Opportunity Fund Grant

Community Foundation for Monterey County

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Grant amount: US $500 - US $5,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: Monterey County, California

Location of residency: Monterey County, California

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About this funder:



CFMC’s small Opportunity grants program address a wide spectrum of needs.

Applications are accepted year round for grants to support emerging organizations and ventures, urgent needs and other time-sensitive efforts where a small amount of money will make a difference. Opportunity grants typically range between $1,000 and $5,000. While larger grants (up to $10,000) may be considered, they are the exception.

Scope and Characteristics 

  • Newly formed or emerging nonprofits or organizations new to Monterey County
  • New projects or pilot programs to serve an important community need
  • Urgent or time-sensitive projects that need to be addressed before the next budget cycle
  • One-time grant, not ongoing program support


Opportunity grants are part of the Community Foundation Monterey County (CFMC)’s competitive grants program, which allows nonprofits serving Monterey County to receive assistance when an urgent, unexpected situation arises or when a small grant is needed to test an innovative idea or capture a promising opportunity. These grants can be an entry point for emerging organizations and new ventures that have not received CFMC funding in the past. Prospective grant applicants are encouraged to call and speak with a staff person regarding questions and/or proposal ideas

Opportunity Grant Guidelines

Opportunity grants are considered for the following types of activities:

Emerging Organizations or Ventures

Funds may be provided to develop a new, innovative idea or endeavor that would not occur without CFMC’s support. Priority is given to emerging organizations or ventures that have strong potential to serve an important community need. Start-ups will occasionally be considered if they are able to demonstrate the ability to sustain the effort. These grants can cover the work of individual organizations or collaboratives as they address a new community issue or a continuing issue in an innovative way.

Some possible activities might include:

  • Recently incorporated nonprofit organizations that have been successful as unincorporated organizations
  • Neighborhood Grants projects with several years’ experience that have demonstrated increasing strength and effectiveness and
  • Pilot projects that provide an innovative approach to existing issues.

Urgent and Time-Sensitive Needs

Opportunity Grants for urgent and time-sensitive projects are designed to respond to rapidly changing circumstances in the community. Successful applications will clearly illustrate the changes or needs that have occurred since the organization’s last budget was passed and the urgency that requires a response before the fiscal year-end. Funding may cover both program and operational expenses. A loss in revenue or budget shortfall is not an eligible time-sensitive need.

Examples might include

  • Efforts to address an unforeseen emergency
  • An emergent issue that has evolved in a new way over a short period of time (less than a few months) and
  • Other unexpected needs that could not have been planned and budgeted for.

Selecting Grants

The CFMC receives far more grant requests than is possible to fund. Opportunity grants are meant to allow CFMC to be responsive to community needs, with the understanding that Opportunity grants address needs in a specific scenario. The CFMC seeks to fund proposals that:

  • Describes the community need, with data if available, that substantiates the request
  • Include a brief explanation of the recent circumstances that now allow for the proposed project (why it could not have been planned for or which partners/situations have come together that now make it possible).
  • Demonstrates community support, e.g., volunteers and financial donations
  • Are well-thought out and have the necessary financial and human resources for implementation and ongoing success. Grant request fits well with the organization’s mission and long-term plans for effectiveness.
  • Are supported by leadership that is receptive and welcoming to learning and improvement; clients’ feedback is sought and program/volunteer assessment is a regular practice.

Grant Awards

Opportunity grants typically range between $1,000 and $5,000. Larger grants (up to $10,000) may be considered but are the exception. Organizations may apply for more than one grant during the calendar year, as long as each request is for a different type of support (i.e.: Organizational Development, Opportunity, Community Impact, etc.). Priority will be determined based on need and potential impact on the organization and its mission. Opportunities in which matching funds from CFMC will leverage other resources are encouraged. 

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


  • Eligibility
    • 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, fiscally-sponsored organizations, and occasionally, other unincorporated public benefit organizations serving Monterey County residents.
    • Fiscal sponsors may submit applications for more than one sponsored group, as well as applications for their own organization.
    • Individual organizations within a collaborative applying for a grant may also apply for their own Opportunity Grant, as long as it is not for the same project as that of the collaborative.
    • Organizations may receive a Community Impact grant and an Opportunity grant in the same calendar year, as long as the grants are not for the same purpose.


  • Businesses and individuals are not eligible, with the exception of social enterprises associated with a local nonprofit.
  • Exclusions:
    • Activities that are non-secular or promote a religious doctrine
    • Academic or medical research
    • Funding to schools and public agencies that would supplant tax-supported, mandated services
    • Annual fundraising campaigns or events
    • Creation of, or addition to, endowment funds
    • Payment of debt or legal settlements
    • Political or partisan purposes
    • Expenses incurred prior to the grant award date
  • CFMC does not support organizations that discriminate in their employment practices, volunteer opportunities, or delivery of programs and services on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other characteristics protected by law