Tier 1: Non-profit organizations that have not received a grant from CFSC in 2020 will be prioritized.

Note: if you received a grant from the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation Community Grant Program or are a CFSC Donor Advised Fund grant recipient, you will still be considered part of Tier 1. To see the list of application questions for Tier 1, please click here.

Tier 2: Non-profit organizations that have received a grant from CFSC in 2020 may be eligible for funding if their program or project aligns with the listed funding priorities, but will only be considered after Tier 1 organizations.

Note: the Tier 2 application process will be significantly streamlined due to an existing grant partnership. A list of Tier 2 organizations can be found here. To see the list of applications questions for Tier 2, please click here.

How To Apply

Applications for this grants program closed on September 8, 2020.

Grant award notices will go out to applicants the week of October 5.

Grant Workshop Recordings

Workshop 1

Workshop 2

Frequently Asked Questions

Funding Criteria and Priorities

What is the purpose of this grant program?

The Grant Program purpose is primarily to support organizations that provide direct services to individuals and families affected by COVID, such as mental health support, financial assistance, and food insecurity.

What types of projects or programs are you prioritizing?

We have identified three areas of priority that target populations that are most at-risk and hardest hit by the pandemic locally: Latinx /BIPOC communities, low-income seniors, and individuals experiencing homelessness. CFSC is seeking to support organizations that provide direct services to individuals and families affected by COVID, such as mental health support, financial assistance, and food insecurity.  

What evaluation criteria will you use to make your decisions?

  • Organizations must currently serve one or more of the three target populations indicated in the funding priorities.
  • Programs and projects serving individuals and families in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and Penngrove will be prioritized.
  • Non-profit organizations that have not received a grant from CFSC in 2020will be prioritized (Tier 1 organizations).
  • Non-profit organizations that have received a grant from CFSC in 2020may be eligible for funding if their program or project aligns with the listed funding priorities (Tier 2 organizations) but will only be considered after Tier 1 organizations.

Do you prioritize organizations that are past grant recipients?

We are prioritizing grassroots and/or new efforts to meet the most critical needs in our community. Organizations that have received CFSC Community Impact grants in 2020 are eligible but will be considered after Tier 1 applicants.

Should I apply if my organization is in Tier 2?

We do not know how many applications will be submitted for this grant program; it is up to your organization to determine if your program aligns with the funding priorities. We highly recommend you review the evaluation criteria to determine alignment as well as review the Tier 2 application questions, which are significantly streamlined, before you decide to apply.

In regard to tiers and priority given to agencies that have not received funding from the Community Foundation in 2020, is that COVID related funding or ANY funding, such as for other programs? 

Organizations that received ANY grants from the CFSC Community Impact Team in 2020 are considered Tier 2 applicants. Please refer to the Tier 2 organization list before applying.

Do you have a preference between evidence-based programs and innovative programs?

We prioritize programs that align with the grant program purpose, meet the criteria, and have the greatest possible impact on outcomes as defined in your application. We are open to both evidence-based and innovative programs.

Do you have a preference between existing programs and new efforts?

We are interested in funding new efforts in our community, and value the existing programs that provide direct services to individuals and families. We do not prioritize one program over the other but we are prioritizing organizations that have not been funded by CFSC in 2020 (Tier 1).

Funding

 What is the minimum and maximum amount of funding we can apply for?

The minimum grant request amount is $15,000; the maximum funding amount is $25,000.

How much funding is available?

This is a significant grant program for CFSC. The grants awarded for this grant program will be determined by the number of eligible grant requests that align with the funding priorities and the total funding available at that time. We will make as many grants as possible ranging from $15k – $25K based on available funding.

How will you distribute the funding across geographic regions?

Organizations applying for programs and projects serving individuals and families in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and Penngrove will be prioritized. Organizations serving residents in other areas of Sonoma County are eligible but will be considered after these three specific regions.

If my nonprofit organization is based outside of Sonoma County, can I still apply for a grant?

Nonprofit organizations that have a significant presence in Sonoma County but are based outside of Sonoma County are eligible to apply if their grant request is to serve residents within Sonoma County.

How many applications can an organization submit? What if our organization has several departments that work independently?

In general our priority is to provide broad community-wide support, and prefer only one proposal from any one non-profit organization within a given grant cycle. However, if your organization is very large, with distinctly different programs, you may consider submitting more than one application.

Who reviews the grant applications?

Community Foundation Sonoma County reviews proposals and makes final funding decisions.

In the case that a grant is awarded, is there a deadline by which an organization must expend the funds?

The grant timeline for the 2020 COVID Community Impact Grants program is from November 1, 2020 – October 31, 2021. The funds must be expended within the grant year.

Can our organization apply for operating costs for staff that are providing direct services to clients?

Yes. We consider operating costs, including staff salaries, to be part of the total cost for programs providing direct services.

Application Timeline

August 10: Grant application opens

New application deadline: September 8: Grant application due by 5 p.m.

Week of October 5:  Applicants informed of grant awards

If you have questions about the application or the grants program, you are welcome to attend one of our grant workshops:

  • Tuesday, August 18 9:00-10:00 a.m.: Grant workshop via zoom
  • Thursday, August 20 3:00-4:00 p.m.: Grant workshop via zoom (Register here)

How to Apply

Wednesday, August 10: Application opens online (Click here to apply)

  • To see the list of application questions for Tier 1, please click here.
  • To see the list of applications questions for Tier 2, please click here. (A list of Tier 2 organizations can be found here.)

We highly recommend reviewing the FAQs for Online Submission prior to beginning your application. If your question is not answered after reviewing the FAQs, please contact Annette Williams awilliams@sonomacf.org with questions.

Application Process

If this is your first application using our new 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.

A few words of caution:

  • When working in the electronic application portal, save your work as you go along. If you want to leave and then return to complete your application later, save your work before you exit the program.
  • As the grant deadline nears, we receive a high volume of calls and emails and we may not be able to respond to your request immediately. Please take this into consideration in your planning and apply early, in case you encounter technical difficulties or have questions about the grant program.

For questions or problems with the online application, please contact:

Annette Williams

Annette Williams

Community Impact Coordinator

For questions about eligibility and grant criteria, please contact:

Ariana Diaz De Leon

Ariana Díaz de León

Senior Community Impact Officer
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