PCEF Application Support Grants Guide

PCEF Application Support Grant application period is now closed for 2020.

On this page

PCEF Application Support Grant funding

We recognize that it takes time and resources to prepare and submit a grant application. This can present a significant challenge for many of the smaller nonprofit organizations that the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF) is intended to serve. The Application Support Grant funding addresses that challenge by helping small, community-based nonprofit organizations access the resources they need to submit an application for grant proposals that address climate change and social equity.

Available funding and allowed uses

PCEF’s Application Support Grants are designed to help small nonprofit organizations build their capacity and get an application ready to submit. Private businesses or LLCs are not eligible for these Application Support Grant funds, but may partner with non-profits in implementing PCEF projects. Organizations can request up to $5,000 total of funding, which we will provide as an upfront payment after completing the grant agreement. The funds can be spent on any or all of the following eligible expenses, and will require the following reporting on expenditures:

Eligible expense category: Training and workshop participation

  • Allowed use: Staff time and/or workshop cost
  • Maximum amount: $4,000
  • Reporting deliverable required: Report on number of hours staff attended training, relevant invoices and the number of trainings attended.

Eligible expense category: Grant writing

  • Allowed use: Staff time and/or consultant costs
  • Maximum amount: $3,000
  • Reporting deliverable required: Report on number of hours and/or the invoices for services related to writing grant application(s).

Eligible expense category: Community engagement

  • Allowed use: Outreach and needs assessment, staff time and/or resources for engagement.
  • Maximum amount: $4,000
  • Reporting deliverable required: Report on number of staff hours or expenses spent on engagement, and the number, date, and attendance/participation of community engagement events, including webinars, surveys, or other activities.

Eligible expense category: Organizational technology

  • Allowed use: Acquisition of needed hardware, software, or services
  • Maximum amount: $4,000
  • Reporting deliverable required: Report on the type of technology purchased and how your organization plans to use it.

Requesting funds

An organization can mix and match among the categories for up to $5,000 in total funding. Here are a few examples of potential application support grant requests:

  • $1,000 for each of the four categories, totaling a $4,000 request
  • $2,000 for community engagement, $2,000 for grant writing, and $1,000 for organizational technology, totaling a $5,000 request
  • $500 for training and workshop participation, $1,250 for organizational technology, and $1,500 for grant writing, totaling a $3,250 request
  • $2,000 for grant writing and $1,000 for each of the other three categories, totaling a $5,000 request.

Timeline of Application Support Grant funding

The PCEF Application Support Grant opportunity will be open from July 9, 2020 to July 31, 2020. Submissions are due by 11:59 pm on July 31, 2020. We intend to notify successful recipients of Application Support Grants of their selection the week of August 10, 2020. Following notification, PCEF staff will work with successful recipients on executing a grant agreement and processing payment.

Vendor registration status

For PCEF to process payment, the organization or fiscal sponsor must be registered as a vendor with the City of Portland. The process of vendor registration can take six to eight weeks. Vendor registration status does not impact selection of grant awards. If you are interested in participating in PCEF grant opportunities, you can check your vendor registration status online.

Check your vendor status with the City of Portland

Application Support Grant requirements

Organizations that receive an Application Support Grant agree to the following:

  • Intent to Apply: These funds are designed to support nonprofit organizations in preparing a grant application related to equitably addressing climate change for PCEF or other public or private grant programs. The desired outcome for the Application Support Grant program is that recipients will complete a larger grant proposal within 18 months of receiving the funds.
  • Project Location: The focus of grant proposals developed using Application Support Grants should serve people that reside in the City of Portland. 
  • Reporting: As noted in the eligible expense section above, brief reports about deliverables and expenditures are required. These reports will be submitted six, 12 and 18 months after receiving funds. If all deliverables goals are met earlier, subsequent reports are not required.
  • Insurance:  
    • Workers’ Compensation insurance or an exemption form is required for all grantees.  
    • The only funding category that requires additional insurance coverage is Community Engagement. For grant activities that include community engagement there are different levels of insurance requirements based on the type of activity:
      • Engagement activities that will not include use of an automobile and will not work directly with children: general liability insurance required
      • Engagement activities that will use an automobile as part of the planned grant activities: automobile insurance required
      • Engagement activities include directly working with children as part of the planned grant activities: sexual misconduct insurance required
    • Please note: if insurance is not required, but your nonprofit organization already carries insurance coverage, the City of Portland will request insurance certificates and to be named as “additionally insured” on the policy.  


Organizations (or fiscal sponsors) are eligible to apply if they meet all of the following requirements:

  • Registered as a 501(c) nonprofit organization at the Federal level  
  • Registered with the Oregon Secretary of State as a nonprofit organization
  • Not identified on the Oregon Department of Justice list of “Disqualified Charities.”

The Application Support Grant program is intended for smaller nonprofit organizations, defined as those with less than 20 full time equivalent (FTE) employees. Private businesses or LLCs are not eligible for these Application Support Grant funds, but may partner with non-profits in implementing PCEF projects.

Applying through a fiscal sponsor

Organizations may apply through a nonprofit fiscal sponsor.A single fiscal sponsor may support multiple organizations in seeking Application Support Grant funding. Learn more about about roles and responsibilities associated with fiscal sponsorship relationships.

Application prioritization

A total of $200,000 in funding has been allocated for application support grants.  Requests for application support grants will be prioritized as follows in order to meet the intent of supporting small, community-based organizations that serve PCEF’s priority populations to prepare grant applications:

  • Organizational Purpose: Following the Guiding Principles adopted by the PCEF Committee, priority will be given to nonprofit organizations that serve disadvantaged and marginalized groups, particularly Black and Indigenous people.
  • Size of Organization: Small nonprofit organizations will be prioritized, with the smallest receiving top priority for funding.
    • PCEF defines small organizations as those with a staff of 20 or fewer full time equivalent (FTE) employees directly employed by the organization at the time of submittal.  
    • An FTE employee is defined as someone who is expected to work an equivalent of 40 hours a week.
    • If your organization does not have any paid staff, for instance if you are volunteer-run organization, you will respond with “0”.  
    • If, due to furlough or other factors, employees are working less than 40 hours per week, they would be counted as fractional FTE. For example, a staff of five employees all working 30 hours a week would be counted as 150 hours (5 x 30)/ 40, equating to 3.75 FTE.

Questions? cleanenergyfund@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-7713