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GrantsHow to Apply for a Grant

How Can We Help?

We love reviewing grant applications from nonprofits serving the Bainbridge community! Our giving strategy focuses on long-term impact, permanence, and sustainability. To realize that strategy, we fund two distinct grant-making programs:

  1. The Community Grants Cycle, which supports nonprofits serving Bainbridge Islanders in arts and culture, animal welfare, education, environment, health and human services, and recreation;
  2. The Capacity Building Grants Program, which funds short-term core operations projects to improve an organization's efficiency and efficacy.

As a community foundation, we are generalists and help sustain all sectors of the nonprofit community. Grants are made for the following:

  • Animal Welfare
  • Arts, Culture, Humanities (including Recreation)
  • Disaster Relief
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health and Human Services (including Housing)
  • Public/Society Benefit
  • Science/Technology
  • Social Science/Public Policy

Community Grants Cycle

As a community foundation, we are generalists and help sustain all sectors of the nonprofit community. To be eligible to apply for the BCF Community Grants Cycle, organizations and proposals must meet the following:

  1. Current 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS
  2. Serve Bainbridge Island residents; located in Washington State
  3. Proposals for projects running July of the application year to June of next year
  4. Requests for funding between $1,000–$10,000

Grants will not be awarded: to any religious organization where the funds would be used in whole or in part to further the organization’s religious purposes but solely for secular purposes; to individuals; for any political purposes; for vehicles; or for any endowment funds. Funds will not be awarded for programs and/or equipment, etc. that were started, completed, or acquired prior to the grant period.

Community Grants Funding Types

  • Program (Specific program or project)
  • Capital (Equipment/facility repairs, etc.); Estimates must be provided at time of application
  • Direct (Access to programming/support or access for underserved populations)
  • Operating (General operating support)

BCF does not fund research, scholarship/fellowship, in-kind or product donation, loans, or vehicles.

Community Grants Evaluation Criteria

BCF grants are made in compliance with guidelines established by the Council on Foundations National Standards Board as well as Grant Maker Network’s Project Streamline. Note that grant funds should not be considered a source of ongoing funding for your organization. The following principles guide our process:

  • Grants should directly benefit the community. Provide statistical data, client waiting lists, documentation for lack of services, etc.
  • Priority may be given to proposals that benefit the greatest number of people or the most under-served populations.
  • Grants should have measurable outcomes.
  • Organizational effectiveness, innovation, and board/organization capacity may also be taken into consideration. Demonstrate that the organization in a position deliver the project or program. With such things as strong leadership of board, volunteers and staff, have well-crafted policies and procedures, demonstrate a broad funding base.
  • Is the project/program well planned and likely to succeed? Provide a realistic budget (income and expenses), operating or business plan, evaluation, or targeted outcomes and outputs.
  • Completeness and quality of the application.

Updated Community Grants Cycle Priorities for 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we all operate. The importance of COVID-19 support will remain a priority during this grants cycle.

We are accepting applications for 2021 CGC applications from all sectors of our nonprofit community serving the greater Bainbridge Island Community starting Wednesday, February 24 and closing Wednesday, March 24 at 5pm. Please do not start your application on the due date.

Application questions will remain similar to last year, with some possible new questions on DEI within each organization and in programs, reflecting the importance this topic has with the Foundation. The effects of COVID-19 on the organization will also be included.

Community Grants Cycle Timeline

February 24 Begin accepting applications.
March 24 (5pm)  Application window closes.
March 23 – April 1 Orientation and training for CGC Evaluation Team.
April 5 BCF Grants Evaluation Team meets to begin reviewing applications.
April 6 – April 27 “Site Visit” Window — Members of the BCF CGC Evaluation team will contact the organization to meet either via zoom or telephone to discuss the grant application. The volunteers then individually score the application.
May 4 & 5  The Evaluation teams meet in sector-specific groups to discuss and review applications and then make funding recommendation target ranges.
May 12 – June 13 

BCF staff meets with funders and online with the public via www.BainbridgeGives.org to help fill the deep gap between the dollars BCF has to fund requests and the approved dollar amount of the applications.

June 15  BCF Board reviews and approves the Community Grants Cycle awards.
June 16  Organizations are notified via email and telephone.


A reminder that final reports from grants awarded during the 2020 CGC are due August 31, 2021.

Note: Nonprofits that do not submit their final reports will be deemed ineligible to apply for the following year’s Community Grants Cycle. Please contact BCF with any questions regarding eligibility.

Community Grants Process

  • We use Common Grant Application: commongrantapplication.com.
  • If this is your first time using Common Grant Application, visit the site and click the green sign-up button.
  • If you are an existing Common Grant Application user, log into your account. If you cannot remember your login credentials, contact Common Grant Application. Do not set up a second account.  Once logged in to Common Grant Application, please review your organization’s contact information by clicking on the gear icon in the upper right-hand side of the screen and edit appropriately, this is especially important if you’ve had any staff turnover to make sure emails are sent to the correct person.
  • Only ONE grant application per organization will be accepted. However, additional grant application(s) will be accepted if jointly made with another nonprofit for a collaborative effort. Collaborative/partnership efforts will be considered for the BCF Shel Klasky Award.
  • Per BCF policy (and Project Streamline Guidelines), if your grant request is $3,000 or less and is not for operational support, you only need to submit your most recently filed Form 990 as well as your organization’s operating budget for “Organization” financial documents. If the request is for operational support or is for more than $3,000 additional financial information will be required. Program/project budgets are required for all applications. Operational support requests do not require program documentation.
  • All eligible grant request must participate in a "virtual" site visit by a team comprised of BCF staff, board members, and/or community volunteers.
  • Please include your logo AND 2 to 4 recent high-quality (not pdf) photos with your application. Do not provide a link to your website in lieu of uploading photos. These images will be used by BCF at the Nonprofit Celebration, on our website, in newsletters, annual reports, or in other ways to publicize our grant-making and the work of nonprofit agencies serving Bainbridge Islanders.
  • Organizations new to the application process are encouraged to contact Debbie Kuffel, BCF Program & Finance Officer, at [email protected].

Capacity Building Grants Program

To apply for the BCF Capacity Building Grants Program, organizations and proposals must meet the following:

  1. Current 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS
  2. Serve the Bainbridge Island community and be located in Washington State
  3. Grant size will be between $500 and $1,500

Capacity Building Grants Evaluation Criteria

Funding is focused on building an organization’s internal capacity in these areas in order to strengthen and support our local nonprofit sector. We look for deep work from committed organizations that are actively working to build capacity or already have a plan to do capacity building work. Commitment is measured by a combination of the following:

  • An organization's willingness to provide partial funding for their work from their own resources
  • A high level of board and staff involvement and participation
  • A willingness to share information and outcomes with us and other organizations as appropriate

Capacity Building Grants Process

The application period for the 2020 Capacity Building Grants Program opens on October 6, 2020 and closes at 5 PM October 30, 2020.  These grants will be awarded in mid December and grantees will have January 1 through December 31 of the following year to complete their work.

  • We use Common Grant Application: commongrantapplication.com.
  • If this is your first time using Common Grant Application, visit the site and click the green sign-up button.
  • If you are an existing Common Grant Application user, log into your account. If you cannot remember your login credentials, contact Common Grant Application. Do not set up a second account.
  • If you have any questions about using the Common Grant Application site, please contact Common  Grant Application directly.
  • If your organization applied to the current year's Community Grants Cycle, no organizational  financial information will be required; only program specific information is needed for this application, including: program description, program budget, etc.
  • Applications are reviewed by the Grants Committee.
  • Site visits are not part of the Capacity Building Grants Program review process.
  • Grant awards are announced mid‐December.
  • Organizations have from January 1 through December 31, 2021, to start and complete their proposed work.
  • Final reports must be completed and submitted by January 31, 2022 via Common Grant Application.
  • Organizations that do not submit their final reports will be deemed ineligible to apply for the following year’s Capacity Building Grants Program. Please contact BCF with any questions regarding eligibility.

If you have questions, please contact Debbie Kuffel, Program & Finance Officer, at [email protected].