2023 Community Grants Program
For 25 years, the Community Grants Program, with strong support of OCF donors, has invested in strengthening the social fabric of communities by responding to the many challenges facing Oregonians. The 2023 Community Grants Program will continue to provide flexible funding for nonprofits addressing pressing needs of communities across Oregon.
PLEASE NOTE THE NEW ELEMENTS OF THE COMMUNITY GRANTS PROGRAM FOR 2023 BELOW AND REVIEW THE FAQS AND TABLE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. PROGRAM DETAILS ARE FOUND IN THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP), PROGRAM GUIDELINES AND FAQS.
- We are introducing a letter of inquiry (LOI)
- There will be two grant cycles, each offering distinct types of funding
To provide equitable access to funding for organizations serving communities’ most pressing needs throughout Oregon.
General Organizational Eligibility
501(c)(3) organizations, Tribal entities and government entities are eligible to apply. Additionally, organizations may work with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor to apply. Applicants must submit legal paperwork confirming the fiscal sponsor relationship.
IMPORTANT: Organizations, except for religious organizations, must be registered with the Oregon Department of Justice and Oregon Secretary of State in order to be eligible to apply for grants from OCF.
OCF will award at least $7 million through Community Grants for 2023. Approximately $3.5 million will be made available for small rural and culturally specific organizations seeking general operating support in the Spring Cycle. We recognize the needs of communities they serve will far exceed the funding available through this grant program. A broad range of nonprofits are eligible to submit a letter of inquiry. We will prioritize funding for work that is clearly addressing community-identified needs in support of the following populations across urban and rural regions of Oregon (populations are listed in alphabetical order):
- Black, Indigenous, Latinx and people of color
- Immigrants and/or refugees
- People experiencing disabilities
- People living on low incomes
- People living in under-resourced communities and/or communities lacking critical infrastructure
- People who are homeless/unsheltered
- People who identify as LGBTQIA+
- Survivors of domestic violence and/or child abuse
New Elements for 2023
Letter of Inquiry
Applicants that meet the eligibility guidelines according to the type of funding they are seeking are encouraged to submit a letter of inquiry (LOI). The LOI is an abbreviated application on which applicants briefly outline their funding request. Program staff and trained volunteers will review the LOI for program fit — alignment with the program guidelines, funding priorities, and available funding — before inviting competitive applicants to formally apply by submitting supplemental information.
Cycles and General Timeline
There are two grant cycles in 2023, each offering distinct types of funding:
- Spring 2023: General Operating Support
- Fall 2023: Organizational Enhancement
See this table for a breakdown of each cycle’s funding type, timeline, and eligibility.
For additional eligibility guidance, see Request for Proposals (RFP) – Program Guidelines and this flow chart.
Request for Proposals:
We highly encourage applicants to review the Spring 2023 RFP – Program Guidelines, which includes:
- Breakdown of Spring Cycle’s funding type, timeline, and eligibility
- Key cycle dates and planning steps
- Copy of the LOI and application questions
- Tips on what makes a compelling LOI/application
- OCF review process and review criteria (new)
- Connecting to OCF donors (Organizational Profile Tool)
Steps to submit an LOI and application:
- Step 1: Review the RFP – Program Guidelines
- Step 2: Login or set up a new account on MyOCF and create or update Organizational Profile
- Step 3: Submit your letter of inquiry (LOI) through the MyOCF grants portal.
- Submissions received between March 6 and March 20, 2023, at 5 p.m.
- LOI decline notifications and invitations to apply for a grant will be sent on April 20, 2023.
If formally invited to apply:
- Step 4: Submit your application on MyOCF
- Submissions received between April 24 – May 4, 2023 at 5 p.m.
- We encourage organizations to mark these dates on your calendars now to ensure adequate time to complete your application.
Submission Confirmation: Make sure to press the “submit” button to submit your completed LOI and application. An OCF email confirming receipt of your application will be sent shortly after your submission.