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McCune Foundation Grants

Grants to California Nonprofits for Projects to Create
Economic and Social Justice in Underserved Populations

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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McCune Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

09/14/20 - Postmark date for Project and General Operating Support applications; Training Mini-Grant applications may be submitted at any time.


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Grants of up to $4,000 and grants of up to $40,000 to California nonprofit organizations in eligible counties for projects to create economic and social justice in underserved populations. Applicants must submit an initial inquiry prior to applying. Eligible projects must be in Santa Barbara or Ventura counties.

The Foundation funds projects that mobilize affected populations to create social and economic justice. Projects should be initiated and led by economically and politically disenfranchised groups including low-income, working poor, and marginalized individuals. Empowerment of the economically and politically marginalized and inclusion of such people in an organization’s leadership structure is a requirement for funding.

Project & General Operating Support grants are offered for projects that grow social capital and enhance a community’s capacity to mobilize residents to solve problems. 

Project requests may include expenses related to specific initiatives or projects –including staff– while general operating support requests can cover project and overhead expenses for an organization that is exclusively focused on community organizing. Grant budgets may also include some costs related to capacity building activities.

Funding Principles

  • Social Change – The Foundation is interested in creative grassroots projects which address the causes of a problem, rather than treating symptoms. The Foundation supports organizations that see their work in the context of whole systems and causes, and exhibit solution-oriented approaches to addressing critical issues and creating social justice. (The Foundation does not fund the provision of direct services or purely educational programs.)
  • Empowerment – A core value for the Foundation is the empowerment of the excluded populations and inclusion of such people in an organization’s leadership structure. The Foundation supports groups which are “doing with others” rather than “doing for others” – grassroots, bottom-up organizations in which the “clients” are the initiators and involved in the decision making.
  • Social Capital & Community Capacity – The Foundation supports grassroots organizations with a strong community base and efforts to grow social capital and enhance a community’s capacity to mobilize and solve problems. The Foundation supports a focus on community capacity building rather than personal growth or development of leadership skills in individuals, except where such training is directly linked to community action and participants are committed to remaining in the community and using their skills to affect public policy. The Foundation also wishes to encourage networking and coalition building within communities.

Training Mini-Grant Program

The goal of the Training Mini-Grant program is to support organizational capacity to mobilize residents to act collectively for systemic change. Grants can be used to access community organizing and social justice-oriented trainings and coaching opportunities. This program is open to current McCune Foundation grantees, as well as to other community groups serving Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties that meet the eligibility guidelines above.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 172777

Estimated Size of Grant:

Requests up to $40,000 will be considered and grants generally will not be made for more than 50 percent of a project budget. Grants to first-time applicants to the Foundation will generally be for $10,000 or less.
Training Mini-Grant Program - Grants between $500 – $4,000. Mini-grants can cover up to 75% of the training costs, with the applicant allocating funds for the balance from other sources.

Term of Contract:

One-year and two-year requests per year will be considered.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Funding is available to applicants in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties that have IRS 501(c)(3) tax status or operate under the sponsorship of a qualified organization.

To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate that they:
-Include the affected population in the planning and implementation of the project.
-Work to create systemic change.
-Build social capital and community capacity by engaging and empowering new participants in action for social change.

Grants will not be awarded for direct support to individuals, budget deficits, religious organizations for religious purposes, construction or renovation of buildings, or general fundraising drives or events. The Foundation usually will not consider proposals from schools. In general, the Foundation does not fund projects implementing model programs from elsewhere, but will consider funding the expansion of locally-initiated projects to other parts of the region.

The Foundation does not fund the provision of direct services or purely educational programs.

Pre-Application Information:

New applicants are strongly advised to contact Executive Director Claudia Armann to discuss projects prior to submitting a letter of inquiry

Initial Inquiries must be postmarked no later than July 17, 2020, for the second grant cycle of the year. Accepted applicants will then be asked to submit a full proposal to be postmarked no later than September 14, 2020, for grants to be awarded in November 2020. Initial Inquiries for the first grant cycle of 2021 will be in January 2021.

Training Mini-Grant Program: Application will be via a 1-2 page letter and should include a budget for proposed expenses. Letters should be mailed to McCune Foundation. Requests are accepted any time of the year and will be reviewed and responded to by the Foundation within four weeks.

Site Visit Guidelines:

Contact Information:

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

Initial Inquiries must be sent to
the McCune Foundation
P.O. Box 24340
Ventura, CA 93002-4340

Claudia Armann, Executive Director
(805) 223-8373

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California: Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties

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