Grants FAQ

Please check out the Grant Guidelines page for answers to many commonly-asked questions.

How do I know if my organization is eligible for a grant from OICF?
Charitable, qualified nonprofit organizations that serve Orcas Island are eligible to apply. If yours is not a nonprofit organization and you are proposing a community project that will benefit our community, you may be able to apply by partnering with a qualified organization. Please call us to discuss!

What organizations are not eligible to receive grants?
OICF does not provide grants to individuals, to for-profit organizations, or to religious organizations if the monies would be used in whole or in part for religious purposes. Grants may not be used for political purposes. OICF does not award grants for fund-raising expenses or contribute to endowments. Organizations that discriminate on any prohibited basis may not apply.

Are grant applications limited to capital items only?
No. One-time capital items, special non-recurring expenditures, specific needs and special programs are given equal consideration.  OICF will consider grant applications for a small percentage of an organization’s general operating budget if the applicant can demonstrate compelling need.

Does OICF favor applications for specific causes or types of projects?
OICF’s board reserves the right to concentrate our grant-making activities in specific areas of greatest need. However, grant distribution is determined through our assessment of community needs, and the merit and impact of individual projects.

Can my group apply for two different projects in the same grant cycle?
No. Due to the large number of requests we ask groups to limit their request to one per grant cycle.

My group’s project was funded last year; can we apply again for the same project?
Yes, but…. OICF does not provide recurring, sustaining funds for any given project. We understand that sometimes it takes more than one year to get a new program off the ground. If you believe that your project will fall into this category, please consider a multi-year plan so that you can apply for a multi-year grant. We hope to provide “start-up” funding that will enable organizations to find other sources of support in years to come.

How do I find out about the grants process and timeline for submission of a proposal?
You’re already in the right place! Please access the Grant Guidelines page on this website. Also, do not hesitate to contact Hilary Canty or Kate Long at OICF: (360) 376-6423 or

I’ve never written a grant before – Help!
OICF’s grant application process is among the easiest around. The Grant Application Form is simple to follow and asks for basic information about your organization and the project for which you need funding. The Grants Committee chairperson can assist if you have questions or need help. If you would like someone to review a draft of your application before you submit it, please contact the chairperson (info above).

What happens after I submit my grant application?
A member of the Grants Committee will contact you to schedule a meeting and site visit. The Committee meets in March to review and consider all applications. They make recommendations to OICF’s board, which approves the final grants list in early May. Successful organizations are notified shortly thereafter. Checks are distributed at the Grants Awards Ceremony, in late May or early June.

Where does the money for grants come from?
Donors to OICF have several options for their donations, including two that go into the grants program. One option is the Community Endowment Fund, whose earnings are the primary source of annual grants money. Another is the Partners in Philanthropy program, which allows donors to either contribute directly to the yearly grants pool, or to select from a list of approved and ranked projects provided by the Grants Committee. These two sources of funds may be supplemented from OICF’s reserves.

What size grants does OICF give out?
While grants have ranged from $500 to $30,000, the average amount is $2,000 to $7,000. $15,000 is a fairly large grant for our competitive cycle.

How many grants do you fund?
In 2016, OICF funded 26 grants for a total of $202,700 including unrestricted donations to local charities selected by the 2016 High School class.

What if my application asks for funding beyond OICF’s resources?
If your grant application is approved, OICF may fund only part of the project total. Organizations must be prepared to work with partial funding.

What if my organization does not use all of the funds for the approved project, or the project is delayed or I want to change it?
Grants are provided by OICF for the specific purposes as stated in your application. Each project is weighed against all other proposals that year. If your project changes, or you do not require all of the funds awarded, you must contact OICF Director Hilary Canty to discuss your situation. In most cases, excess or unused funds must be returned to OICF.

More Questions?
Contact Hilary Canty or Kate Long at OICF: (360) 376-6423 or  or