Capacity Building Grants Program

Investing in Capacity

Bainbridge Community Foundation’s Capacity Building Grants program supports organizations that are actively striving to improve the efficiency and efficacy of their work by investing in core operations. These grants focus on supporting an organization’s internal capacity, funding short-term projects that must be completed within six months.

The Foundation will accept Capacity Building Grant Requests between October 16, 2018 and 9:00 PM November 13, 2018.


In 2017, Bainbridge Community Foundation (BCF) awarded $6,350 in capacity building grants to five area nonprofits, helping each organization strengthen and improve internal operations. Awards ranged from $840 to $1,500.

BCF’s Capacity Building Grants support organizations that are actively striving to improve the efficiency and efficacy of their work by investing in core operations. Grants focus on supporting an organization’s internal capacity, and fund projects that must be completed within six months. Capacity building is distinct from direct program services, general operating support or capital expenses, in that it is intended to increase the knowledge, skill level, or efficiency of a nonprofit organization, its board members, and staff.

During five years of grantmaking through our Capacity Building Grants program, BCF has awarded nearly $31,000 to 18 different organizations. In December 2017, Capacity Building Grants were awarded to the following nonprofits:

Arts & Humanities Bainbridge received funding to hire a facilitator to lead the organization’s board of directors at an annual retreat, assisting in the development of a three-year strategic plan that addresses the results of a prior needs analysis and data gathering. Grant amount: $1,200

Bainbridge Island Child Care Centers embarked on a three-phase capital campaign to fund a permanent campus on High School Road. To support the organization’s fundraising goals, BCF provided a grant to enable the hiring of a fundraising consultant to equip the board of directors and a newly formed fundraising committee with empowered fundraising tools and strategies. Grant amount: $1,360 

Bainbridge Island Rowing received grant funding to enroll three of its coaches to a valuable conference and training session held in Renton in February 2018 alongside the organization’s two other coaches (who were already funded). Bainbridge Island Rowing coaches spend more time with our youth than both their teachers and their parents combined in a normal school week, which means a coach’s impact is considerable; the organization wants to enable its coaches to have the most positive impact possible. Grant amount: $840

Bainbridge Island Senior Community Center was awarded a BCF Capacity Building Grant to bolster its board’s financial oversight capacities through money management training and improved reporting practices. This project centered on a workshop for the board of directors conducted by an expert in nonprofit finance followed by internal implementation guidance. Grant amount: $1,450

Scarlet Road, a Bremerton-based organization that provides outreach and education county-wide to help identify victims and prevent sexual exploitation, received a BCF Capacity Building Grant to increase its efficiency and effectiveness by training the organization’s board and staff in the areas of fundraising and strategic planning. Specifically, funding sent a program director to a nationally recognized training conference and sent a staff grant writer to an advanced grant-writing class. Grant amount: $1,500


In 2016, BCF awarded five Capacity Building Grants to training in leadership, strategic planning and development, board recruitment, governance, fiscal management, and fundraising education for capital campaigns. A few of these projects are highlighted below:

BILTBainbridge Island Land Trust created a well-coordinated succession plan for its board, staff members, and committees to implement and refine on a regular basis, helping to solidify the organization’s recognition that succession planning is integral to organization’s long-term positive impact on our community. “Well-executed succession planning fosters an organization’s longevity and resilience by attracting, engaging, and retaining talent, across the staff, board, and volunteer levels,” Bainbridge Island Land Trust reported, adding: “This effort has been an effective way to assess and improve our organizational approach to staff and board leadership development. The work has better positioned our staff, board, and committees to provide continuity and organizational resilience in the face of inevitable change.” Grant amount: $1,000 

BI Village (Island Neighbors) hired consultant Peter Drury to facilitate a retreat with the organization’s Leadership Council. As a result, the team completed a strategic framework for advancing its board development and program implementation (including a Strategic Framework Executive Summary & Framework Chart; Organization Development Work Plan; Call-In Service Work Plan; and Island Neighbors Policy and Procedures Handbook). The organization is working to achieve optimal collaboration with peer agencies and has implemented a memo of understanding with IVC to train, vet, and share volunteers. Grant amount: $1,400

Friends_of_the_FarmsFriends of the Farms hired a consultant, Susan Howlett, for board and staff training in fundraising, governance, and planning. Before, during, and after a facilitated planning retreat, the consultant guided the board and staff in determining desired outcomes and providing accountability. “In addition to enhancing our communications efforts and attracting new committee members and volunteers, the training provided each of our board members with important knowledge to increase their own personal effectiveness,” Friends of the Farms reported. Board member Bobbie Morgan shared this observation: “The session with Susan removed my personal stress about the fundraising commitment as a board member. She reminded us that it is about telling our story, keeping it short, asking folks about their ideas, thanking/engaging with interested folks in interesting ways, maintaining contact in a friendly way, not always reporting, and involving them in solutions. I felt relieved about this particular aspect of board membership and happy to have ideas about the engagement side of the fundraising strategy. It was a paradigm shift for me.” Grant amount: $1,500


Applications for the 2018 Capacity Building Grants Program will be accepted between October 16, 2018 and 9:00 PM November 13, 2018. Applicants will be informed in mid-December of funding decisions. To learn more or apply, download our PDF overview. If you have any questions, please contact Debbie Kuffel, Program & Finance Officer, at 206-842-0433 or

“The support of Bainbridge Community Foundation and its donors has been instrumental in transforming a good idea of four years ago into to a vibrant and effective program with a proven track record that delivers multiple benefits to our community.”
—Bainbridge Island Land Trust