Memorial Day closure

Most City of Portland offices will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day.

Small Grants Application is Closed

Small Grants & Sponsorship Opportunity Opens Sept 25. Sometimes great ideas need a little bit of help to become real
The Small Grants & Sponsorship Program applications window has closed.
On this page

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 organizations that have an annual operating budget under $300,000, and are focused on community-based work in the East, North, and Southwest neighborhood districts. Requested amounts may range from $3,000 to $4,900.

Civic Life is committed to making the Small Grants & Sponsorship Program materials 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 by October 18.


This Small Grants & Sponsorship Program serves the North, East and Southwest neighborhood districts. Find information about funding available in other Portland neighborhood districts at the following District Office websites: Southeast Uplift, Central Northeast Neighbors, Neighbors West Northwest, and Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods.

Applications open: September 25, 2023

Applications close: November 7, 2023 at 11:59 pm

Grantees Announced by December 12, 2023

Attend a grant information session to learn more. 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

Small Grants & Sponsorship Presentation


The Small Grants & Sponsorship Program funds events, activities, and projects that strengthen community, build inclusion, and support engagement with City government. There are two types of awards this cycle:

  1. Small Grants
  2. Sponsorships

Funds will be eligible for reimbursement of programming expenses occurring between September 1, 2023 and September 1, 2024. Priority is given to 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. 

Important Note: Applications become part of the public record. This means that any member of the public may request to see contact information you provide, such as names, addresses, phone numbers or email.

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 in the previous grant cycle, you are ineligible to receive an award the following year for the same programming from the same neighborhood district office. If you have misused funding in any previous grant cycle, you are not eligible to receive funding,
  2. Yearly Budget Limits: Organizations with annual operating budgets over $300,000 are ineligible.
  3. Organizational Structure: 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor with that status is needed for applicants in the North neighborhood district.
  4. Grant Period: Funding must be used for programming that begins on or after September 1, 2023 and completes by September 1, 2024.
  5. Geographic Focus: Funding is available for programming that involves and benefits Portlanders in the East, North and Southwest neighborhood districts. View neighborhood district boundary maps using the links below.

East District Boundaries and Neighborhoods

North District Boundaries and Neighborhoods

Southwest District Boundaries and Neighborhoods

Allowable Costs

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
  • Project administrative costs related to the general organization operations during time of programming. Up to 10% of the budget may be allocated to admin costs.

Unallowable Costs

Requested funds may not be used for:

  • Costs the applicant may incur in preparing the application. For example a grant writer.
  • Ongoing operations
  • Outgoing grants, loans or debt
  • Retirement
  • Fund drives
  • Emergency funding or capital projects
  • Fixed assets. For example, equipment the organization will keep.
  • Costs accrued solely to promote or advance the awardee’s business or organization
  • Some political activities. For example, activities to promote a specific candidate.
  • Purchase of cannabis or alcoholic beverages

Check with the neighborhood district staff 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.

Additional Information, Contacts, and Timeline

Sponsorships and Small Grants

Sponsorship funding is available for events or short series of events such as community celebrations, trainings, workshops or another category of limited event and their associated costs.

Small Grant funding is available for ongoing projects or programming that takes place over a longer period and requires insurance coverage. This type of proposal may incorporate events as well as other programming.

Insurance Requirements for Small Grants

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.

Applicants should research costs associated with the following insurance limits that an organization will likely be required to purchase if they do not already have.

  • 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. This insurance is 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 fund programming that is typically lower risk and does not require the level of insurance coverage that a Small Grant may require.

Sponsorships may fund 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 that includes 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.

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, Civic Life may be able to help.

Past Small Grants & Sponsorship Recipients

Learn more about the Small Grants & Sponsorship funding and past grantees here.

Contact Information

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