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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 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 (CGC)

BCF's 2024 CGC will accept applications between February 15 and 5PM March 14. 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 and be located in Washington State
  2. Serve Bainbridge Island residents
  3. Proposals for projects running July of the application year to June of next year (Grant period 7/1 - 6/30)
  4. Requests will be accepted for funding between $1,000–$12,000

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 PEAK Grantmaking’s Project Streamline. 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.


  • BCF uses Common Grant Application www.commongrantapplication.com to manage its grantmaking process.
  •  If this is your first time using Common Grant Application, log on to their website and click the sign-up button at the top of the page.
  • If you are a returning applicant, please log-in to your existing account. If you cannot remember your log in credentials, please contact Common Grant Application or Debbie Kuffel (debbie@bainbridgecf.org). Please DO NOT set up a new account.
  • Only ONE grant application per organization will be accepted. However, one additional grant application will be accepted if made jointly with another nonprofit for a collaborative effort. Collaborative/partnership efforts will be considered for the BCF Shel Klasky Collaboration Award (Formerly BCF Trustees' Award). There is no separate application for this.
  • If the grant request is $4,000 or less and is NOT for Operational Support, you will only need to submit your most recently filed Form 990 as well as your 2024 Organization’s Operating Budget for “Organization” financial documents. If Request is for Operational Support, or, is for more than $4,000, additional financial information is required. Program/Project budgets are required for all applications. Operational Support requests do not require Program documentation. PLEASE MAKE SURE TO SAVE YOUR APPLICATION PERIODICALLY WHILE COMPLETING THE APPLICATION. SAVING DOES NOT HAPPEN AUTOMATICALLY.
  • All grant requests will participate in a site visit (either remote or in-person) by a team comprised of BCF staff, board members and/or community volunteers.
  • Please include your logo AND 2 to 4 new / 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 on our website, eNewsletter, BCF annual and grantmaking reports or in other ways to publicize our grantmaking and the great work of the nonprofits serving our community.
  • Continuing this year, we will again utilize our online grant catalog of applicant requests on our website (www.BainbridgeGives.org). Your submitted pictures will be used to highlight your request and will also be advertised widely.

Organizations new to the application process, are strongly encouraged to talk with Debbie Kuffel, BCF Program & Finance Officer at debbie@bainbridgecf.org. She is happy to discuss applications from both new and returning applicants and provide feedback.

Capacity Building Grants Program

Applications of $500 to $1,500 are accepted from 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations located in Washington State serving the greater Bainbridge Island community (Those that work, live, or visit Bainbridge Island).

The BCF Capacity Building Grants Program does not fund travel or capital expenses.  It is not for hiring or adding staff (or staff hours) to increase your organization's capacity. That type of request is better suited to BCF's annual Community Grants Cycle Program.

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 Capacity Building Grants Program opens during the month of October. 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.
  • Final reports must be completed and submitted after the project is finished 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.

2023 Capacity Grants Cycle

BCF’s Capacity Building Grants Cycle applications accepted between October 18, 2023 and November 14, 2023 of $500-$1,500 online via Common Grant Application.  The BCF Grants Committee will review applications and make funding recommendations to the BCF Board of Trustees.  Awards will be announced in mid-December.  The grant period for these awards is January 1-December 31, 2024.

If you have questions, please contact Debbie Kuffel, Program & Finance Officer, at debbie@bainbridgecf.org.