Previous Cycle: 2019 CZI Community Fund
At the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, we believe the people most impacted by the challenges their communities face should lead the development of solutions, and that our mission should begin close to home. The third round of the CZI Community Fund supports local organizations to address fundamental needs identified by the community. The CZI Community Fund will focus on organizations providing services and support to the communities of Belle Haven, East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks, and Redwood City.
If you have additional questions about the CZI Community Fund proposal process, please email us at email@example.com.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is proud to call the Bay Area home. Our Community team builds partnerships to support the work of local leaders and organizations that are addressing the community’s most critical needs and building a better future for all.
Launched in 2017, the CZI Community Fund supports Bay Area organizations to address basic and urgent needs identified by local communities, including education, food security, housing, homelessness, immigration, transportation, workforce development, healthcare, mental health, and more. Learn more about previous CZI Community Fund grantees here.
The 2020 CZI Community Fund will prioritize organizations supporting the communities of Belle Haven, East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks, and Redwood City.
The 2020 CZI Community Fund request for applications (RFA) opens on August 13, 2019, at 10 a.m. PT, and closes on September 12, 2019, at 4 p.m. PT. Selected organizations will receive a one-time unrestricted or project grant ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.
All proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
Response to Community Needs: Preference will be given to organizations working to support systems and services that address the needs of individuals and families in the San Francisco Bay Area communities of Belle Haven, East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks, and Redwood City.
Community Engagement: Preference will be given to organizations that (1) intentionally and authentically engage with the communities they serve in the development of their strategies and solutions, and (2) demonstrate a long-term commitment and connection to the communities they serve.
Intended Impact(s): Preference will be given to organizations that (1) demonstrate a clear understanding of the problem(s) they are trying to solve; (2) clearly outline their approach to solving the problem(s); (3) define what short-, medium- and long-term success looks like; and (4) identify potential challenges and pitfalls.
Organization/Project Leadership and Staff: Preference will be given to organizations whose leadership and staff (1) have deep experience in the communities of Belle Haven, East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks, and/or Redwood City; and (2) reflect the rich diversity and stories of the communities they serve.
Collaboration: Preference will be given to organizations that demonstrate a collaborative spirit through (1) an awareness of available overlapping and complementary efforts and services; (2) a desire to partner to increase impact, where appropriate; and (3) an understanding of local community context and the desire and ability to leverage existing community relationships and/or build new ones.
Fiscal Responsibility and Sustainability: Preference will be given to organizations that can effectively receive and responsibly spend grant dollars, as demonstrated by (1) a clear budget narrative that articulates how grant dollars will be used, (2) a plan for financial sustainability beyond the CZI Community Fund grant cycle, and (3) documentation.
Organizations interested in funding through the CZI Community Fund must meet the following eligibility requirements:
Tax status: Organizations must be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; have a valid fiscal agent or sponsor that is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; or be a local municipality or government agency. Valid documentation must be submitted with your proposal by the proposal deadline on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 4 p.m. PT.
Organization Budget: Organizations or fiscally sponsored projects must have an operational budget of at least $100,000. Given the short-term nature of the CZI Community Fund grants, CZI will not fund more than 25% of your full organization budget.
Availability for a Face-to-Face Meeting: Organizations that move beyond the internal review process must be willing and available to participate in a site visit or video conference meeting with CZI staff between October/November 2019.
Process & Timeline
Applications can be submitted online at chanzuckerberg.com or through a printed application mailed to a PO Box. All proposals must be completed and submitted no later than Thursday, September 12, 2019, at 4 p.m. PT. Paper Applications need to be postmarked no later than September 12, 2019.
Please mail applications to:
ATTN: Community Fund / Community Team
PO Box 8040
Redwood City, CA 94063
All applications will be reviewed by CZI staff and evaluated based on the eligibility requirements and fund criteria. Recipients will be notified in January 2020. All grants will have a grant period of January 2020 – December 2020.
Office Hours & Technical Assistance
CZI will conduct in-person and virtual office hours and technical assistance before and during the application period. If you would like to participate in office hours, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Office Hours.”
All submitted applications will be kept confidential, except as necessary for evaluation or to comply with any applicable laws. All applications submitted through the shared portal will be shared internally with a team of reviewers including CZI employees, consultants, and outside subject matter experts, selected at the sole discretion of CZI. CZI will also aggregate and anonymize data and learnings from the RFA to inform future program development, which may be shared externally. Application materials will not be returned to applicants.
From time to time, our external partners ask for information about Community Fund applicants. You will have the option to “opt-in” to sharing your application in the SurveyMonkey Apply portal.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What if I already have a grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative? Can I still submit a proposal to CZI Community Fund?
Yes! We encourage all current and past local grantees to consider submitting a proposal. To be eligible, any current grants from the CZI must end by December 31, 2019. Note: If you have a grant from the CZI that is less than $20,000, you do not need to meet this requirement.
Q: Can local school districts or their foundations apply for funding through the community fund?
CZI supports our local school districts in various ways, however, does not support them through the CZI Community Fund. Please reach out to email@example.com if you have questions.
Special Note for 2019 (current) CZI Community Fund Grant Recipients: If you are a current CZI Community Fund grant recipient and receive a grant through the second round of the CZI Community Fund, we will release the 2020 payment after we receive the final report and a budget for your 2019 grant. Please reach out to your CZI grant contact for more details.
Q: Can communities outside of Belle Haven, East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks, and/or Redwood City apply?
This CZI Community Fund request for application (RFA) is available only to organizations serving the communities of Belle Haven, East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks, and/or Redwood City.
Q: Am I able to save my application on SurveyMonkey Apply and return to it at a later date?
SurveyMonkey Apply will allow you to safely save and resume your proposal and upload your budget documents anytime before the proposal deadline. You will also be able to check the status of your proposal once it has been successfully submitted. Due to anticipated high volume, we will not be able to follow up on incomplete or inaccurate information. Please be sure that your proposal is complete prior to submission.
Upon submission of your proposal, you will receive an email confirming receipt. Please let us know if you did not get a confirmation email by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Missing Email Confirmation.”
To download a PDF of the full proposal guidelines, click here.
Q: Can my organization submit a paper application for the CZI Community Fund?
Yes! If you prefer to submit a paper application, please download the paper application guidelines.
Q: Why are CZI Community Fund grants limited to one year?
The CZI Community Fund is designed to be responsive to the evolving needs of the local community. One-year grants allow us to provide meaningful support to local organizations while keeping the fund nimble to support the most pressing needs of the organizations working to address those needs. For that reason, the CZI Community Fund does not consider current or past relationships when selecting CZI Community Fund grantees.
Q: How will CZI decide between making unrestricted and project grants?
We recognize organizations need core support to carry out their missions. We also believe organization leaders and staff have a much better understanding of how to allocate funds across their organization than we do. For that reason, the majority of grants from the CZI Community Fund will be for unrestricted, general support.
We do anticipate a few instances where project support — funding restricted to specific activities — will be more appropriate. Examples include:
- A national organization that works in the specific communities we support through the CZI Community Fund
- Organizations that offer a broad array of activities and services that fall beyond the scope of the CZI Community Fund
- Upon specific request of the organization
CZI will review applications individually and make these specific funding decisions on a case-by-case basis. Any organization that receives a project grant will have the opportunity to discuss it with CZI staff.
Q: Why does my organization need to have a minimum operating budget of $100,000?
CZI Community Fund grants are aimed at supplementing the work of organizations that are already established in our local communities. Organizations with an operating budget of at least $100,000 can absorb CZI Community Fund grants ($25,000 – $100,000) and put them to work quickly to respond to community needs.
Q: What are the budget guidelines? What documentation do I need to submit?
Most of the grants supported through the community fund will be one-year general support grants. To make decisions about financial sustainability, we ask the following:
- A clear Budget Narrative on how your organization plans to use the grant.
- A full list of current Board Members. This list should include: names, professional affiliations, board positions, and years of service.
- Your organization’s Financial Summary for your current fiscal year. This summary should consist of income, expenses, and the names of your top three funding sources.
- Your organization’s Balance Sheet Summary. This summary should include details about assets and liabilities from your most current fiscal year and the prior year close.
We do not require a specific format for these documents, however, if you need a template, please contact us directly at email@example.com. Please include “Budget Template Request” in the subject line.
Q: Why has CZI incorporated site visits into the RFA process?
CZI staff connect with finalists face-to-face or via video conference to deepen our understanding of each organization’s work, build relationships with the organizations’ teams, and get a better understanding of how our organizations can work together to achieve shared goals.
Q: What can’t CZI Community Fund grants be used for?
CZI Community Fund grants cannot be used to fund or support a number of organizational expenses or projects, including:
- Lobbying or contributions to political candidates
- Individuals, or direct support of an individual, including scholarships
- Event sponsorships
- Debt retirement or budget deficits
- Academic or medical research
- Organizations that already have general operating support or sponsored project support from CZI beyond December 31, 2019
Q: Is the CZI Community Fund the only funding available to community organizations in the Bay Area?
While the CZI Community Fund is currently our only open RFA for community organizations in the Bay Area, it is just one component of CZI’s broader commitment to the Bay Area. Our Community team builds partnerships to support the work of local leaders and organizations that are tackling the region’s most pressing challenges. In addition to the work of the Community team, our three core initiatives are also deeply engaged in work in the Bay Area.
Q: How often will you open the CZI Community Fund for grant proposals in the Bay Area?
We expect to hold an open proposal period for the CZI Community Fund RFA once per year, and will continue to evaluate what cadence is most effective to address emerging needs. In addition, we will continue to engage community members to ensure that the CZI Community Fund represents the evolving needs of our local communities, and to ensure that organizations continue to be made aware of, and have access to, this funding opportunity as it is announced.
Q: How do I give feedback on the application process?
Once you have completed the application you will receive a confirmation email that will include a link to an experience survey. We welcome your feedback on the application process and experience.
If you choose to complete a paper application, we will send a self-addressed pre-stamped envelope to the return address with a feedback form.
If you have additional questions about the CZI Community Fund proposal process, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.