Catherine Holmes Wilkins Charitable Foundation: Northwest Funders

OVERVIEW: The Catherine Holmes Wilkins Charitable Foundation supports education, health, human services, and medical research in the Puget Sound region of Washington.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, health, human services, medical research

IP TAKE: This funder prioritizes small social service nonprofits in the Seattle area with modest project support needs.

PROFILE: Established in 1986, the Catherine Holmes Wilkins Charitable Foundation is a private foundation focused on the Puget Sound region of Washington. Wilkins established the foundation in her will to support social service agencies and medical research in the region. This foundation is managed by Bank of America’s Washington office. Grantmaking includes education, health, human services, and medical research.

This funder provides medical research and education grants to medical and academic centers that work in the areas of cancer, heart disease, and mental illness. It also supports nonprofits that aid the physically and mentally handicapped through direct service support. Services for the needy receive Wilkins support, especially community-based programs that serve abused women and children. Past local grantees include Acres of Diamonds, Family Law CASA of King County, Exodus Housing, and Food Lifeline. The funder prefers to support projects instead of ongoing operating expenses. However, it does support small capital campaigns in which modest contributions are likely to make an impact too.

Foundation grants are often $2,000 to $5,000 each. Learn more about this funder’s local giving by reviewing past grants on its website. Grantmaking focuses on the Puget Sound region of Washington, including the cities of Seattle, Everett, Tacoma, Duvall, Bellevue, Issaquah, and Sammamish. To be eligible for grants, organizations are required to operate within or significantly affect the residents of the greater Seattle region, which extends from Tacoma to Everett and the Eastside. Except for medical research grantseekers, applicants must have annual operating budgets under $1 million. The exception is larger groups that have received two foundation grants within the past five years. Most grants are for single-year periods, although the funder does provide multi-year grants to groups that have received two grants within the past five years.

This foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits. The annual application deadlines are the second Monday of March, the fourth Friday of June, and the second Friday of October. Grantseekers must use the Bank of America online system to apply for a grant. Since 2015, the foundation no longer accepts paper applications submitted directly to it. Direct general questions to grants consultant Keri Healy at 206-604-5374 or keri@kerihealey.com.

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