The Grant Sage: Tips, insider info and more

NPRN Message: Welcome to The Grant Sage

In an effort to continue to provide our members with valuable information related to the nonprofit sector, we continue to create space for professionals and colleagues to share their knowledge, experience and wisdom.

For the next few months Sheba Laser Lux (@shebalux on NPRN) will be offering grant-writing tips, notifications of upcoming grant opportunities, as well as insider information from local funders. Please feel free to ask questions by posting a response to this blog or message Sheba directly here.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


The Grant Sage

by Sheba Laser Lux, Owner, GrantSage

Santa Barbara’s 264 grant-making foundations hold more than two billion dollars in assets. Despite the huge availability of funding in this county, there is fierce competition for grants. By avoiding shortcuts in your grant strategy, you can increase the chance that your submissions will get funded:

  •               ‘Cold’ grant requests have a low probability of getting funded.  If you have not been in contact with a potential funder, don’t waste your time, or your money, applying for (or paying a grant writer to apply for) a grant.
  •               Check each funder’s website for updated information prior to every submission.  If there’s no website, Guidestar ( provides free access to pertinent foundation information.  Foundation Directory Online ( and Foundation Search America ( are both excellent on-line resources for locating funders and determining their giving priorities — well worth fitting into your budget, if possible.
  •               IF a grant request is denied – ALWAYS call the funder to discuss reasoning for the denial.  Was the grant not well-presented?  Was the topic off-priority? One phone call can provide critical feedback and insight, as funders are often willing to help hone program presentation and guide future submissions.
  •               Submit a final report within twelve months of receiving grant funding – even if a funder has no reporting requirements. Knowing that funds were well spent provides funders with incentive for additional years of funding.
  •               Grant reports should be utilized internally, as well. Distribute them to board members and program directors so they can speak to requests if contacted by potential funders.
  •               Evaluation, evaluation, evaluation.  Savvy funders want to know the true impact of their funding, and whether or not your organization is making programming decisions based on actual outcomes. Evaluation has become a primary requirement of grant funding.

Upcoming Grant Opportunities You Won’t Want to Miss

Santa Barbara Foundation

Capital Grant Funding – Intended to support capital fundraising campaigns or plans to raise a significant amount of funds over a specified period of time, or to meet the expanding infrastructure needs of an organization. Specific projects may include construction of new buildings, renovation or expansion of existing buildings, purchase of a building or land, or site improvements. A Capital Grant may be used to get projects off the ground or serve as an endorsement for the larger Capital Campaign. (See Insider Information for notes from interview with SB Foundation below.)

July 13 – Application Due

Wood-Claeyssens Foundation

Applications and LOIs are accepted on an invitation-only basis. To request access to apply, organizations must send an email to with the applicant name and the type of grant request the organization would like to submit. The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation will review the request and respond with instructions. (See Locals Notes for funding update)

June 30 – Application Due

Just Around the Corner

Hutton Parker Foundation

Fall Cycle: Designated for children, youth & families, civic & community and education organizations.

August 1st — LOI Due

Locals Notes

From the Wood-Claeyssens website: The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation will be reducing the amount of grant funds awarded to applicants for the 2015-2016 grant cycle. The Foundation relies on income from an oil and gas property to provide funds to support its grant program; as the price of oil has declined significantly in the last year, the amount of funds available for grants has been adversely impacted. The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation urges non-profits in their budgeting process to not rely on grants to be similar to prior years of funding.

Insider Information

If you are considering applying for the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Capital Grant, please take into account the following notes from an interview with Community Investment Officers Sharyn Main and Rubayi Estes, pertaining to this grant opportunity:

Regarding enhancement of infrastructure, is this specific to physical infrastructure?

“Yes, the intended use of the grant funding is bricks and mortar.  This funding is not for enhancing programming – it’s for broad fundraising efforts with the end goal of physical improvements.”

In terms of demonstrating the feasibility of the project and community acceptability – can you be a little more specific?

“We would expect that there would be some vetting, at least in the early stages, to determine if the community needs or wants this, and if their donor base supports this.”

“As in any capital campaign, a feasibility study of some sort must be completed.”

“Since the maximum grant amount is $25K, we will obviously be a very small part of the overall capital campaign – but we can be a seal of approval and lend our name, in terms of the validity of the project, to other potential funders.”

“This funding is intended for large capital campaigns — not for capital projects.”

Do you have any idea how many requests you might receive versus how many you will fund, based on past experience?

“No.  We do know, based on calls we’re getting, there’s huge diversity in the types of organizations that will be applying.”

Thanks to Sharon and Rubayi for taking the time to clarify the information presented on the Santa Barbara Foundation website.

Please feel free to submit grant-related questions, requests for upcoming topics, or information to share to:

One thought on “The Grant Sage: Tips, insider info and more

  1. Pingback: The Grant Sage: Funders Outside of Santa Barbara County | Nonprofit Resource Network

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