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 Grants is a quarterly grant opportunity offering up to $5,000 for activities that align with the PCEF goals of tackling 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.
While nonprofit organizations of all sizes are eligible to apply, small organizations who reflect and are led by PCEF priority communities will receive priority consideration.
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.
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.
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.
Next anticipated application deadline: January 1, 2023
Eligibility and guidelines
- Only non-profit 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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
Selection process and timeline
Organizations of all sizes are eligible to apply. The selection process will prioritize small (three or less full-time, year-round staff) organizations that reflect and serve PCEF’s priority communities. Each quarter, staff will review applications to determine if they are eligible for funding. If they are eligible, applicants will be placed into prioritized groups based on their organization’s size, whether they reflect and are led by PCEF priority communities, and whether they have already received mini grant funding in the previous year.
If the total funding requests in a quarter are more than the available $100,000, 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.
Agreement process and requirements
- Once the successful grant applicants have been notified, executing the grant agreement currently takes 2-3 months. After the grant agreement is active, PCEF will advance the full amount of the grant to the applicant organization.
- The length of the grant agreement is one year.
- Two payment options are available to grantees: Full upfront payment or full reimbursement.
- 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.
- 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.
Have more questions or looking for more details?
- Get help on your Mini Grant application.
- Visit the PCEF Mini Grants Frequently Asked Questions page to find your answer.
- Contact us at PCEFminigrants@portlandoregon.gov.
How to apply
Before filling out an application for mini grant funding, please read through the instructions, eligibility requirements, deadlines, and other important details to ensure you understand the grant purpose and expectations. Once you’ve read through the details of the program: Visit the Mini Grant application page to view and fill out the application.