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Grants to California Nonprofits in Eligible Counties
to Address Critical Issues in Local Communities

McCune Foundation Grants

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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McCune Foundation

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Grants of up to $40,000 to California nonprofit organizations in eligible counties to address issues affecting local communities. Applicants must submit an initial inquiry prior to applying. Funding is intended for initiatives that promote economic and social justice. Grants may be requested to support specific projects or general operations. Eligible applicants are located 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.

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.
  • 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.

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.

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 $15,000 or less.

Term of Contract:

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

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The Foundation supports grassroots groups with a strong community base. 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:

Grants are awarded twice a year. Initial Inquiries should be submitted by e-mail no later than January 14, 2022, for the first grant cycle of 2022. Accepted applicants will then be asked to submit a full proposal no later than February 25, 2022, for grants to be awarded in May 2022. Initial Inquiries for the second grant cycle of 2022 are due in July 2022.

If you are a new applicant, you are strongly advised to contact Executive Director Claudia Armann to discuss your project prior to submitting a letter of inquiry.

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.

Letters of inquiry and grant applications should be submitted by e-mail to

McCune Foundation
P.O. Box 24340
Ventura, CA 93002
(805) 223-8373

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California: Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties

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