Local Grantmaking

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

What is Local Grantmaking Program’s annual grants budget?

Local Grantmaking provides up to $19 million in grants annually.

What are Local Grantmaking Program’s focus areas for funding?

We invest in work that helps support a vision for a region with strong families, thriving youth, and vibrant communities.

What types of organizations or projects typically receive funding through the Strong Families Focus area?

The Strong Families focus area funds organizations that provide families with resources they need to be strong and economically resilient. Typically funded organizations include major food banks and anchor shelter and housing providers for homeless families and victims of domestic violence. The focus area also funds social service organizations that provide critical and emergency assistance for families living in poverty.

Except in special circumstances, we do not support individual food distribution or congregate meal programs, providers of ongoing services to homeless individuals and families, advocacy efforts, field research, endowments, or capital needs, such as renovations, equipment, and construction.

We strongly encourage organizations seeking funding to visit the Strong Families focal area page to assess eligibility before submitting a letter of inquiry.

What types of organizations or projects typically receive funding through the Thriving Youth Focus area?

The Thriving Youth focus area funds afterschool programs for middle- to high school-aged youth from communities earning low income. Typically funded programs focus on academic preparation, including counseling and coaching for high school graduation, college eligibility, and post-secondary options. The focus area also funds programs that nurture the non-cognitive skills, attributes, and values youth have to succeed in school, careers, and in life; and offer opportunities for youth to take meaningful leadership roles and become civically-engaged.

Except in special circumstances, we do not support scholarships, research, studies, policy work, capital campaigns, or childcare center operations or subsidies.

We strongly encourage organizations seeking funding to visit the Thriving Youth focal area page to assess eligibility before submitting a letter of inquiry.

What types of organizations or projects typically receive funding through the Vibrant Communities Focus area?

This focus area supports organizations that promote the vibrancy of our community. Typically supported organizations include cultural, performing, and visual arts organizations that engage communities in arts and cultural programming; organizations that create and steward public spaces to engage and benefit the entire community; and programs that provide children access to the diverse environmental landscapes and resources in our local area, and offer hands-on learning opportunities that promote environmental education and stewardship.

Except in special circumstances, we do not support endowments; capital needs, including renovations, equipment, and construction; debt reduction or benefits; fundraising events or primarily one-time cultural events; literary arts; film or media programs; or capital campaigns, land acquisitions or purchases.

We strongly encourage organizations seeking funding to visit the Vibrant Communities focal area page to assess eligibility before submitting a letter of inquiry.

In what geographic areas does Local Grantmaking Program provide funding?

Grants are made to organizations located in and serving at least one of five counties in Northern California: San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito.

What is the Nonprofit Breakthrough Fund?

The Nonprofit Breakthrough Fund is designed to support current grantees beyond core operating support. Offerings are targeted to help Local Grantmaking Program grant recipients enhance their operations and organizational performance. Past Nonprofit Breakthrough Fund offerings have included support for Stanford’s Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders, Stanford’s Nonprofit Management Institute, and the FMA Financial Resilience cohort.

How do I receive support from the Nonprofit Breakthrough Fund?

Support for and participation in the Nonprofit Breakthrough Fund initiative is only open to current Local Grantmaking Program grant recipients. When opportunities arise, the Local Grantmaking Program staff will send an email to the primary contact for an organization.

How can I apply for capacity strengthening support?

Only current Local Grantmaking Program grantees are eligible to apply for funds to support organizational effectiveness needs. Interested grantees are not eligible for funds from the Packard Foundation Organizational Effectiveness Program, but are encouraged to contact their primary Local Grantmaking program officer for details on grant opportunities to support organizational development.

How can I contact the Local program?

You can reach the Local Grantmaking Program staff by sending an email to local@packard.org.

Before You Submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI)

How do I determine whether my organization fits within the Local Grantmaking Program’s guidelines? In which focus area should I inquire?

To ensure every applicant is given the same access and consideration, we ask that you carefully review these FAQ and the relevant subprogram page. It is up to each organization to decide whether its request fits within our guidelines. Because of the volume of requests, staff are not able to answer all inquiries.

Is there any possibility of funding if my project does not fit within any of the subprogram areas?

Not likely, although the Local Grantmaking Program does consider a limited number of community initiatives that fall outside current subprogram areas. However, funding for these initiatives is initiated by staff and consideration for funding is by invitation only.

My organization is located outside the five-county area of San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito, but it does a great deal of work within those five counties. Are we eligible for funding?

Not likely. The Local Grantmaking Program typically supports organizations that meet both of the following criteria: they are located within the five-county region and they serve the people and communities of that region.

How do I decide whether to apply for project support or general support? Do you prefer to fund one over the other?

If the mission or core programs of your organization fit within our guidelines, you are welcome to apply for general support. If your organization’s mission or core programs do not fit within our guidelines but you have a specific program or project that does, you should apply for project support. The Local Grantmaking Program has no preference for one over the other.

Are there particular projects or requests that you do not fund?

The Local Grantmaking Program does not fund the following: public policy work, capital campaigns, specific performances or productions, one-time events, scholarships, event sponsorships, religious or business organizations, and individuals. For specific information on what we do not fund in each subprogram area, please read the subprogram description.

Am I more likely to get funding if my organization or project fits within more than one subprogram area?

No. We are looking for leaders in each one of the subprogram areas. We prefer to fund applicants or projects that fit strongly in one area.

What is your typical grant size? How much should my organization request?

Our grants range in size from $15,000 to $150,000. The size of the grant is dependent on a variety of factors, including the size of the nonprofit’s operating budget, number of people served by the grant, project scope, project outcomes, financial need and sustainability, historical relationship with the Foundation, and other determining factors. In general, the grant amount you request should not exceed 25 percent of your operating budget.

What are the deadlines for submission of a Letter of Inquiry (LOI)?

There are no deadlines. While the Foundation operates on a calendar-year budget, Local Grantmaking Program accepts LOIs on an ongoing basis.

How do I apply for a grant?

If your organization is interested in applying for a grant, please follow the steps outlined in the “How to Get Support” section of the relevant Local Grantmaking subprogram.

How do I schedule a meeting or site visit with the Local Grantmaking Program staff? How will staff learn about my organization?

Unfortunately, our staff is unable to meet or conduct a site visit with every applicant. Organizations that fit within the guidelines and priorities of the Local Grantmaking Program will be contacted by program staff to schedule a meeting or site visit.

If my LOI does not lead to a grant, is there a waiting period before submitting another LOI?

Although we do not have a waiting requirement, it is unlikely that we would consider a request from an organization that was recently declined. We recommend waiting a year and reviewing our guidelines when you are ready to submit another LOI to be sure our guidelines have not changed since the last time you submitted an LOI.

Are requests for funding referred to other programs in the Foundation if they are not a fit within Local Grantmaking guidelines?

Typically, no. Occasionally, we forward inquiries to other programs, but it is not a standard practice.

Can my organization submit more than one LOI at the same time?

No. Organizations should select one subprogram—Strong Families, Thriving Youth, or Vibrant Communities—before applying.

What is your evaluation or reporting process?

We require updates in the form of written reports or through phone or in-person conversations on a yearly basis so that we can review our grantees’ finances, better understand their organizations, and increase our knowledge of effective local grantmaking.