Kawabe Memorial Fund: Northwest Funders

OVERVIEW: The Kawabe Memorial Fund supports human services and religious institutions in the Puget Sound region of Washington, as well as scholarships in Alaska.

FUNDING AREAS: Human services, religious institutions, Alaska scholarships

IP TAKE: Seattle churches in need of capital improvements and religious leader training have some good opportunities with Kawabe.

PROFILE: Established in 1971, the Kawabe Memorial Fund is a private foundation that supports Washington communities. Harry S. Kawabe’s will established this foundation to award grants in three categories. Overall, this grantmaker dedicates itself to the needs of low-income children, seniors, and religious leaders. The Bank of America’s Washington office now manages the fund. Grantmaking includes human services, religious institutions, and Alaska scholarships.

Kawabe provides human services support in the form of project and general operating grants for social service agencies that care for the indigent, children and the elderly. It also provides capital grants to churches to improve their facilities. Most church grants prioritize establishments in Seattle. In addition, Kawabe offers scholarships to train religious teachers, priests and ministers, too. Kawabe also provides scholarships to students of Seward High School in Seward, Alaska. However, individual students may not apply directly to the foundation, and students in other schools are not eligible for Kawabe scholarships. Past local grantees include the Seattle Assistance League’s Operation School Bell program, Hospitality House, the Nichiren Buddhist Church of Seattle, Full Life Care, and the Ranier Valley Food Bank.

Foundation grants are often $5,000 to $10,000 each. Learn more about this funder’s local giving by examining its recent tax records and recent grants page of the foundation website. Grantmaking is focused the Seattle area of Washington, King County, and the greater Puget Sound region. The fund awards grants for one-year periods.

Kawabe accepts unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits. The annual application deadlines are the second Fridays in March, June and September. Grantseekers must use the Bank of America online system to apply for a grant. Since 2015, paper applications sent directly to the foundation are no longer accepted. The fund may require applicants to provide additional details by phone before the grants committee considers a new proposal. From there, applicants are advised by mail about the committee’s decisions. Direct general questions to the grants consultant, Natalie Lecher, at 206-406-6124 or natalie.grantwork@gmail.com.

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