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Spark Grant

Grants to Pierce County, Washington Individuals
for Grassroots Projects to Strengthen Communities

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Greater Tacoma Community Foundation (GTCF)

Deadline Date:

10/12/18 4:00 PM


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Grants of up to $1,500 to Pierce County, Washington individuals for locally-driven projects that promote positive neighborhood and social change. Funding is intended to support grassroots leadership efforts and relevant, inspiring, and actionable projects that foster a sense of community.

A wide variety of projects could fit these parameters, but preference will be given to ideas that:

-Bring diverse people together (how can you bring people together who don’t normally interact?)

-Inspire a sense of community by uniting people around a common goal

-Build on community strengths or offer exciting ideas to address community challenges

-Present a realistic and achievable plan to accomplish the project within a six-month time-frame

-Are supported and led by people who are trusted and becoming recognized within their community as connectors and leaders

-Are feasible to accomplish with the $1,500 grant OR are supported with matching resources (including donated goods, services, money, or volunteer time) to ensure that the project is attainable

-Are unique efforts to support something that doesn’t already exist

Applicants are encouraged to propose interesting and innovating projects.

Grant funding is available for the expenses involved in the creation and execution of the proposed project. Spark grant funding needs to benefit the broader community.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 171199

Estimated Size of Grant:

This program provides a maximum grant of $1,500.

Term of Contract:

Projects should be achievable within a six-month time-frame.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

This grant program is for individuals: grassroots organizers, go-getters, and connoisseurs of community who have great ideas on how to make their neighborhood a better place.

Youth under 18 wishing to apply are welcome to do so, but will need to partner with an adult age 18 or older. The adult should be listed as the primary contact on the application, with the youth as a secondary contact.

If you have previously received a Spark grant and would like to apply again, you may do so, but can only be awarded one Spark grant within a 12-month period.

New, start-up nonprofits that are led by volunteers and are kicking off a new idea may be considered for Spark grants. However, well-established nonprofits will not be considered and should review the Foundation’s other grant programs to see what might be applicable to them.

The Community Foundation will run background checks on the primary contact names for all Spark grant finalist candidates that have submitted an application and have been interviewed by the Spark Grant Committee. Applicants will be asked to sign a waiver acknowledging that the Community Foundation will be running background checks before making final funding decisions. Names will be run through the Washington State Patrol background check website and the National Sex Offender public website.

A Spark Grant application will be ineligible if the primary contact falls under any of these categories:
-Has ever been convicted of a sexual offense
-Has been convicted of a drug related offense in the last 5 years
-Has been convicted of a violent crime against a person in the last 5 years
-Has been convicted of a crime against property in the last 5 years
-Has been convicted of harassment in the last 5 years
-Has been convicted of a weapons-related offense in the last 5 years

Additional criminal history is subject to review.

The Foundation will not consider funding projects that:
-Compensate you for your community work (i.e. no salary)
-Include purchases or payments for personal use (i.e. no rent money, car payments, laptops, etc.)—occasionally equipment purchases or contract labor may be considered (see below)
-Support the general operating, program, capital, or capacity-building needs of established non-profits
-Do not explain clearly how the funding will be used, how the project will be implemented, and how it will benefit the community and bring it together
-Seek sponsorship for a recurring event or fundraiser
-Seek support for a capital building endeavor
-Seek funding for individual scholarships

A Spark grant might be used to fund an equipment purchase if:

-The applicant has investigated the availability of the item in the community and has determined that it is not available from a resident or institution in the neighborhood for use in the project.

-The applicant has explored the option of renting the equipment and this is not possible.

-If both borrowing and renting are not feasible, the applicant must demonstrate that an equipment purchase would advance the mission of the project and align with Spark grant intent. The applicant must identify a public place where the equipment will be stored and made available to other members of the community.

Spark grants will occasionally fund contracted labor if the success of the project requires professional expertise that is not available in the community.

Pre-Application Information:

Spark Grants will be awarded twice each year. The application period is continuous. The cutoff for each grant review cycle is:

-The second Friday in March at 4:00 PM
-The second Friday in October at 4:00 PM

Applications received after a cutoff deadline will be considered in the next grant cycle.

Approximately one month after the application cutoff deadline, the top-ranked candidates will be invited to meet with the Spark Grant Committee members to discuss their projects in more detail. At this meeting, applicants will be asked to sign a waiver allowing the Community Foundation to run a background check. Candidates also may be asked for a list of references at this time.

Applicants who submit for the March deadline will be notified in late June. Applicants who submit for the October deadline will be notified in late December.

A check will be distributed to each primary grant contact in the month following notification, after completion of the necessary paperwork (usually at the orientation meeting).

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

Kathryn Zetzer, Senior Program Officer

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Washington: Pierce County