Competitive & Foundation-Initiated Grant Programs

Sonora Area Foundation

Grant amount: Up to US $100,000

Next deadline: Nov 30, 2018

Later deadlines: Jan 31, 2019, Mar 31, 2019, May 31, 2019, Jul 31, 2019, Sep 30, 2019

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: General Operating Expense, Applied Project / Program, Education / Outreach

Location of project: Tuolumne County, California

Location of residency: United States

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Sonora Area Foundation

Each year the Sonora Area Foundation and its Supporting Organizations establishes a competitive grant budget from it's unrestricted funds. The Foundation takes seriously its role as a resource for all of Tuolumne County in considering funding proposals, and intends that this funding is used as widely as possible in our community.

We accept multi-year grant proposals. However, we generally require that specific criteria be met before funding is granted beyond the first year.

The Foundation seeks opportunities to stretch its funding impact by making grants which will work in combination with other funds. This might involve requiring an applicant to provide matching funds from other sources. In addition, the Foundation may choose to make a challenge grant, where additional funds must be secured before Foundation monies are released.

Funding Priorities

The Foundation provides funding in these primary interest areas:

  • human services;
  • education;
  • arts/culture/humanities;
  • health;
  • public/society benefit; and,
  • environment/animals.

Competitive Grants

Sonora Area Foundation considers several types of competitive grant requests. They share a common focus on the quality of life in Tuolumne County.

  • Pilot or Demonstration Project - Intended to promote creativity, such a project is based on the concept of setting up, testing and evaluating a model approach to dealing with challenges found in the community. A proposal must include a carefully developed evaluation plan, as well as the means by which to disseminate the results and lessons learned.
  • New or Expanded Program - Proposed programs should be based on challenges or needs within Tuolumne County. Proposals should describe solutions and such means to accomplish them. Foundation representatives will look for evidence of participation by those for whom the proposed program is intended to benefit.
  • Capacity Building - Proposals of this type must concentrate on strengthening an applicant organization’s ability to achieve its mission or purposes. This might involve upgrading board or staff skills, including those used to develop strategic planning, human and financial resource development, and increasing organizational movement toward financial independence. Such a proposal should include evidence of the applicant’s work to build capacity prior to approaching the Foundation for funding.

Foundation-Initiated Grant Programs

Sonora Area Foundation uses several strategies to undertake grant making in addition to responding to proposals submitted from eligible applicants.

  • Emergency/Rapid Response - A limited budget exists to respond immediately to requests for emergency grants not to exceed $1,000. Emergencies are defined as unforeseeable events that adversely impact an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission.  
  • Donor-Advised Grants - Foundation assets include funds from a variety of sources. At times, donors are actively involved in the grant making process, and Foundation representatives work to facilitate their suggestions for grants.  
  • Board-Initiated Grants - The Foundation’s board periodically initiates grants based on members’ awareness of community needs. 
  • Elaine Symons Baker Annual Award For Community Impact - The Foundation makes this grant for support of organizations with exceptional programs.  
  • Irving J. Symons Annual Award - The Foundation makes this grant for support of exceptional programs and services. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • To be eligible for funding consideration, 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.”


  • 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, whereby participants develop a sense of ownership for what is proposed;
    • Organizations that give strong evidence of community support for what they propose (this might be reflected by involvement of program participants, volunteers willing to support the effort, endorsement by community leaders, participation by other organizations, or favorable media coverage of the applicant organization, etc.); and
    • Applicants who propose ways to sustain future program efforts, and reflect this in their funding proposals.


  • Unless so designated by a donor in the instrument of gift to the Foundation, and approved by the Board, the Foundation will generally not consider grants for the following:
    • Annual fund-raising campaigns;
    • Creation or additions to endowments;
    • Existing financial obligations, or replenishing resources to pay such debt;
    • Private foundations;
    • Political purposes;
    • Sectarian purposes; or
    • Programs or services for other than Tuolumne County residents.

About this funder:

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