What is the Small Grants Program? What is the purpose of the program?

The Small Grants Program is the City of Rohnert Park Foundation’s community grant making program. The purpose of the Small Grants Program is to encourage organizations to do projects that benefit or improve the Rohnert Park community. Funding of the program comes from the non-guaranteed “Community Investment” contributions outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding by and between the City of Rohnert Park and the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

What will you fund? What will you not fund?

The Foundation hopes to fund a diversity of projects that contribute to the making of our Rohnert Park Community a safe, enjoyable place to live, work, and play. Funding can be used to support a wide variety of activities in the spirit of benefitting or improving the Rohnert Park community, including one-time projects, services, and events. The evaluation committee will favorably view Small Grant proposals that propose efficient uses of the award toward a project’s materials, supplies, and direct services.

General exclusions:

  • Grants for support to individuals
  • Grants to cover past operating debts or debt retirement
  • Testimonial dinners or advertising
  • Political organizations or campaigns
  • Capital campaigns
  • Endowments

How much can we apply for?

The maximum grant award is $5,000. Up to $100,000 of awards may be granted in this cycle of funding. The amount of grant award will be determined in part by an applicant’s justification for the amount of the request.

Who can apply?

Any organization that can execute a contract with the City of Rohnert Park Foundation is eligible to apply. Grants will be provided through a contract which will outline conditions including the reporting of activities and the accounting of funds for the Foundation’s requirements.

How will grants be selected?

Applications will be reviewed, evaluated, and ranked by an internal staff committee. The committee will recommend projects to the Executive Director, who will then make recommendations to the Foundation Board. The Board will make final decisions on which grants will be awarded. Grant contracts will be offered to awardees in the calendar year of 2020 (after January 1, 2020).

Will other grant cycles be offered? When?

If the Foundation continues to receive regular Community Investment contributions from the MOU, the Foundation Board will have the opportunity to decide on whether or not it will continue this program.

Can an organization receive more than one grant?

No. An organization can only receive one grant per grant cycle.

Why must the project activity be completed by December 31, 2020 for Grant Cycle 2?

The Foundation appropriated funds for Year Two in its 2019/2020 Annual Budget. Due to the non-guaranteed nature of the source of these funds, the Foundation intends to limit Cycle 2 funding to one calendar year.

Can we apply for on-going funding?

Yes, in certain instances. An organization funded in the previous cycle of the Small Grants Program can apply for a different one-time projects each year. However, an organization that has been successfully funded for a service or event must wait at least one year before being reconsidered for funding of the same service or event. The reason for this condition is that the source of the Small Grants Funding is not guaranteed annually, and the Foundation does not want to encourage operational reliance on this program.

Our organization is financially administered through a fiscal agent. Is that allowed?

Yes. If an organization’s project is selected, a grant contract can be established through a fiscal agent organization. Keep in mind that by signing the grant contract, the fiscal agent agrees to comply with the contractual terms including fiscal reporting, records retention, and the final reporting schedule.

What does it mean to explain a project’s accessibility?

In general, Small Grants projects are intended to be available to as many members of the Rohnert Park community as possible. However, the reality of most projects is they target certain groups (e.g., student conferences), are located in non-public areas (e.g., on a school campus, or in a building that normally limits access to business hours), or have some other natural restrictions (e.g., are performed in a protected habitat). For this program, the Foundation seeks to understand how accessible your program is to the general public in the context of selecting a diverse portfolio of awards that best benefit the interests and character of the Rohnert Park community.

What does it mean to explain a project’s approval?

The evaluation committee seeks to understand the feasibility of a proposed project. Projects that demonstrate that they have secured the proper permissions and any partnerships needed to conduct the project will be scored favorably. For example, if an applicant proposes to install a park bench, the proposal should describe how the organization has or will secure permission from the park’s operator. As part of the evaluation process, the committee may reach out to the partners needed to conduct to the project in order to confirm that the project has the permission to proceed, if funded.

Can an organization request a product donation or gift card instead of a grant through the Small Grants Program?

No. Only financial grants are available through the Small Grants Program.

How will I know if we have been selected to receive a grant from this program?

The Foundation will communicate with the person identified as the Primary Contact Person in the organization’s grant application.

If selected for funding, how do I receive my grant check?

If approved, the awardee will meet with Foundation staff to develop the grant conditions for the contract. In general, grant conditions involve financial documentation of moneys spent (receipts) and the submission of an end-of-grant report and project completion photos. Subsequently, a contract package will be delivered directly to the recipient organization at the address listed in the grant application. A check will be delivered after the contract is fully executed.

Who can I contact if I have questions about the status of the grant?

Please email your questions to Elizabeth Machado, Office Assistant: emachado@rpcity.org