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2022 SEED Grant

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A website banner with orange repeating dots on the left hand side and a purple half circle on the right. In the center is the Social Equity and Educational Development Grant Fund Logo which shows two hands, one holding a sprouting seed while the other hand hovers over.
If you do not have web grants account at this time, you are not eligible to apply. All web grant registrants have until Dec. 23, 2022 to finish their SEED Grant application. See below for more information.
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SEED Grant Guide

This website provides all the information you need to know when applying for the 2023 SEED Grant. We have also packaged the information on this webpage into a PDF which is available to be downloaded as a PDF:


Important Deadline Note

If you do not have web grants account at this time, you are not eligible to apply. All web grant registrants have until Dec. 23, 2022 to finish their SEED Grant application. 

WebGrants Registration

Monday, October 3 – Friday, November 18, 2022

WebGrants is a web-based application used by the City of Portland to manage grant applications. You will not be able to apply for the SEED Grant until your organization has successfully registered for an account in WebGrants.

This is the first year that the SEED Grant is using WebGrants, however, if your organization has applied for a grant through another City bureau such as PBOT or the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, you may have used WebGrants. Please check within your organization and team to see if you already have a WebGrants account before creating a new account.

Please see "Grant Application Timeline" to find out other important SEED Grant deadlines.


2023 SEED Grant Application

If you do not have web grants account at this time, you are not eligible to apply. All web grant registrants have until Friday, Dec. 23, 2022 to finish their SEED Grant application. 

Apply for 2023 SEED Grant Application Here


Information Sessions for SEED Grant Applicants

Join our virtual information session to hear more about the SEED Grant application process and get answers to any questions you may have about the application requirements.

Next Info Session: Thursday, Nov. 17, 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Register for Nov. 17 Info Session Here

Please note that the Nov. 17 Info session will include closed-captioning. 

You can view recorded October 17 Info Session here:


SEED Grant Purpose and Funding Priority Areas

SEED Initiatives Grants. Education Development. Entrepreneurship & Economic Development. Social Justice.

In 2017, the Office of Community & Civic Life’s Cannabis Program successfully advocated for the City of Portland to invest a portion of its marijuana retail sales tax toward equity-centered grants for community programs and business projects. As a result, the SEED Grant Fund (initially called the Cannabis Social Equity Grant) is the first program in the country that has reinvestment tied to cannabis tax revenue.

While the SEED Grant is managed by the Cannabis Program and funded through cannabis retail tax, projects do not need to be focused on cannabis-related projects. However, the SEED Grant prioritizes projects that advance restorative justice, community reinvestment, and wealth creation for communities who have been disproportionately impacted by more than 80 years of cannabis prohibition laws. The application must fall within one of the SEED Grant’s three priorities:

  • Education Development
    • Youth training and development
    • Workforce development
    • Community and health education
    • STEAMM education
  • Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
    • Business incubation and acceleration
    • Business support for entrepreneurs
    • Co-working spaces
    • Networking and mentorship
  • Social Justice
    • Criminal justice reform projects and services
    • Legal services and case management support
    • Re-entry housing support and services
    • Health equity services

Grant Amounts

The SEED Grant offers three tiers of grant funding. Applicants will be asked to identify which tier they are applying for, but the SEED Grant selection committee can recommend that your application be moved to a different grant tier based on project strength and impact.

Matching funds (donations from private and public groups) are not required but help demonstrate support for your project and strengthen your proposal. Matching funds may be in-kind or cash. In-kind donations are donations of products and services and include volunteer time and labor. Cash donations are donations of money, generally for a specific budget item.

Tier 1: $50,000 Applicants will have 0 – 5 years of operations with little to no funding during that period. These applicants are not traditional grant applicants and often will not have the expertise in Grant Procedures and do not have grant writers or have limited staff, with much of the work being done without paid staff. Community based groups or organizations that are not yet formed are also encouraged to apply.

Tier 2: $75,000 Applicants will have 5 – 10 years of operations and have a basic understanding of grants but still need additional support in the grant process. They have staff that are dedicated to supporting these operations and they are ready to go and execute the programs.

Tier 3: $250,000 Applicants have prior experience managing grants, completing grant applications and demonstrating fiscal responsibility through prior grant management. Applicants can execute the completion of larger grants with hopes to apply for higher value state, local, federal, and private grants and will need this grant to help improve their portfolio.

Delivery of Awarded Funds

The SEED Grant is a reimbursement grant, this means that you will be compensated for your project expenses after submitting an invoice and receipts for approved budget items. Grant recipients will enter negotiations with the SEED Initiatives Coordinator to discuss the reporting and invoice frequency. Up to 25% grant fund advancement is possible for organizations that have successfully completed a previous SEED Grant cycle—this option is not available for first-time SEED grantees.

Grants are awarded on an annual basis and the funds must be spent within two years from the date the grant was awarded. All project components must be completed before you are able to apply for another grant cycle.

All grantees must have a business bank account and insurance. If you do not meet these two requirements, you can still apply for the SEED Grant but will need to do so with a fiscal agent or a fiscal sponsor. The fiscal agent or sponsor will submit invoices for reimbursement on behalf of the grantee. Please see “Section 4: Fiscal Agents and Sponsors” for more information.

Eligibility

Eligible Applicants 

All grants must benefit Portland Metro residents. The Portland Metro is within the states of Oregon and Washington centered around the principal City of Portland, Oregon. 

Projects must also be easily accessible, visible to the general public, and show a clear public benefit.

Community groups, businesses, nonprofits, student groups, schools, faith organizations, neighborhood or business associations, and service groups within the City of Portland or Metro Portland are eligible to apply. All Businesses must be in good standing with local, state, and federal regulatory agencies.

Because this is a Racial Equity grant, it prioritizes Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and women-led/owned small business initiatives and/or projects, programs, or services that support economic and educational development of BIPOC communities. All applicants are encouraged to self-identify program staff, organization demographics, leadership demographics, and institutional information. 

Ineligible Applicants and Projects 

These funds must benefit Portland Metro residents. The Portland Metro is within the states of Oregon and Washington centered around the principal City of Portland, Oregon.  The funds should not be used for programming outside Portland Metro. Other disqualifications include: 

  • Applicants that have won three grants from SEED and have graduated out of the program.
  • Applicants who have been found to falsely represent themselves or organizations. 
  • Applicants who have been found to not meet the spirit of the grant or City Policies.

Eligible Costs

Eligible costs include but are not limited to:

  • Materials and Supplies: This category includes paper, printing, food supplies, paper, parking, technology upgrades, and cell phones.
  • Refreshments: Up to $500 dollars can be spent on snacks and drinks for volunteers and work crews.
  • Staff and Professional Services: This can include technical assistance, contracted services, project coordination, youth compensation, permits, administrative costs, insurance, etc.

Ineligible Costs

Funds cannot be spent on: 

  • Cannabis or cannabis-related by-products.
  • Alcoholic beverages. 
  • Consultants that work on staff or have other contracts under the same grant.
  • Payments to other organizations (supporting grant programs external to the organization).
  • Use of funds to purchase property and/or land.

Application Process

The grant application process has two rounds: the pre-application round and the full application round.

The grant selection committee will use the pre-application as the primary basis to determine funding eligibility and to provide feedback on how the grant can best meet SEED goals.

Applicants who do not receive an invitation to submit a full application will be notified by SEED Staff.

Round One Pre-application

In order to access the funding opportunity, applicants will need to register first. Registration requires basic user information such as contact details and organization name.

When registering, please select “Cannabis SEED Grant Fund” from the “Program Areas of Interest.”

A screenshot of the online grant application WebGrants. The screenshot shows how  SEED applicants need to choose "Program Area of Interest", "Cannabis-Social Equity & Educational Development Grant Fund"

Once your organization is registered, you will receive a notification of approval and will be invited to log in to the WebGrants portal to begin your pre-application.

After logging into WebGrants, navigate to Funding Opportunities -> SEED Grant Fund -> Start New Application. You will be asked to complete the following:

  • Applicant Information
    • Entity name and address
    • Entity tax identification number. If the applicant does not have a tax identification number, they will need to provide information about their fiscal sponsor (please see section 5 for more information).
    • Leadership team bios. This is a Racial Equity grant, and it prioritizes BIPOC and women-led/owned small business initiatives and/or projects, programs or services that support economic and educational development of BIPOC. All applicants are encouraged to self-identify program staff, organization demographics, leadership demographics, and institutional information.
  • Proposed Project Information
    • Project title
    • Requested funding
    • Project summary (1,000 words or less)

Round one pre-application review and scoring will begin in January 2023. Applicants selected to move forward will be notified around February 2023.

Round Two Full Application

Applicants selected for this round will be asked to submit a full application:

  1. Project budget.
  2. Letters of support: This is optional but helps us better understand your work and partnerships within the community.
  3. The fiscal agent: If your organization does not have a business bank account or insurance, you will need to apply with a fiscal agent. Please see section 5 for more information.

Additional letters of support will be required for projects that need to rely on partners for resources and/or projects that are outside the organization’s main scope of work (i.e., partners contributing substantial or critical resources to your project).

Grant Application Timeline

Registration for WebGrants: October 3 –  November 11, 2022

WebGrants is a web-based application used by the City of Portland to manage grant applications. You will not be able to apply for the SEED Grant until your organization has successfully registered for an account in WebGrants.

This is the first year that the SEED Grant is using WebGrants, however, if your organization has applied for a grant through another City bureau such as PBOT or the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, you may have used WebGrants. Please check within your organization and team to see if you already have a WebGrants account.

Pre-Application on WebGrants: October 17 – December 23, 2022

The pre-application process is an opportunity for your organization to define the proposed project and explain how it meets the SEED Grant requirements. Once you have submitted your pre-application, the SEED Grant Committee will determine if your request meets the SEED Grant guidelines. Approved applications will move on to round two.

Selection Committee Scores Pre-Applications: January – February, 2023

The SEED Grant Selection Committee scores applications on how well their proposed project addresses five categories, with a maximum of three points in each category. The maximum possible first-round score is 15 points. The categories are: (1) Community Impact Reach; (2) Community Impact Size; (3) Equity Leadership; (4) Leadership Experience; and (5) Sustainability.

Round Two Notification: Late February 2023

Applicants are notified if they have advanced to round two. Those selected to apply for round two will be asked to submit a full grant application by March 24, 2023.

Round Two Full Applications Due: Late March 2023

All applications will be due late March 2023. Exact date TBD.

Preliminary Notification to Applicants: Spring 2023

Applicants are notified that they have been chosen for the SEED Grant. This is a preliminary notification because all selected applicants must be approved by Portland City Council.

SEED Coordinator Presents Finalists to City Council: Spring 2023

The Cannabis Program’s SEED Coordinator will present to City Council, requesting grant funds be awarded to selected finalists. After presentation, the Council will vote to approve grants.

Public Announcement of 2023 SEED Grant Awards: Spring 2023

After the City Council approves the grantees, Civic Life’s Cannabis Program will publicly announce all SEED Grant recipients.

Fiscal Agents and Sponsors

The City of Portland requires that grantees have a business bank account and adequate insurance. If your organization does not have these two requirements, you will need to apply for the SEED Grant with a fiscal agent or sponsor.

What type of insurance is required by the City? This answer depends on the nature of your project. If you are unsure as to if your insurance will cover your project, please contact the SEED Coordinator.

Does my group need a fiscal agent or sponsor? Your organization will need a fiscal agent or sponsor if you do not have a business bank account and adequate insurance. If you are unsure if you need a fiscal agent or sponsor, contact the SEED Initiatives Coordinator. If necessary, they can help provide information regarding fiscal agents.

Who can be a fiscal agent or sponsor? Any organization or business that has the following:

  • A business bank account.
  • Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation, automobile).
  • The ability to make purchases up-front, with the understanding that reimbursement will come 30 days after the City receives an invoice.

What does a fiscal agent or sponsor do? The fiscal agent or sponsor for a SEED Grant will participate in the initial contracting process by reviewing and signing the grant agreement.

The fiscal agent will pay for project expenses up front and be responsible for saving receipts, tracking expenses, and sending invoices to the SEED Initiatives Coordinator for reimbursement. You can be reimbursed for expenses throughout the grant’s cycle. You do not need to spend the full amount before getting reimbursed. Reimbursement plans will be specific to individual grants.

The exact division of tasks between the grantee and fiscal agent should be agreed upon after reviewing the grant agreement template and acknowledging a mutual understanding of each other’s responsibilities.

Do fiscal agents receive compensation? Some organizations are willing to act as fiscal agents at no charge. Other organizations charge a percentage of the grant to cover administrative costs. Be clear about your arrangements from the beginning and be sure to factor this into your budget.

Approval and Payment of Grants

Terms and Conditions

Grant recipients will receive a grant agreement that sets out the terms and conditions of the funding. This will confirm understanding of the project and the maximum grant amount to which the applicant is entitled.

Grantees are required to provide adequate insurance documentation before a contract can be fully authorized.

Reporting Requirements

Recipients are expected to submit invoices every three months throughout their grant terms. Recipients will be required to complete a short progress report every six months. Recipients will also be required to submit a final report detailing the project’s performance.

Payment

Funds are available after your grant agreement with the City is finalized (signed by all parties). The SEED Grant is a reimbursement grant. This means that you will be compensated for your project expenses after submitting an invoice and receipts for approved budget items to the SEED Initiatives Coordinator. Grant recipients will enter negotiations with the SEED Initiatives Coordinator to discuss the reporting and invoice frequency. Up to 25% grant fund advancement is possible after completing a grant agreement with SEED Initiatives.

Grants are awarded on an annual basis and the funds must be spent within two years from the date the grant was awarded. All project components must be completed before you are able to apply for another grant cycle.

Contact

We are available to help! We can work with your organization to brainstorm project ideas, aid with preparing your project proposal, and connect you to important resources.

Akil Patterson
SEED Initiatives Coordinator | Cannabis Program
SEED@PortlandOregon.gov