PCEF mini grants frequently asked questions 

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Interested in PCEF mini grants and have more questions? Read on to get answers to our frequently asked questions.
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Why Mini Grants?  

Community groups and nonprofit organizations have asked for a grant opportunity that funds small and time-sensitive requests. Organizations, especially small ones, may encounter difficulties applying for larger grants because of lack of staff bandwidth or expertise with grant writing, their need for training resources, and their desire for grants to fund small-scale community projects. 

PCEF mini grants is a response to these concerns and requests for an easier and more accessible funding opportunity to support critical and impactful work that smaller, under-resourced organizations often struggle to fund. 

Are there limits to how often organizations can apply for Mini Grant funding?  

Nonprofit organizations can apply for one grant per quarter. Organizations are welcome to apply for a mini grant every quarter, but each application must be a unique request and cannot fund the same project/event (i.e. an organization cannot apply and receive two $5,000 mini grant awards to spend $10,000 on one project).  

What is the 82nd Avenue Investment opportunity? 

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.  

To be eligible for this opportunity, your project must meet one or both of the following criteria: 

  1. The project must be physically located within the eligible 82nd Avenue corridor.  
  2. The majority of the beneficiaries of your project must live/work/play/school/worship within the eligible 82nd Avenue corridor. 

Use our interactive map to see if your project meets the criteria above. 

Grantees will be subject to the same selection process for general mini grants funding. 

What can you expect after you apply?   

Applicants will receive a confirmation after submitting an application, with next steps and timeline. All applications will be reviewed after the deadline for the quarter in which the application is received.   

The program will notify applicants whether they were selected within two weeks after the quarterly deadline. If eligible applicants are not selected, they will be offered the option to be automatically considered in the next quarter without having to reapply.    

How are grantees selected for mini grants?  

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, after the application deadline passes, staff will place applicants into one of eight groups listed below.  

  • Group 1 – Organizations that serve PCEF priority communities, have three year-round staff or less, and are first-time mini grant applicants.  
  • Group 2 – Organizations that serve PCEF priority communities, have four year-round staff or more, and are first-time mini grant applicants. 
  • Group 3 – Organizations that have three year-round staff or less and are first-time mini grant applicants.
  • Group 4 – All other organizations who are first-time Mini Grant applicants.
  • Group 5 – Organizations that serve PCEF priority communities, have three year-round staff or less, and already received mini grant funding.
  • Group 6 – Organizations that serve PCEF priority communities, have four year-round staff or more, and have already received mini grant funding.  
  • Group 7 – Organizations that have three year-round staff or less and have already received mini grant funding.
  • Group 8 – All other organizations who have already received mini grant funding.

If group #1’s total grant request is more than $50,000, we will use random selection to choose who will receive funding from group #1. If this happens, then the money for that quarter would go entirely to organizations in group #1.  

If group #1’s total amount requested is less than $50,000, then everyone in group #1 gets funded, and then we move the selection process to group #2.  

The process repeats, going down the prioritized groups until all of the funding has been allocated.  

If all of the groups’ combined funding request is less than $50,000, then everyone in all of the groups would be selected for funding in that quarter.   

Why is the selection process randomized?  

If the total funding request amount is less than $50,000 (amount available per quarter) the process of selecting mini grants recipients will not be randomized. If the total funding request is more than $50,000, then staff will use a random selection process within prioritized groupings. (See question “How are grantees selected for Mini Grants?”)  

The typical “first come, first served” approach benefits organizations that have the time, staff, and resources to be first in line to apply. Keeping the application continuously open and randomizing the selection during each step of the selection process acknowledges that all organizations are not applying under equal circumstances.  

Why is insurance required for grants?  

The City of Portland requires different levels of insurance coverage depending on the activities being funded to ensure the public and the grantee have the financial means to cover any unforeseen events. Insurance requirements vary depending on how the funds will be used. Staff will let grantees know the level of insurance required.  

What are some types of possible insurance requirements?  

Required types and levels of insurance will depend on how applicants propose to use the funding if selected. If you are selected to receive funding, staff will let you know the insurance requirements for your grant. Possible insurance requirements include (but are not limited to):   

  • Workers’ comp or exemption (state law)   
  • Commercial general liability   
  • Auto liability (when using a car for grant-funded activities)   
  • Additional insured endorsement (when working directly with public/community members)   
  • Abuse/misconduct (when working with children or other vulnerable populations)   

How will the program make sure funding is accountable and reaches the goals of PCEF?  

All grantees are required to report how their funds helped contribute to PCEF’s goals to address climate change while advancing racial and social justice. They will also be asked to include information about the activities being funded. For example, if grant funding was used to pay for staff time, grantee will be asked to provide information such as: number of staff hours worked, rate of pay, staff activity during paid time, outcomes/deliverables of the work (e.g. people reached, events hosted, etc.).  

PCEF staff will provide quarterly reports to the PCEF Grant Committee including names of recipients, information about the funding requests, information about the funded activities, and any successes and/or difficulties the program encounters.   

Annually, staff will evaluate program performance, including but not limited to a review of the types and sizes of organizations receiving funding, applicant/grantee experience, funding amounts, and use of funds, application and reporting requirements. Staff present the evaluation results to the Grant Committee.