Long dock extending out over the water at dusk

Each year, we make grants to organizations providing services benefiting Whidbey Island. There are several different types of grants your organization could apply for, all of which are listed below.

Annual Grant Cycle

Each year, Whidbey Community Foundation awards grants through an annual grant cycle. Awards are granted to organizations providing services that support Whidbey Island. The Annual Grant Cycle is supported by multiple funds including our Foundation Fund, field-of-interest funds, and donor-advised funds. In order to respond to the community’s specific needs, distributions from the funds are pooled and aligned directly with the Annual Grant Cycle’s categories.

Our ongoing work in grantmaking, asset development, and community leadership is focused on supporting organizations that meet the needs of our community and work toward creating lasting positive change.

Our Categories

The mission of Whidbey Community Foundation is to improve the quality of life for those who call Whidbey Island home, and into the future. We support a wide variety of activities including but not limited to:

  • Animal Welfare
  • Arts and Culture
  • Business/Economy
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Historical Preservation
  • Housing
  • Human Services
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Service/Civic
  • Youth

This approach allows us to meet a broad spectrum of needs while also following Whidbey Island’s changing demands. As we continue to grow and learn from our Annual Grant Cycle, and as donors contribute funding for specific purposes, we will adapt and shape our funding categories.

2023 Annual Grant Cycle – May 1, 2023 to September 8, 2023

This year, our Board of Directors has prioritized four distinct Grant Areas for funding: K-12 Education, Human Services, and Arts & Culture. Additionally, WCF recognizes the needs of our community extend broadly; we are also opening a 4th Open Area this year to any charitable organization serving Whidbey Island. K-12 Education Area, Human Services Area, and Arts & Culture Area applications will be considered for up to $10,000; Open Area applications will be considered for up to $5,000.

Please note: Organizations can ONLY apply for one category in our Annual Grant Cycle.

Grant Area Descriptions:

Arts & Culture Area

For grants up to $10,000. Grants in the Arts & Culture focus area include but are not limited to:

  1. Organizations and programs that provide access to arts and culture for our communities on Whidbey Island.
  2. Organizations supporting Whidbey’s creative economy through visual and performing arts.

K-12 Education Area

For grants up to $10,000. Education grants focus on supporting students to ensure they receive educational opportunities to enhance the course of their lives and careers. Grants in the K-12 Education focus area include but are not limited to:

  • Reading Programs
  • Enrichment Activities
  • Curriculum
  • Student Support
  • Teacher Professional Development

Human Services Area

For grants up to $10,000. Human Services grants focus on ensuring Whidbey Island residents have access to vital social and human services. Human Services organizations provide critical services. Grants in the Human Services focus area include but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring children and youth are protected and live in safe homes and neighborhoods so they succeed in school and have strong, nurturing, and economically secure families.
  • Helping older adults maintain a high quality of life.
  • Supporting people with disabilities so they can live their lives fully.
  • Providing workforce supports that help people obtain and retain employment at livable wages.
  • Ensuring quality affordable housing.
  • Promoting improved health outcomes and reduced health care costs.
  • Providing crucial effective mental health and substance abuse services, especially given the current opioid epidemic.

Open Area

For grants up to $5,000. Open Area grants will be available to any organization that operates with a charitable status or for a charitable purpose on Whidbey Island; eligible organizations include those with a 501(c)3 status and certain governmental entities.

Grant Guidelines

Submitting a proposal to the Annual Grant Cycle begins with reviewing your organization’s eligibility and Whidbey Community Foundation’s criteria and priorities to determine if the Foundation aligns with your needs. By submitting a proposal, you give the Foundation permission to share your information with other interested individual donors.

Eligibility to Apply for a Grant

Any organization that operates with a charitable status or for a charitable purpose on Whidbey Island is eligible to apply for a grant; eligible organizations include those with a 501(c)3 status and certain governmental entities. You do not need to have a headquarters or physical presence on Whidbey, so long as services are provided here.

While the Foundation remains flexible in trying to meet community needs, in general, annual grants are not made for or to:

  • Annual campaign appeals
  • Endowments
  • Individuals
  • Political or lobbying activities
  • Private operating foundations
  • For-profit organizations
  • Scholarships
  • Religious organizations for sacramental or theological purposes

Applicants must be in good standing with the Washington Secretary of State and Office of the Attorney General, and be current with all state and federal reporting requirements.

Please note: Organizations can ONLY apply for one area in our Annual Grant Cycle

Criteria and Priorities for Applicants

Applicants must:

  • Clearly and specifically aligned with one of the Foundation’s priority areas.
  • Have clearly defined organizational goals and measurable program outcomes.
  • Applicants must adhere to WCF’s Nondiscrimination Policy.
  • Be aligned with WCF’s values.

Prioritization is given to:

  • Requests from organizations or fiscally sponsored projects that have smaller budgets (including but not limited to organizational budgets of less than $100k per year), and/or access to fewer resources.
  • Organizations with demonstrated commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Scope of Funding

As a short-term funder providing relatively small grants, award sizes will be determined based on rubric score and available funding. Grant awards will range in size from $1,000 to $10,000. A limited number of grants will be awarded at the $10,000 level. The majority of grants will be in the $5,000 range.

Type of Grants

General Operating Support Grants

WCF considers requests for General Operating Support to be awarded as core support or unrestricted grants. Organizations may use operating grants to cover day-to-day activities or ongoing expenses such as administrative salaries, utilities, office supplies, technology maintenance as well as for project costs, capital, technology purchases and professional development.

Program/Project-based Grants

WCF considers requests for Program/Project-based Grants to be awarded as restricted grants. For program/project grants, we require a separate program/project-specific budget to be submitted alongside the organization’s annual budget.


All eligible grant applications are reviewed by WCF’s volunteer Grants Committee which is made up of community members across the island, including some WCF Board Members.

Reporting and Learning

Grant periods will run for 1 year. We will ask all grantees to send a brief report (1 – 2 paragraphs) at the end of the grant period explaining the result of your grant from Whidbey Community Foundation.  We are especially interested in hearing about:

  • The use of the funds – what the grant money was able to pay for
  • Specific challenges or unexpected changes
  • Specific successes
  • If available, a picture of your grant and/or the organization (digital format) that we could use in future publicity about Whidbey Community Foundation grants, in order to help us promote your work and raise even more funds to support nonprofits and charitable causes on Whidbey Island.
  • Additionally, WCF will follow up with your organization via email and/or phone halfway through the grant term to understand progress to-date, and any stories to share with our broader Island network.
  • Finally, we will ask all grantees within each priority area to attend a debrief session toward the middle of the grant period (over Zoom or in-person, to be determined). Our hope is that this will serve as a learning cohort. We will bring together grant partners as requested to learn, support, and share information.


  • May 1, 2023: Application Opens
  • May 16, 2023: Informational Webinar – RSVP HERE
  • September 8, 2023, at 5pm PST: Application Deadline
  • October 19, 2023: Grant Notification
  • November 1, 2023: Grant Start Date (for awardees)
  • December 8, 2023: Annual Grantee Reception for all WCF grantees

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about the grant process, contact WCF at info@whidbeyfoundaiton.org, or call us at 360-660-5041.

As WCF grows through investments and gifts from donors and businesses, we will continue to establish a variety of funds to make financial grants to Whidbey Island nonprofits. Stay up to date on when and how we will solicit proposals and distribute grants! Sign up for our email list at the bottom of the page.

Updated April 2023