Solano Community Foundation: Grants for the Bay Area

OVERVIEW: The Solano Community Foundation supports a wide variety of field-of-interest funds related to arts and culture, public benefit, community development, education, health, human services, seniors, veterans, wildlife rescue education, and youth development.

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

IP TAKE: Do not contact donors that work with this community foundation directly. SCF likes for everything to go through it first. The foundation prioritizes local education groups.

PROFILE: Established in 1995, 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. A $300,000 start-up challenge grant from the Packard Foundation launched the foundation’s activities, which was matched by 20 members. The first mini-grant program benefitted K-12 Solano public school teachers. Current grantmaking interests include arts and culture, public benefit, community development, education, health, human services, seniors, veterans, wildlife rescue education, and youth development.

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 grantseekers find a list of funds in each category. The majority of funds are in education, and public and society benefit. Click on each of the listed funds to learn more about their priorities and guidelines. SCF requests that prospective grantseekers reach out to its staff rather than the donors directly. 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.

There are three official SCF grant programs. 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. 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.

The size of grants from this community foundation varies widely based upon what fund they come from. The foundation does not have an online grants database. Giving is focused on Solano County in Northern California.

Some grant programs, such as the Education Plus grant program, accepts unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits. 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. Download the application forms on the funder’s website. Direct grant-related questions to the staff at 707-399-3846 or via email at grants@solanocf.org.  

PEOPLE:

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