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Competitive Grant Program

Along with the grantmaking that is done through donor funds and scholarships (see my February and March blogs), the Sonora Area Foundation, in conjunction with The Symons Family Fund and the Irving J. Symons Foundation for Tuolumne County (both supporting organizations of the Sonora Area Foundation), annually budgets for the competitive grant program. To be considered for a grant, an applicant must be:

  • A non-profit organization with tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, and not classified as a private foundation. Such an organization must be primarily serving Tuolumne County residents, or;
  • A public sector entity or unit of government primarily serving Tuolumne County residents, and;
  • Non discriminatory in the hiring of staff or provision of services on the basis of race, national origin, gender, marital status, age, religious beliefs, or disability.

If an informal association, community group or collaborative seeks funding, it must do so through an eligible lead organization with which it has a working relationship and/or memo of understanding; that is, a “fiscal sponsor.”
The Foundation awards grants in these primary areas of interest: human services; education; arts/culture/humanities; health; public/society benefit; and, environment/animals. In each category we favor:

  • Projects that respond to challenges facing county residents and propose realistic and significant impact;
  • Applicants who work in collaboration with other community organizations;
  • Projects that include funds from other sources to be used in conjunction with those proposed from the Foundation;
  • Projects that feature active involvement of participants in designing and implementing approaches to overcome challenges;
  • Organizations that give strong evidence of community support;
  • Applicants who propose ways to sustain future program efforts.

Note that the Foundation’s Board of Directors reviews grant applications at its scheduled Board meetings (usually the fourth Tuesday) in February, April, June, August, October, December. Applications are due at the Foundation office by the end of the month preceding these Board Meetings.

To learn more about the Sonora Area Foundation’s competitive grantmaking program and how to apply, take a look at our website On the left side of the home page, click on the tab that says “Grant Making” and you will find what you need to get started. As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at the Foundation office.