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PCEF mini grant program

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Blue background with a large orange circle in the center. In the center of the circle is an image of an acorn of the Oregon White Oak. On the left of the acorn text reads "Mini grants." On the right of the acorn text reads "Big impact"
The PCEF mini grant program is a quarterly grant opportunity offering up to $5,000 for activities that align with PCEF goals of addressing climate action while advancing racial and social justice.
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Apply for a mini grant

With PCEF mini grants, organizations can apply for up to $5,000 for activities that align with PCEF goals of addressing climate change and advancing racial and social justice. Learn more and apply today!

Apply for a mini grant

What are mini grants?

All it takes is an acorn of an idea. Not every action has to be big to make an impact on our climate and our communities. PCEF mini grant is a quarterly grant opportunity offering up to $5,000 for activities that align with the PCEF goals of addressing climate change while advancing racial and social justice. Created in response to community feedback, mini grants provide an opportunity for organizations to fund a wide range of activities, including grant writing support, small projects, events, and training.

Purpose

Traditional grant funding applications and processes can be challenging to navigate, especially for smaller groups or organizations. PCEF mini grants aim to reduce barriers for organizations engaging in climate and racial justice work by offering this quarterly grant opportunity that is responsive to small, time-sensitive funding needs through a simple application.

Learn more about why PCEF is offering the mini grants opportunity.

General funding amounts

The mini grants program has a total annual budget of $200,000. $50,000 is available each quarter. Applicants can apply for one grant of up to $5,000 per quarter.

Get more details about funding and application limitations.

82nd Avenue Corridor Investment 

One of PCEF's goals is to support community leaders in the 82nd Avenue Corridor with climate initiatives. We have dedicated mini grant funding to improve capacity of current residents and community organizations to respond to and alleviate the impacts of climate change. Projects that are focused on serving the 82nd Avenue corridor may qualify for this additional funding opportunity. 

This investment provides an additional $15,000 per mini grant cycle in addition to the quarterly amount of $50,000. Learn more about this opportunity and view eligibility requirements. 

Grant cycles and application deadlines

The PCEF team reviews grants quarterly. Organizations can submit applications on a rolling basis for placement into the next available grant cycle. If an applicant is not selected for the first grant cycle applied for, they may list their application in the subsequent grant cycle without having to reapply. 

Grant deadlines*: 

  • January 1 
  • April 1 
  • July 1
  • October 1

*Grant deadlines will typically follow this timeline. Mini grants staff will notify the public if there are any changes or adjustments to the yearly grant cycle. 

Eligibility and guidelines

  • Only nonprofit organizations, including fiscal sponsors, may apply.
  • Projects that are physical improvements must be built or installed within Portland city limits to benefit residents of Portland.
  • Projects that do NOT include any physical improvements must benefit residents of Portland.
  • The funding request must advance PCEF goals of addressing the impacts of climate change while advancing racial and social justice (see PCEF objectives for more information).
  • Organizations can submit a maximum of one mini grant application per quarter.
  • Each application must be for a unique request.
  • Requests cannot add funds to other funded PCEF grant projects.

See more details related to 82nd Ave Investment eligibility requirements. 

Eligible expenses

All funding requests must support PCEF’s goals of addressing the impacts of climate change while advancing racial and social justice. Applicants will be asked to describe their funding requests using the following funding categories.

  • Buying Goods: Examples include printed materials, food for events, technology, website subscriptions, gardening tools and materials, equipment.
  • Staff Time and Community Participation: Examples include paying for staff to write grants, conduct community engagement, community events and projects, project planning, administrative tasks, internal organizational development.
  • Attendance Costs for trainings, workshops, and education: Examples include paying the costs for staff to participate in educational workshops, trainings, events, and conferences.
  • Contracted Services: Examples include paying for grant writing services, translation and interpretation, meeting facilitation, graphic design services, artists/performers, technical assistance, assessments, energy audits.
  • Costs associated with PCEF requirements:
    • Fiscal sponsorship fee: Up to 10% of total funding amount.
    • Additional insurance expense: If your insurance provider requires a fee to provide required insurance documents.

If you are unsure whether an activity is eligible for mini grant funding, contact pcefminigrants@portlandoregon.gov.

Examples of eligible Mini Grant funding requests

  • Contract with a grant writer to help your organization apply for climate-related grants.
  • Buy plants, soil, and compost for a community garden project.
  • Pay for a contractor to conduct an energy audit of your building.
  • Send staff to a training to learn more about clean energy.
  • Pay for staff to organize a climate-related outreach event.
  • Develop youth-focused program focusing on environmental education. 

Selection process and timeline

Organizations of all sizes are eligible to apply. Each quarter, staff will review applications to determine if they are eligible for funding.

If the total funding requests in a quarter are more than the available $50,000, staff will select applications using a random selection process within the prioritized groups to avoid inequitable advantages of the “first come, first served” approach.

The selection process begins approximately one month after the application deadline.

See more details about the mini grants grantee selection process.

Agreement process and requirements

Payments

  • Once the successful grant applicants have been notified, executing the grant agreement currently takes 2-3 months.
  • After the grant agreement is active, grantees are able to request funding by submitting an invoice.
  • Two payment options are available to grantees: advance or reimbursement. Note: We can only process a single invoice for the full amount, no partial invoices are possible.
  • For either invoice option, grantees are required to submit payment documents that meet program requirements. 

Reporting requirements

  • Grantees will be required to submit a simple one-page narrative report, financial summary, and financial receipts/invoices.
  • Financial summary and receipts/invoices must show proof of payment.
  • We can accept multiple reporting formats (written, video, audio, etc.) and languages. PCEF staff can coordinate translation, if needed.

Learn more about the reporting and accountability measure for mini grants.

Insurance requirements

  • Staff will let grantees know the level of insurance required. Insurance requirements vary depending on how the funds will be used.
  • Some types of activities and use of funding could mean reduced insurance requirements or none at all.
  • Grant-funded work that includes public events or working directly with community members will have the highest level of insurance requirements.

Learn more about insurance requirements and what that may look like for grantees.

Additional questions

Have more questions or looking for more details?