Guidelines & Eligibility

  • Grants are open to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations (including universities, colleges, and charter and private schools), public K-12 schools, and public agencies serving residents of Monterey, Santa Cruz, or San Benito Counties.
  • All requested funds must directly benefit residents of Monterey, Santa Cruz, or San Benito Counties.
  • All applicants should be current on reporting obligations for any past grants.
  • Only one grant per applicant will be considered annually, while exceptions are considered in response to an emergency or for a one-time significant, community-wide benefit.

While we accept grant applications throughout the year, we ask that grant applications be submitted by the following dates:

  • January 1 for review by the Grant Committee in March
  • April 1 for review in June
  • *July 13, 2018 for review in September 2018
  • October 1 for review in December

Only completed grant applications from eligible organizations will be considered for funding. Applicants should make every effort to ensure their application includes all financial, budget, and other attachments required in our online application process. If an application is received incomplete, it may delay the review to a later date.

While we will make every effort to include your proposal in the quarter in which you apply, we cannot guarantee we will be able to do so. We will work to keep you informed of the process and how it impacts your review.

Grant funds will not be considered for the following:

  • Activities that solely promote a religious doctrine
  • Academic research
  • Creation of, or addition to, an endowment fund
  • Expenses incurred before the grant award date
  • Fundraising campaigns or events
  • Organizations classified as private foundations
  • Organizations that discriminate in its employment practices, volunteer opportunities or delivery of programs and services on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other characteristics protected by law
  • Organizations that do not have 100% board financial giving (except for public K-12 schools and public agencies)
  • Organizations that have been in operation less than three years
  • Payment of debt or legal settlements
  • Political or partisan purposes
  • Staff salaries for school or public agency employees

The following guidelines (updated June 2018) explain our current requirements.

  • Organizations requesting more than $25,000 are required to submit a financial review completed by a third party for the most recently completed fiscal year. However, a full audit is encouraged.
  • Organizations requesting more than $75,000 are required to submit a full financial audit.
  • Groups or programs under a fiscal agent should contact Mary Shipsey Gunn at or 831.649.1533 before applying.
  • Public agencies are recommended to contact Mary Shipsey Gunn at or 831.649.1533, before applying.
  • Individual public K-12 schools are limited to requesting no more than $30,000 per year. Only public K-12 schools may use the Public K-12 School grant application. Use of incorrect application may result in the delay of review. See guidelines for school districts, charter schools, and private schools below.
  • School districts are limited to requesting no more than $400,000 per year for projects critical to a district-wide strategy. Monterey Peninsula Foundation may ask the district to take a year or two off from application after a significant grant has been committed. School districts must apply using the general grant application, and are subject to the same requirements as nonprofit organizations.
  • Charter schools and private schools must have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and apply using the general grant application, and are subject to the same requirements as nonprofit organizations.
  • For high schools or 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups (i.e. PTA, Booster Club) requesting funds for sober grad events, a grant application is no longer required – visit Sponsorships for details.
  • Requests for technology will be considered with preference given to requests containing: a plan to sustain upgrades/maintenance from a variety of strong funding sources.
  • Requests for scholarships are considered by invitation only.
  • Exceptions may be made to the above exclusions in response to an emergency, or for a one-time significant, community-wide benefit.

Organizations should be aware that there are many components of determining grant size. If your organization has been historically limited by an audit requirement, please contact Mary Gunn, Director of Philanthropy at or 831.649.1533 to discuss the size of your next request. Please note that this change does not imply that funding will increase.

We believe that ongoing support is a critical element of community grantmaking. At the same time, expectations of similar funding each year can create dependency and limit the development of diverse funding streams. We may begin to ask organizations that have received more than five years of consistent support to take a break from funding for a one year period. Whenever possible, the break will take place after a multi-year award, providing advance notice for planning and to generate other support. We hope that this tool will help build resiliency and strength for our nonprofit partners.

In general, grants are awarded for a one-year period. Grantees will have 10 months to spend funds and submit a grant report, to help them stay on the same funding schedule each year.

We make every effort to minimize burden on applicants/grantees and considers funding up to three years for organizations that qualify. Multi-year support is considered on a case-by-case basis. We consider a variety of factors to determine the term of the award, including good standing with recent grants awarded, reducing burden, organizational capacity, and more. Public K-12 schools and public agencies are not eligible for multi-year support.

One year grants are typically awarded a period of 10 months, and two or three year grants are awarded on a period of 20 or 30 months, respectively. Regardless of the term of the award, applicants are expected to remain in the application schedule of their last award. For instance a 2-year grant awarded in June will have the final report due in January — but will not be eligible to apply until April after their final report has been received. Please contact us to confirm your eligibility date if you have questions about timing.

For questions about multi-year support, please contact or 831.649.1533.

Need Assistance?

Application Process

For questions about the Online Portal or the application process, contact:

Breanna Warnars,
Program Associate at or 831.649.1533.


For guidance on whether a request would be eligible for support, contact:

Hana Kong,
Program Officer at or 831.649.1533.

Community Initiatives

For questions regarding giving strategies or community initiatives, contact:

Mary Gunn,
Director of Philanthropy at or 831.649.1533.

For resources on grant writing and other trainings, visit the Community Foundation for Monterey County’s Center for Nonprofit Excellence.