Grant Guidelines & FAQ

Grant Guidelines

Grant applications for the 2021 GiveOrcas grant cycle must be submitted online by Friday, March 5, 2021. Application materials for the upcoming cycle are available here: If you have questions Contact us.

Grant Application – Spring 2021

OICF’s mission is to “foster philanthropy to enhance the quality of life on Orcas Island.” OICF’s GiveOrcas annual spring catalog, together with our GiveOrcas holiday catalog, is one way we try to build awareness about the good work you do in our community, and raise funds to support your programs. With 100+ nonprofits on Orcas, not every organization can be included in every cycle. Our hope is to strengthen as many organizations as possible. Consider this application an opportunity to showcase your organization and enhance awareness of the important work you do to make Orcas Island a healthy, vibrant community.

Important Updates to the OICF Grant Process

Grant requests should be no greater than $25,000; if you have needs that require more funding please contact OICF. While all grant applications will be considered, OICF will prioritize proposals based the following criteria:

  • Does the proposal address a specific need?
  • What is the likelihood for success of the proposal?
  • Is there duplication of services offered on Orcas for this service/request?
  • Does the proposal serve a large number of islanders?

OICF will consider applications that cover part of a nonprofit’s critical or general operating funds. OICF wishes to help nonprofits become healthy, effective, and efficient—and be good stewards of community resources. We will likely not consider multiple requests in the same cycle, unless your organization serves as a fiscal sponsor for program(s).

All application questions have a 1000 character limit. Please stay within this limit and remember that an OICF Grants Committee member will interview you and you’ll be able to elaborate on the details of your request at that time.

2021 Grants Checklist and Schedule

  • The 2021 Grant Application package must be received no later than Friday, March 5, 2021, including:
  • Applications will be reviewed in late March. A knowledgeable contact person from your organization should be available from March 12 – 30. A member of the grants committee will contact your organization to schedule a meeting and site visit, if applicable.
  • spring catalog will be open for donations May 3- – 17; your organization should plan to actively partner with OICF to advertise your request and recruit donations.
  • Grant recipients will be notified in late May.
  • Grant reports for 2021 grants are due January, 2022.  All successful proposal of $10,000 or more will meet with a committee member and OICF board or staff member mid-year to discuss the progress of the project and the impact of your efforts.

Who qualifies for OICF Annual Grants?

  • Applicants must be qualified nonprofit organizations (usually Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) organizations). No grants are made to individuals, private foundations, or for-profit enterprises.
  • We are precluded from making grants to any religious organization if the funds would be used in whole or in part for religious purposes.
  • Grants are not made to any group that discriminates on the basis of age, color, race, national origin, gender identity, marital status, sensory, mental or physical ability, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.
  • No grants are made to conduit organizations which pass funds through to other organizations for distribution to ultimate beneficiaries of their own choosing (e.g., United Way).
  • Grant requests are not retroactive; i.e. requests must be for an project or activity that is planned for the future.
  • Each organization can make only one request per grant cycle, unless there are programs within your organization for whom your org is a fiscal sponsor. See: Fiscal Sponsorship info / Fiscal Sponsor Agreement form.

What types of projects are funded?

  • One time, non-recurring expenditures, specific capital needs, and project-related expenses for programs are given equal consideration.
  • Part of a nonprofit’s general operating funds if the applicant can demonstrate compelling need.
  • OICF encourages nonprofit applicants to work collaboratively in developing projects to benefit the Orcas Island community. If an application is being made for a collaborative effort, it must include letters of support from the Boards of all organizations involved.
  • Requests for funding for projects of two or three years’ duration will be considered. Funds may be dispersed yearly, subject to reporting, due diligence and other requirements imposed by OICF.
  • No grants are made for political purposes.
  • No grants are made for general fund drives, for endowments, or for fundraising expenses or charitable appeals.
  • Think about fun projects, too, perhaps more whimsical for excitement and joy. The combination of serious and fun proposals is what make the catalog model successful.
  • No requests for scholarships.

Other Considerations

  • Grant approval is based on an evaluation of the significance of a project, its purpose, its likelihood of success, and its potential benefit to the Orcas Island community.
  • OICF has limited funds available, and a large number of requests for valuable projects. While recognizing that multi-year funding may enable an organization or a project to succeed, we discourage nonprofits from applying repeatedly for continuing funding of the same project. If an applicant predicts that a project will require more than one year to succeed, we encourage the applicant to apply for a multi-year grant.
  • Please be concise when composing the application; supply all requested attachments including a current financial statement and annual budget for requests over $3500.
  • We may ask to review your organization’s most recent IRS Form 990, but please do not submit the 990 with your application.

Reporting Guidelines

All reporting requirements are included with the letter of notification; grant reports are due January, 2022. Successful proposals of $10,000 or more will meet with a committee member and OICF board or staff member mid-year to discuss the progress of the project and the impact of your efforts.


Please contact Hilary Canty or Kate Long at OICF if you have questions along the way: 360-376-6423 or or

Grant FAQ

How do I know if my organization is eligible for a grant from OICF?
Nonprofit organizations that serve Orcas Island are eligible to apply (must have a copy of IRS Letter of Determination). If yours is not a nonprofit organization and you are proposing a beneficial community project, 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 a 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; we ask organizations to limit their request to one per grant cycle. Only if your organization serves as a Fiscal Sponsor to one or more programs – then you may submit one request per program.
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 read 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 us.
What happens after I submit my grant application?
A member of the Grants Committee will contact you to schedule a meeting and a site visit to discuss your application. After site visits have been completed, the Committee meets to review and consider all applications. Approved grant requests will participate in the GiveOrcas Campaign during the first three weeks in May. This is when OICF works with your organization to fund-raise for your request. Checks are distributed at the Grants Awards Ceremony, usually in late May or early June.
Where does the money for OICF grants come?
Donors have several options for their donations, including two that go into the Annual Grants program:

  1. Distribution earnings from OICF’s Community Endowment Fund, or
  2. Funding from our “Partners in Philanthropy program.” During our GiveOrcas campaign, Partners in Philanthropy donors can contribute directly to grants on the approved and ranked list provided by the Grants Committee, or to a pool of funds to be allocated by the Grants Committee.
What size grants does OICF give out?
While grants have ranged from $500 to $25,000, the average amount is $3,000 to $8,000; $15,000 is a fairly large grant for our Annual Grants Cycle.
How many grants do you fund?
In 2017, OICF funded 24 grants for a total of $224,420 including unrestricted donations to local charities selected by the 2017 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 doesn't use all of the funds for the approved project, or the project changes?
Grants are provided by OICF (and often funded by donors) for the specific purpose 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 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