Community Action Grants Program

Check out our current and upcoming RFPs here.

SVCF's Community Action Grants and Capacity-Building and Leadership Investment Program

In late 2020, SVCF established new grantmaking programs in response to recommendations from our community partners during our strategic planning process. Using a racial justice and equity lens, the Community Action Grants Program identifies and supports organizations that foster greater creativity and help build community and power to promote a just, equitable and inclusive Silicon Valley.

The goals of SVCF's grantmaking programs are to:

  • Invest in BIPOC leadership and BIPOC-led organizations to solve challenges within different sectors; Grants may also be awarded to allied organizations, which are not BIPOC-led, but are working with BIPOC-led organizations to advance a racial and economic justice agenda.
  • Invest in organizations that are deploying multiple forms of power to create systemic change on issues of racial injustice through strategies such as advocacy, public policy and community organizing.
  • Invest in community-building efforts in targeted areas of support (including arts/culture, journalism, immigration, environment, health, faith and neighborhoods) with an eye towards movement-building in our region. 
  • Leverage and increase philanthropic investments and partnerships to support BIPOC-led organizations.


Community Action Grants

Grants support efforts to increase: 

  • Connections: By increasing connections between different communities, organizations and leaders, we can foster more supportive, caring, inclusive and lasting relationships among people and across groups.  Connections strengthened over time and grounded in trust can lead to meaningful change. 
  • Capacity: Capacity is the ability to move community work forward efficiently and effectively. This could be acquiring a new skill set, using data for decision making, ensuring sufficient people-power, or expanding the ability to access and develop funding and other resources. 
  • Community-led Action: Action can take many forms, from reimagining policies to organizing protests.  Often the most visible form of community-building, action can create powerful results when done inclusively and in alignment with community values and vision.  

SVCF invests in targeted areas of support including arts/culture, environment, health, media/ journalism, immigration, neighborhoods, faith and civic participation. The majority of the community-building grants will be awarded to smaller, BIPOC-led organizations. Select grants may also be awarded to allied organizations, which are not BIPOC-led, but are working with BIPOC-led organizations to advance a racial and economic justice agenda.

Capacity-Building and Leadership Investment Program

The Capacity-Building and Leadership Investment program is a year-round grantmaking fund that invests in the effectiveness and sustainability of nonprofit organizations serving San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Organizations seeking to apply should have a clear focus on equity and racial justice and a process to integrate community voice into their work. Priority will be given to organizations with annual budgets under $1 million that are led by Black, Indigenous or other leaders of color, and to allied organizations.

The program was designed and shaped by lessons learned from prior SVCF capacity-building efforts such as the Community Leadership Program and the Nonprofit Investment Program. Some of these lessons include:

  • Capacity and leadership support for nonprofit organizations is most effective when it can be customized to address self-identified priorities.
  • Sustainability must be a program goal to ensure nonprofits are able to continue serving our communities through challenges like uncertain economic or political cycles
  • General operating support is a critical component in facilitating capacity and leadership development.  

How to Apply?

Before beginning an application, we ask organization to review the Request For Proposal (RFP).

Next, we highly encourage interested organizations to participate in our virtual RFP information sessions. These information sessions provide an opportunity to discuss RFP content with SVCF program officers and ask questions!

To submit a proposal for any of SVCF’s discretionary grantmaking strategies, organizations are invited to register as grantseekers through our online application platform, Apply SVCF. This online platform allows multiple contacts from your organization to view upcoming and open funding opportunities, begin applications, and monitor your proposal status. Log in or create an account to get started.

To learn more about how to register and use Apply SVCF, please reference our Apply SVCF Guide or watch this instructional video.

*Please note that select programs offer applications through Formstack; view each grant opportunity for specific guidance.

Grant Application FAQ

Please refer to our Community Action Grant Frequently Asked Questions and our Capacity-Building and Leadership Investment Program Frequently Asked Questions.

Contact Us

Email or call 650.450.5400 to learn more.

As a resource for future grantseekers, we encourage you to review the organizations and projects we’ve recently funded by strategy on our grantee lists here

You can find all past requests for proposals here.