Environment: Community Action Grants

Environment: Community Action Grants

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Contribute to SVCF’s Environment Fund

The application period is now closed. Learn more about the grantees here.

SVCF's Community Action team hosted an informational session for interested nonprofits. You may view the recording here.

For decades, studies have shown that low-income families and communities of color are less likely to live in a healthy environment in which they can access clean air and water. Racial and social injustices are significant factors in determining a community’s access to open spaces and clean water, food security1 and survival during disasters or severe weather. As our community reemerges from the global pandemic, there is an increased urgency to address these environmental inequities.

Silicon Valley Community Foundation believes that we should correct the power imbalance towards self-determination in Silicon Valley and that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities and undocumented communities should have an equal role deciding our region’s future.

Under SVCF’s new strategic direction, we are opening the Environment: Community Action Grants RFP to address these disparities and build a strong and engaged community.

Through this grant program, SVCF supports BIPOC-led and allied organizations that prioritize improving access to clean air, water, open space and food in communities of color and undocumented communities.

The work that this program funds is part of a long-term strategy to achieve systemic change in Silicon Valley. Organizations seeking to apply should have a clear focus on racial justice and a plan to center the community they are serving in leadership, design and implementation of programs. Priority will be given to BIPOC-led and allied organizations and those with annual budgets under $1 million. Organizations can apply for general operating support or program support grants. Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations that demonstrate all of the following:

  • Prioritize engagement of BIPOC communities
  • Commit to partnerships with others and make use of relational organizing strategies, while centering trusted community messengers in their work
  • Address emerging community needs with projects designed with community residents working for social and racial justice
  • Demonstrate understanding of environmental policy processes and definite pathways for BIPOC communities to participate

Additional Details

Funding will not be provided for:

  • Capital improvements
  • Budget shortfalls or fundraising events
  • Previously planned or long-term campaigns
  • Funding gaps due to internal organizational emergencies, such as office vandalism, resignation of an executive director or sudden loss of funding

The maximum grant amount will be $30,000. The application is streamlined to reduce time spent on applying and processing. The grant review process will be expedited and only one application may be submitted per organization.

Grantmaking Process for Competitive Grants


  • Organizations must serve San Mateo and/or Santa Clara counties. Organizations headquartered outside the two-county region may apply but should demonstrate significant service to these areas or partner with a local organization that does.
  • Organizations must have a 501(c)(3) designation or have a fiscal sponsor with a 501(c)(3) designation.
  • Organizations must not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, citizenship status, creed, religion, religious affiliation, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, veteran status or any other protected status.
  • Organizations with religious affiliations will be considered for funding only if the project for which they seek support addresses the needs of the wider community without regard to religious beliefs


1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5823283/