How to Apply for a Grant

How to Apply for a Community Grant

Coffee_OasisWe love reviewing grant applications from nonprofits serving Bainbridge Island! Here’s what you need to know in order to apply for a Community Grant from Bainbridge Community Foundation.

General Information

Applications will be accepted from organizations that meet the following four requirements:

  1. Current 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS
  2. Serve Bainbridge Island residents and located in Washington State
  3. Submit proposals for projects running July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020
  4. Requests are for funding between $1,000–$10,000

During the 2017 Community Grants Cycle, BCF awarded a total of $269,887 to 62 organizations, our largest total Community Grants in any single year. Since the inception of the Community Grants Cycle in 2005, we have awarded grants totaling $1.84 million.

NOTE: 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 and must be used 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 July 1, 2017–June 30, 2018 grant period.

2018 Community Grants Cycle Timeline

February 14: Grants Cycle Opens
March 14: Grants Cycle Closes at 9:00 pm PST.  Applications will not be considered past this deadline.
March 15–June 19: Application evaluation and review.  Site visits scheduled between March 30 and April 20.
June 19: BCF Board of Trustees makes final grant decisions
June 20: Organizations notified of funding decisions
July 12: Annual Nonprofit Celebration, 4:30 – 6:00 pm at Bainbridge Performing Arts (with One Call for All & BI Rotary)
Mid July: Grant Agreement information emailed via Common Grant Application to the email provided in the application.  Grantee will log on and accept the agreement. Grant checks will then be mailed.
August 31, 2018: Due date to submit FINAL REPORT via Online Grant Application for the 2017 CGC grants cycle
August 31, 2019: Due date to submit FINAL REPORT via Online Grant Application for the 2018 CGC grants cycle

Funding Causes

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

  • 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

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.

Funding Sources

In addition to BCF discretionary grantmaking funds, we partner with BCF Donor Advisors, private foundations, and other partners, as well as the BCF Collaboration Prize. This prize is focused on funding applications that promotes a true collaboration between organizations. This award is funded by donations from board, staff, and Community Grants Cycle team members.

In 2017, BCF piloted an online grant catalogue of Community Grant Cycle requests with the goal of leveraging community donor support. In the past we’ve shared requests with our donor advisors and funding partners. Our hope is that this new component will bring greater awareness to your project. There will be the option to opt-out of this program if your organization wishes not to participate. Community foundations in other areas have had good success with this approach.

Evaluation Criteria

BCF grant making is done 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 BCF’s Community Grants Cycle grant-making 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 (both income and expenses), have an operating or business plan in place, have evaluation or targeted outcomes and outputs.
  • Completeness and quality of the application.


  • We use Common Grant Application to manage our grantmaking process.
  • If this is your first time using the Common Grant Application, log on to the website and click the green sign-up button.
  • If you are an existing Common Grant Application user, log into your existing account. If you cannot remember your log in credentials, please contact Common Grant Application. Do not set up a second account.
  • Only ONE grant application per organization will be accepted. However, additional grant application(s) will be accepted if made with another nonprofit for a collaborative effort. Collaborative/partnership efforts will be considered for the BCF Collaboration Prize.
  • Following BCF Policy (and Project Streamline Guidelines), If the grant request is $2,500 (or less) and is NOT for Operational Support, you will only need to submit your most recently filed Form 990 as well as your 2017 Organization’s Operating Budget for “Organization” financial documents. If the request is for operational support, or, is for more than $2,500, 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 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/eNews, Annual Reports or in other ways to publicize our grantmaking and the great work of the nonprofit agencies serving Bainbridge Islanders.
  • New this year, we will be piloting using an online grant catalogue of applicant requests on our website. Your submitted pictures will also be used to highlight your request. On the 2017 CGC application, you will be asked if you would like to participate in this new opportunity.
  • Organizations new to the application process, are encouraged to talk with Debbie Kuffel, BCF Program & Finance Office. She can be reached at [email protected].

FINAL REPORTING:  A reminder, if you are a 2016 or earlier (not 2017) CGC grant recipient, a FINAL REPORT must be submitted before your agency can apply for funding through the 2018 BCF Community Grants Cycle.