Solano Community Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder gives to a wide variety of field-of-interest funds, with the most funds benefitting education, and public and society. There are donor funds that have established grant programs for nonprofits to apply to as well.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts/culture/humanities, community improvement/capacity building, education, health, human services/seniors/veterans, public and society benefit, and youth development

IP TAKE: Don’t contact donors that work with this community foundation directly. SCF likes for everything to go through it first. Local education groups typically see the most support from this funder.

PROFILE: The Solano Community Foundation is a community funder in the nine-county Bay Area region of California. It is based in Fairfield, considered the easternmost city of the North Bay. Its goal is to improve the lives of Solano County residents through grants and scholarships.

The foundation’s history dates back to 1995 when community leaders defined their vision. A $300,000 start-up challenge grant from the Packard Foundation kicked off its activities, which was matched by 20 members. The first mini-grant program benefitted K-12 Solano public school teachers. Many local funders have contributed to this foundation, including the Irvine Foundation, the California Endowment, and the Leslie and Virginia May Anderson Trust.

SCF aims to help people give where they live, and it has separate interest-area funds to let donors give within their own communities. A good page to check out is the Funds by Area of Interest page. Here you’ll find a list of funds that focus on arts/culture/humanities, community improvement/capacity building, education, health, human services/seniors/veterans, public and society benefit, and youth development. The majority are in education, and public and society benefit. Click on each of the listed funds to learn more about their priorities and guidelines. Only some donor funds accept grant applications directly, such as the Nelson Fund Scholarship Program, UW Health Endowment Grants Program, and Wong Music Mini-Grant Program. SCF requests that prospective grantseekers reach out to its staff rather than the donors directly.

There are three official SCF grant programs. Past grantees include 10,000 Degrees, the Vallejo Salvation Army, and numerous universities including Claremont McKenna College, Sonoma State University, and the University of California at multiple locations.

Education Plus grants go towards literacy projects that help students achieve grade-level reading by third grade. This program accepts applications from February 1 through November 30 each year. Education groups should know that there are two priority issue areas: third grade literacy and ninth grade math. In a recent year, 21 grant applications were received and nine were funded.

The Nonprofit Partnership Program includes workshops and events to boost capacity and organizational visibility. Small competitive grants, up to a maximum of $2,500 each, are awarded to partnership program members that need support for professional education and training programs. A schedule of nonprofit workshops can be viewed here.

Finally, the Community Memorial Giving Program pools together contributions made on behalf of deceased loved ones and awards small grants to local nonprofits for urgent needs. Past grants have gone towards helping at-risk children, infants, veterans, seniors, and the homeless.

At the end of a recent year, the foundation had over $8.5 million in assets. Current financial data can be viewed here. Grant-related questions can be directed to the staff at 707-399-3846 or via email at grants@solanocf.org. 

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