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Grant funding available to nonprofits serving San Luis Obispo County 

grants for local nonprofits

The Community Foundation now accepting online applications for its 2022 grant cycle

– The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County is now accepting applications for its 2022 grants cycle. Over $450,000 has been made available for organizations serving the environment, arts, seniors, people with disabilities, and more. For the first time, in order to further support stability and trust within SLO’s philanthropic sector, The Community Foundation has announced that all General Grants will be unrestricted.

“Starting this year, 100 percent of the grants we are offering through our General Grants Program will be unrestricted, meaning these funds can be used however each recipient deems necessary,” said Heidi McPherson, CEO of the Community Foundation. “Challenging times require a new approach, and we believe that unrestricted funding gives our nonprofit partners the flexibility they need to succeed in today’s environment. ”

The primary goal of the program is to provide funding for agencies and programs that directly address community needs while helping nonprofit organizations fulfill their mission. The Community Foundation will prioritize applications that support community well-being, resiliency, collaboration, and demonstrate cultural competency.

What’s new this year

To streamline funding efforts, nonprofit organizations can either submit new applications directly to The Community Foundation or submit a copy of an application that has been drafted to the County American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

“We hope that by accepting grants previously submitted to ARPA, our beloved nonprofit community can save time and money by eliminating duplicative grant writing,” says Cassandra Kartashov, director of grants and programs at The Community Foundation. “The General Grants Program will also be supporting multi-year awards as we know how important it is for nonprofits to have funding stability.”

All grants offered by The Community Foundation’s General Grants program will not only be unrestricted but will also have a two-year funding term. The average grant awarded through the program is anticipated to be $15,000. Funding will support the following interest areas:

• Arts
• Environment
• Human Services
• Seniors and People with Disabilities


Impact of grants in SLO County

Since its inception, the grants program at The Community Foundation has grown and pivoted to reflect the changing needs of SLO County. To ensure the greatest impact of funds, the Foundation leverages data and community members’ lived experiences to inform decision-making.

For example, Growing Together for LGBTQ+ Fund – a Field of Interest fund managed by The Community Foundation – developed its recommendations for grant distribution based on data analysis from multiple sources, subcommittee members’ independent research, lived experiences, and thorough discussion. In spring, over $19,000 was distributed to Planned Parenthood California Central Coast, SLO Children’s Museum, KCBX Radio, and Lumina Alliance based on these recommendations.

The Women’s Legacy Fund – another Field of Interest Fund managed by The Community Foundation – recently granted over $75,000 to the Center for Family Strengthening, People’s Self-Help Housing, and Boys & Girls Club Mid Central Coast: all of which are programs supporting women and girls.

The BUILD Grant (Building Unity, Infrastructure, Leadership, and Development) and Opportunity to Thrive Grant are also grants available for this year but are separate from the General Grants cycle. The goal of the BUILD Grant program is to provide capacity-building funding for agencies with an annual operating budget of less than $500,000. BUILD Grants support the following areas:

• Capacity building
• Staff or board training and development
• Communications or donor development efforts
• Capital equipment improvement (hardware, software, furniture, etc.)

Opportunity to Thrive supports organizations that offer direct assistance to individuals with a one-time emergency, focusing on empowering and strengthening individuals to overcome obstacles while embarking on the road to self-sufficiency.

How to apply

Organizations that meet eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply at

A virtual grant informational session will be hosted on Friday and will equip attendees with information on how to submit a successful application. To attend, use this sign-up sheet which includes the meeting credentials.

Completed applications must be submitted online by Aug. 15 at 5 p.m. Applicants will be notified of their award status later this fall. For further questions about the application process or if you are interested in evaluating grant applications, contact Cassandra Kartashov at

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