Community Action Grants Program

Check out our current and upcoming RFPs here.

SVCF's Community Action Grantmaking

In late 2020, SVCF established the Community Action Grants Program 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 the Community Action Grants Program 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.

The Community Action Grants Program is comprised of two funds: Community Catalyst Fund and Capacity-Building & Leadership Investment Fund.

Community Catalyst Fund for Community-Building and Movement-Building

The Community Catalyst Fund makes targeted investments in two areas that are vital to achieving systemic change: Community-Building and Movement-Building.

Community-Building Grants
SVCF encourages community-building efforts designed to strengthen local relationships, amplify residents’ stories and promote homegrown leaders by creating opportunities for equity in community problem solving across key lines of difference in Silicon Valley. SVCF’s approach to community-building is based on principles that enable organizations to meet people where they are, be inclusive and keep community at the center of the work.

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.

SVCF awarded an initial set of Community Catalyst Fund grants for civic participation at the end of 2020 and will continue to open RFPs throughout the year on the schedule below (subject to change).

Tentative Release Dates of Community Catalyst Fund for Community-Building RFPs

Impact Area

Application Opens

Arts/ Culture
Media/ Journalism

Movement-Building Grants
SVCF’s Movement-Building grants supports organizations that are employing multiple approaches to achieving systemic change on issues of racial and economic injustice. Basing our strategy on this framework for Organizing for Governing Power, SVCF defines power-building as a range of activities from grassroots organizing, investing in communications to advocating for policy change. We prioritize support to organizations that work in partnership with others, make use of relational organizing strategies and centers trusted community messengers in their work.  Other possible strategies may include policy advocacy, holding elected officials accountable, voter engagement and other tactics central to power-building.

Capacity-Building & Leadership Investment Fund for BIPOC Leaders and Organizations

SVCF’s capacity-building grants enable BIPOC leaders and the nonprofit organizations they lead to grow competencies and invest in business processes that can increase their organizations’ effectiveness and sustainability. 

Investing in talent and leadership capacity is necessary for nonprofits to advance racial equity and achieve better outcomes for the communities they serve. Capacity-building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of a nonprofit, and ensures that an organization can deliver its mission both now and in the future.

Capacity-building support and grants are provided year-round. From this fund, SVCF awards flexible, general operating support grants to BIPOC-led organizations. In the future, we plan to offer a set of customized trainings and workshops with partners to the organizations in the program, either as a group or individualized, to expand knowledge and connection and therefore impact in the community.

Additionally, SVCF will focus support on a set of organizations and their executive directors. These organizations will receive grants and join a cohort for intensive learning and leadership investment to sharpen their nonprofits’ visions and strategies.

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.

Grant Application FAQ

Please refer to our 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.