FAQs for Grant Applicants
General Grant Review
In 2024 Impact100 Sonoma will continue to award Impetus Grants of up to $25,000 to provide core mission support for nonprofit organizations serving valley residents. Impetus Grants will be disbursed in May, 2024. We will also introduce a new offering, the Encore Grant, described below.
To celebrate Impact100 Sonoma’s 15th Anniversary, Impact100 Sonoma will pilot a new Encore Grant program. This Encore Grant will be awarded to one Impetus Grant applicant, providing a second consecutive year of funding in the same amount as the Impetus Grant request. This second year of funding will be disbursed in early 2025.
In addition, the Encore Grant recipient will be offered a two-year sponsored membership in Impact100 Sonoma for a woman the recipient selects; more about this in Grant Award Specifics, below.
Each application for an Impetus Grant also offers the opportunity to apply for the Encore Grant; it is not offered separately. Read more about in Grants Overview here.
Through interviews with multiple area nonprofits, Impact100 Sonoma realizes that a second year of funding can provide their organizations with flexibility and known funding options for multi-year projects and mission-related proposals. Benefits of multi-year funding include:
The number of grants awarded depends on how many and how much Impact100 Sonoma members donate in 2024. The total amount of funds available will be announced in January 2024.
One Encore Grant will be awarded, and the balance of funds will be distributed as Impetus Grants. The overall amount of member grant donations will be fully distributed to nonprofits serving Sonoma Valley.
Impact100 Sonoma does not have specific funding priorities. We practice trust-based philanthropy, which means that, rather than asking applicants to conform their requests to priorities we define, we find it more effective to ask them what they need to address a problem, remove a roadblock, or sustain operations. Even though they are not considered unrestricted, our grants are designed to support an organization’s core mission and long-term stability. See our Proposal Expectations here
It is important to note that all applications are also evaluated through an equity lens. Members typically focus on funding to directly or indirectly resolve problems within our community, help the underserved, increase access and equity, or otherwise contribute to our vision of a just and thriving Sonoma Valley. See our values and equity commitment here
Impact100 Sonoma has always asked about an organization’s mission, and we trust applicants to know the needs of, and how to best serve, their clients and constituents.
However, we recognize that in order to best fulfill this mission, the organization’s needs may not conform to a specific program or project, but may be more fundamental. We fund broadly, so we ask each applicant organization to tell us its plan to use our grant funds and how our grant funds will allow the organization to grow and flourish into the future.
Investing in equity is a shared responsibility, so our first step is to embrace an inclusive perspective within our own grant review process. We strive to reduce bias and assumptions in our discussions and decisions, and we hold ourselves responsible for educating ourselves about our community.
We recognize that organizations and individuals embedded in the community are best poised to effect change, so we will ask what voices are included in an applicant’s planning and decision making. In addition, our committees consider whether an organization’s proposals or mission directly or indirectly addresses unmet needs or help a marginalized or underserved portion of the community.
Impact100 Sonoma receives many more applications than it can fund each year. They are all compelling and valuable, and we wish that we could fund them all. Each committee discusses applications in depth and selects the ones deemed to make the most significant contribution to our vision of a just and thriving Sonoma Valley. These are put forward as finalists to be voted upon by the entire Impact100 Sonoma membership.
We often speak with applicants if they are not selected as a grant recipient and usually encourage them to reapply the following year.
Please carefully review the Impact100 Sonoma Eligibility Requirements outlined on our Grants Overview page here.
Yes, but organizations located outside of Sonoma Valley must expend 100 percent of funds awarded by Impact100 Sonoma within Sonoma Valley (defined as all communities between Schellville and Kenwood).
An organization may only apply for one Impetus Grant unless it applies for one grant individually and for another as the secondary partner or collaborator of another organization.
In 2024 applicants may choose to apply for an Encore Grant in addition to an Impetus Grant (i.e.: NOT a second application). The proposed use of the Encore Grant must be related to the Impetus Grant request. Read Grants Overview for additional information.
Beginning in 2023, Impact100 Sonoma reinstated alternate year funding which requires recipients of full (as opposed to partial) Impetus Grants to sit out for one year (unless they are the secondary applicant of a collaboration or partnership). Therefore, the recipients of 2023 full Impetus Grants are not eligible to apply for an Impetus Grant or the Encore Grant in 2024. Grants Oversight can answer any questions about an organization’s eligibility.
Impetus Grant recipients will be able to apply again in 2026, according to the sit-out requirement described above. The Encore Grant recipient, who will receive funding for two consecutive years, will be subject to a two-year sit-out period before the organization can apply for another grant. Please see the Eligibility Table here.
Yes. Impact100 Sonoma encourages collaborations. One of the collaborating organizations must be the lead, applying on behalf of the collaboration as if it were an individual organization. If the grant is awarded, the lead organization must be willing to take on all the potential rights, responsibilities, restrictions, and liabilities of the entire grant. See Partner and Collaborator definitions contained in the Eligibility Requirements found under "Apply for a Grant" on the Grants Overview page here.
Impact100 Sonoma does not fund the following:
Impact100 Sonoma cannot begin the review until all pieces of the application are received, including financial documents. Any missing documents must be provided promptly to retain application eligibility.
The Impact100 Sonoma website Application Process links to our custom software. All applicants must apply through the Grant Portal found here. Please note that we have included a final pre-submission checklist at the end of the application to ensure that it has been submitted in full. Applicants will receive confirmation upon submission, and then further confirmation when it is determined the application package is complete.
When applying for an Impetus Grant through the Impact100 Grant Portal, the applicant can also apply for the Encore Grant by checking a box in the grant application and answering additional questions regarding the second year of funding. The proposed use of Encore Grant funds must be related to the proposed use of Impetus Grant funds. For the Encore Grant, a two-year budget must be submitted with the application.
The 2024 grants process will take place from January through April. The application deadline will be January 12, 2024, at 8:00 PM PST. To see all dates, check the blue calendar at the right of the Application Process page.
Grants Oversight and Grants Chairs manage the review process, along with a Financial Review Committee (FRC) and several Grant Review Committees (GRCs) comprising volunteer members of Impact100 Sonoma. They review the applications in the following discrete stages:
Read more about the review stages under Application Process. Please note that at any of these stages, applications may be: 1) removed completely from consideration or 2) removed from consideration for the Encore Grant, while still remaining in review for an Impetus Grant.
Our Grant Review Committees comprise Impact100 Sonoma volunteers that have no conflict of interest with the applications they review. All discussions during committee meetings are kept confidential (even private from Impact100 members serving on other committees). The committee reviews all assigned proposals and arranges for site visits for selected applicants. A Site Visit Leader will contact the applicant to schedule an appointment, and will inform the applicant whether it is being considered for an Impetus Grant or also the Encore Grant. After site visits are completed, the entire committee evaluates each application for strength, feasibility, and impact of the proposal and then votes for finalists to present to the entire Impact100 Sonoma membership.
This is the time for a nonprofit organization to shine and to be able to tell its story, its vision, and its dream in person. The nonprofit will have the opportunity to explain what the application cannot always convey: the passion, the difference this grant would make, and the impact it will have to their organization and the community. Representatives from the nonprofit generally include the executive director and any staff members key to the proposal’s implementation. If possible, individuals the organization serves should be present as well. The Site Visit Leader will prepare applicant with an agenda, specific questions, and the number of committee members expected to attend–generally four to eight people.
Although Impetus Grants can be awarded for up to $25,000, organizations should be realistic about their grant request amount. The organization should be able to support its grant request as demonstrated by a sound and justifiable budget in relation to its current overall size and operational capacity. We encourage smaller or newer organizations to consider a smaller request that is aligned with its overall budget, expected funding sources, and overall financial position.Please note that if an organization plans to apply for an Encore Grant, the amount of the Encore Grant must be the same as the amount of the Impetus Grant.
Fiscal agency is a relationship between a tax-exempt nonprofit organization (the agent) and a smaller nonprofit organization that may, or may not, have tax-exempt status. The agent does not have ultimate authority over grant funds. Fiscal sponsorship is a relationship between a tax-exempt nonprofit organization (the sponsor) and a charitable project or organization that does not have tax-exempt status. The sponsor has ultimate authority over the grant funds.
No fees may be paid to a fiscal agent or fiscal sponsor with the grant funds received from Impact100 Sonoma. Please note the different financial documentation required from a fiscal agent versus a fiscal sponsor, as outlined in the application itself.
We are simply asking what applicants propose to do with Impact100 Sonoma grant funds, but they should try to provide specific details. If the application is also for the Encore Grant, a budget for the second year of funding should be detailed in the space provided. Any needed modifications to the year-one budget if the applicant receives the Encore Grant may be explained in the space provided.
Yes, but the applicant should note that it is a draft and explain when approval is expected.
Grant Award Specifics
Impact100 Sonoma oversees distribution of funds through grant agreements and reports. A nonprofit grant recipient signs a grant agreement letter stipulating that the organization agrees to use the funds in accordance with the grant request and Impact100 Sonoma procedures.
The grant agreement also requires the nonprofit to submit a final report once all funds have been expended on the project. Any substantial change in the plan must be requested and approved by Impact100 Sonoma to ensure that the funds are being spent in accordance with the purpose of the grant. We will send the report form and a reminder when it is due.
Grant recipients are asked to promote the Impact100 Grant Recipient logo on their websites and social media pages; the artwork file will accompany the grant agreement.
Grantees will also be expected to give a short presentation to Impact100 Sonoma members and their guests at the Grant Recipients Update Meeting in fall 2024 for Impetus Grant recipients and in fall 2025 for the Encore Grant recipient. The Eligibility Table here provides general dates for these presentations.
Grantees also will be invited to participate in the Grants at Work nonprofit profile series. Written by Impact100 Sonoma volunteers and approved by the interview subject, these formatted, two-page informational articles highlight a nonprofit and its use of Impact100 Sonoma funds. The PDF files will be posted on the Impact100 Sonoma website and may be shared and used to further promote the grant recipient organization.
Impetus Grant funds must be spent over the course of two years, and Encore Grant funds must be spent over the course of three years.
The Encore Grant, which is expected to be disbursed in early 2025, comes with an agreement specifying that such disbursement will be subject to review by the Impact100 Sonoma Financial Review Committee of the recipient’s financial statements for the most recently ended fiscal year. The purpose is to substantiate that there has been no material adverse change to the recipient’s financial condition since the first installment of the grant was awarded.
Impact100 Sonoma will offer a sponsored membership to a woman (or two women, if a shared membership is chosen) of the recipient organization’s choosing. The woman selected may be selected from the organization’s staff, volunteers, clientele, or other constituencies. She will be a full voting member for the duration of the grant term (two voting years).
Encore Partner Members will be included in all Impact100 Sonoma activities during their term. They may even vote in the relevant grant years, and may serve on any committee(s) they choose. The hope is to get to know one another better and establish a more enduring connection.
Yes. We will allow for some flexibility if the recipient contacts us and asks for permission to carry out a revised plan. The revised plan must meet the original intent to support the core mission of the organization.
Communicating with Impact100
We will hold a Grant Workshop and Q&A on November 9, 2023 from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM PST via Zoom. This workshop will provide the opportunity to learn more about changes in our grantmaking for 2024, and to have any questions answered. Attendance is not required to apply for a grant.
Before or upon submitting an application, specific questions regarding grant guidelines, processes, software, or forms should be directed to Grants Oversight, below:
Impact100 Sonoma prides itself on its ability to maintain an objective stance toward all applicants and therefore offers no feedback on proposals during grant review. If questions arise, Impact100 Sonoma will contact the applicant organization. During the grant review process, points of contact will be the Grants Chairs, below:
Applicants interested in discussing their application should contact Impact100 Sonoma in May, at the end of the grant cycle. The Grants Team will be happy to share what it can. However, specific advice on how to improve applicant chances might not be available. The composition of the Impact100 Sonoma membership and Grant Review Committees changes every year, as do perspectives, so any advice given might be invalid or misleading the following year. It is, however, mutually beneficial to discuss the application process and the nonprofit’s work.
Impact100 Sonoma recognizes that community needs exceed its available support, regrets being unable to fund every deserving organization, and encourages nonprofits to keep applying.
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