The Small Grants & Sponsorship Program funds events, activities, and projects that strengthen community, build inclusion, and support engagement with City government. Funding is available for small organizations and groups that have a yearly operating budget under $300,000 and who are doing community-based work in the East, North, and Southwest district coalition areas. Requested amounts may range from $3,000- $4,900.
Civic Life is committed to making the Small Grants & Sponsorship Program available and accessible to all community members. If you would like a copy of the application and instructions on how to apply in another language, please email NPNS by October 18.
The following information is for the Small Grants & Sponsorship Program for North Portland, East Portland, and Southwest Portland. If you want to find out more about the timelines and guidelines for other areas in Portland, please visit the following District Coalition Office websites: Southeast Uplift, Central Northeast Neighbors, Neighbors West Northwest, and Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods.
Applications open: September 25, 2023
Applications close: November 1, 2023
You are strongly encouraged to attend the grant information session either in-person or virtually to learn more about the application, selection process, and how the funds can be used. CART Captioning (English and Spanish) and ASL will be provided upon request. Call at least 10 days in advance for access accommodations, and/or language interpretation requests at 503-823-5905 or TTY 503-823-6868.
Information Session (Hybrid): October 18, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
In-person at Historic Kenton Firehouse, 8105 N Brandon Ave
Virtual Zoom link - Join the meeting
Application Deadline: November 1, at 11:59 pm
Grantees Announced: By December 12, 2023
Review panel decisions will be communicated via email to all applicants.
The Small Grants & Sponsorship Program funds events, activities, and projects that strengthen community, build inclusion, and support engagement with City government. New this year, the Small Grants program offers two types of awards this cycle:
- Small Grants
Funds will be awarded depending on the types of activities to be conducted. Please see the Additional Information section for a detailed breakdown of grant and sponsorship awards.
Funding is available for this grant cycle to be awarded to small organizations and groups with a yearly operating budget of under $300,000 and who are doing community-based work in the East, North, and Southwest district coalition areas. Requested amounts may range from $3,000- $4,900. Funds will be eligible for reimbursement for programming expenses occurring between September 1, 2023 – September 1, 2024.
Funds will prioritize engagement led by and serving communities historically underrepresented and underserved by the City of Portland such as elders, youth, people with disabilities, houseless people, Black, Indigenous and other People of Color, immigrants and refugees, low-income individuals and families, and LGTBQIA2S+ people. Any group or small organization is encouraged to apply.
Important Note: Your submitted application becomes part of the public record. This means that any member of the public may request to see it and would include any contact information, such as names, addresses, phone numbers or email.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to read this page prior to applying. If you are ready to apply click link below
Requirements, Eligibility and Priorities
Your small grant or sponsorship proposal must meet at least one of our program’s goals:
- Engage the public in community events, projects or activities;
- Strengthen community resilience and safety through programming, relief or logistical efforts that address the needs of impacted, vulnerable communities;
- Increase historically marginalized community members’ participation and impact in government decision making.
(1)Past Awardees: If you received a grant or sponsorship award from your coalition office in the previous award cycle, your group/organization is ineligible to receive an award the following year for that same coalition office. For example, if you were awarded funds from East Portland Community Office (EPCO) in 2021/22 grant cycle, you may not apply for a grant or sponsorship from EPCO in 2022/23. However, your group may apply for funding from SW Community Services in 2022/23 if the event or project meets all other grant or sponsorship requirements and takes place in that district coalition area. Also, if you have misused funding in a previous grant cycle, you are not eligible.
(2) Yearly Budget Limits: The Small Grants & Sponsorships program is aimed at organizations whose operating budget is up to $300,000 per year. If an organization’s budget for the previous fiscal year is over $300,000, they are not eligible for this funding program.
(3) Organizational Structure: Civic Life will only award grants and sponsorships to registered 501(c) 3 nonprofits. If your entity is not registered as such, please seek a fiscal sponsor that is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit.
Don’t have a fiscal sponsor? Not sure what a fiscal sponsor is? Not 100% sure your fiscal sponsor meets our requirements? Contact Civic Life staff at your coalition office with questions.
(4) Grant Period: Projects eligible for a grant or sponsorship award should begin on or after September 1, 2023 and to be completed by September 1, 2024. Programming that has occurred before this date will not be eligible.
(5) Geographic Focus: Small grants and sponsorships will fund events, projects, or programming that involves and benefits Portlanders in the geographic region where funds are awarded – North, East, and Southwest Portland*. You can use this map (or see maps below) to determine which coalition area your project is eligible for. If there is a good reason for the activity to take place outside of your district coalition area (for example, a trip to City Hall), it will be considered.
*If you are located in, or wish to conduct activities in another coalition area, contact that coalition office for more information on their small grants program
East Portland Community Office Boundary Map
North Portland Neighborhood Services Boundary Map
Expenses related to activities, efforts, and materials needed for the execution of the programming or project are generally allowable costs. This may include:
- Supplies needed for programming or projects
- Food for proposed programming or project
- Facilitation or entertainment costs
- Marketing and advertising
- Staff time, stipends or participation incentives for programming or project
- Administrative costs related to the general organization operations during time of programming (up to 10% percent of budget may be admin costs)
Requested funds may not be used for:
- Costs the applicant may incur in preparing the application (grant writer)
- Ongoing operations
- Outgoing grants, loans, debt
- Fund drives
- Emergency funding, and/or capital projects
- Fixed assets (equipment the organization will keep)
- Costs accrued solely to promote or advance the awardee’s business or organization may not be eligible for reimbursement
- Some political activities (for example, activities to promote a specific candidate)
- Purchase of cannabis or alcoholic beverages
Please check with the grant manager if you have questions about a specific item in your proposed budget. If applicable, list any additional funds being sought or used for this project from other sources. Donated services and materials may include an estimated dollar amount of in-kind donations and/or general volunteer hours.
Small Grant & Sponsorship funds will prioritize engagement lead by and serving communities historically underrepresented and underserved by the City of Portland such as elders, youth, people with disabilities, houseless people, Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, immigrants and refugees, low-income individuals and families, and LGTBQIA2S+ people.
Additional Information, Contacts, and Timeline
Sponsorships and Small Grants
Sponsorships are a new category of funding within the Civic Life Small Grants Program. Sponsorship activities include events or short series of events such as community celebrations, trainings, workshops or another category of limited event and their associated costs.
If your project is not limited to an event, it is likely your project proposal is for a Small Grant. This may include ongoing projects or programming that takes place over a longer period and requires more extensive insurance coverage. This type of proposal may incorporate events as well as other programming.
Insurance Requirements for Small Grants
Insurance does not impact a group’s eligibility to apply or chances of being selected. However, if awarded a small grant, organizations shall obtain and maintain, throughout the duration of the grant the required insurance associated with grant activities. Staff can work with you to make sure you know which insurance requirements apply to your grant proposal – see contact information below.
We strongly encourage applicants to research costs associated with the following insurance coverage. Here are the insurance limits that an organization will likely be required to purchase if they do not already have coverage.
- Commercial General Liability: Grantee shall acquire commercial general liability and property damage insurance coverage in an amount not less than $2 million per occurrence. (Required for all grantees) *
- Automobile Liability: Grantee shall acquire automobile liability insurance to cover bodily injury and property damage in an amount not less than $2 million for each accident. (Required only for projects where transportation is provided for participants or organizers) *
- Workers’ Compensation: Grantee shall acquire workers’ compensation coverage in an amount not less than $1 million each accident, $1 million disease each employee, and $1 million disease policy limit. (Required for all organizations with paid employees) *
- Physical Abuse and Sexual Molestation Liability: Coverage shall be written on an occurrence basis in an amount of not less than $1 million per occurrence. Any annual aggregate limit shall not be less than $3 million. (Required for organizations serving or who will have contact with vulnerable clients, such as children, elder adults, and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities) *
Insurance Requirements for Sponsorships
Sponsorships may be given to organizations whose proposed activities are typically lower risk and have been determined to not require the level of insurance coverage that a Small Grant may require.
Sponsorship activities include events or short series of events such as community celebrations, trainings, workshops or another category of event and associated costs which may include:
- Promotional material
- Participant incentives
- Facilitation or production expenses
- Food, rental equipment, event supplies, etc.
If your project is not centered on an event, short series of events such as community celebrations, trainings, workshops or another category of event, it is likely your project proposal is for a Small Grant.
If your project is an event, but is proposed to include what Civic Life views as high risk activities - such as direct interaction with youth, elder adults, or people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, jump houses, events with alcohol or other potentially dangerous activities - you may be required to provide insurance. See insurance requirements for small grants. If you are unsure what category your proposal falls into, or if your activities are high risk, contact Civic Life staff for your coalition area.
Additional Support for Grant Writers
Staff can provide one-on-one grant writing assistance upon request. Time permitting, we are happy to assist, from help designing your project to providing input on your draft grant application. If there are aspects of your project that are new for you, for example, getting required permits, contacting potential sponsors or partners, or finding space for your activities, you are especially encouraged to contact us for input and assistance.
Past Small Grants & Sponsorship Recipients
Civic Life Staff at the three City-run district offices are here to help you understand the small grant and sponsorship process and requirements. Questions? Contact email@example.com