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Community Grants — Guidelines

The following are the Grant Guidelines used for 2021-22 and are presented here for review. They may change for the next grant cycle. Please check back on October 1, 2022.

Community Grant Guidelines

As part of our commitment to support our local community, the Watsonville Rotary Foundation makes grants to local non-profit organizations through its grant-making program.  The monetary grants support organizations that serve local youth that work to help minimize the factors that contribute to youth violence and/or support educational attainment.

Watsonville Rotary Foundation Guidelines for Community Grants


Since the inception of our Foundation’s grant-making efforts in FY 2017-18, Watsonville Rotary Foundation has awarded close to $100,000 through 57 small grants (ranging from $750 to a maximum of $2,500) to 41 nonprofit organizations serving thousands of vulnerable Pajaro Valley youth. These grants addressed youth needs through a broad spectrum of programs and services. Small grants have often played a critical role in the effectiveness of local nonprofits, especially small, grass-roots organizations. We are extremely proud of the resulting partnerships we have forged with these local organizations, and we are grateful that for four years, these small grants have helped to seed and strengthen numerous nonprofits serving thousands of Pajaro Valley youth.


As we begin our fifth year of grantmaking, the Watsonville Rotary Foundation is taking a new approach which we believe will further strengthen the organizations most effectively serving Pajaro Valley youth.


  1. In the past, our Foundation’s upper range for grantmaking has been as much as $2,500 per award. This year, we are doubling that amount to offer up to $5,000 per award. While this larger maximum amount (still considered a small grant) will result in fewer grants available, our goal is to determine if investing our grant funds in a more focused (less broad) manner yields a more impactful result for our youth.
  2. While maintaining our central commitment to funding programs that support vulnerable children and youth in our community, applicants must be able to demonstrate that their organization or specifically-funded programs are generating a substantial and lasting impact on the youth they serve.
  3. Only applicants whose annual budgets are $2.5 million or less are eligible to apply for a grant in any amount up to $5,000.
  4. Applicants will choose to focus their proposal on one of the revised Areas of Interest for Funding described in the Guidelines below.
  5. The Foundation is granting a more Flexible Spending approach this year. At the discretion of the nonprofit organization, applicants will choose (on their application) to earmark the grant funds they request for either programmatic needs or to support core operating costs.

As always, the Grants Review Committee (GRC) will use objective ranking tools to evaluate each proposal on a competitive basis. The proposals that most closely align with the goals and Areas of Interest for Funding included in these Guidelines will be recommended for funding.

FUNDING LIMITS: The Foundation’s budget for grantmaking this year is $30,000. Due to funding limitations, Watsonville Rotary Foundation will not be able to fund all requests submitted in response to this Request for Proposals (RFP).


Please carefully review these revised grant guidelines and new approaches to determine whether your organization will submit a proposal this year.


  1. Safety Net & Crisis Resolution Services: These are programs that help families and children meet basic human needs for safety, food, shelter, clothing and childcare.
  2. Healthy Lifestyle, Learning and Living: These are programs that give youth access to activities and training that support youth with positive solutions to social problems, increase access to mental health services for youth and their families and increase access to education, job skills training or enrichment opportunities.
  3. Health and Youth Development: These are programs that encourage the practice of making safe and healthy lifestyle choices, teach life skills, conflict resolution, teamwork and ethical behavior.


Organizations that meet the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  • The applicant organization must be a nonprofit 501(c) (3), tax-exempt organization or a school-based program in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, or have a 501(c) (3), tax-exempt organization as a fiscal sponsor.
  • The applicant organization must provide or plan to provide programs/services benefitting the residents of Watsonville (95076) including Pajaro, La Selva, Corralitos & Royal Oaks) as well as Freedom (95019) and Aromas (95004) in one of Watsonville Rotary’s Areas of Interest for Funding as described in these guidelines (above). The applicant organization does not need to be located in the Pajaro Valley, but the applicant organization must demonstrate that it provides or plans to provide services that substantially benefit residents of the Pajaro Valley.
  • The applicant organization must have an annual operating budget not to exceed $2.5 million.
  • The applicant organization must have a nondiscrimination policy in place.
  • The applicant organization must have the demonstrated capacity to carry out the program or core-operating work funded by the grant and to maintain fiscal accountability.


In general, Watsonville Rotary does not give grants to:

  • For profit organizations
  • Projects that do not substantially benefit residents of the Pajaro Valley
  • Projects and proposals unrelated to Rotary’s defined Areas of Interest for Funding
  • Individuals
  • Religious organizations for religious purposes
  • Endowments, building campaigns, annual fund appeals, fundraising events or celebrations
  • Commercial ventures
  • Political Campaigns


Watsonville Rotary Foundation grants will be awarded in June 2022 to fund projects that will take place in FY 2022- 23.Watsonville Rotary Foundation will award grants of up to $5,000. Due to limited resources, applicants can apply for only one grant per year. Those who are awarded funding in a given year will not be eligible to apply the following year. However, they may apply again in the second year.

The number of grants and the amounts awarded are tied directly to Watsonville Rotary’s fundraising efforts on an annual basis and can vary from year to year. The Club’s GRC will review grant proposals in the spring of each year through an objective process designed to identify proposals that most closely align with our Grant Guidelines.

GRC recommendations are then forwarded to the Rotary Board of Directors for review. Approved grant awards are distributed in June. If your organization is approved for funding, we request that you recognize the Watsonville Rotary Club Foundation on your website, social media and/or advertising.


The grant term will be one year (July 2022-June 2023).


The Watsonville Rotary Foundation will consider proposals seeking either program support or core operating support.


Grant Guidelines Released: October 15, 2021

Grant Application Due: January 31, 2022

Awards Announced: June 2022


First, please read these guidelines carefully before applying to determine if your organization meets the requirements for eligibility. Also, please make sure you are using the most up-to-date version of Acrobat Reader. Using the buttons below, applicant organizations should download and save the interactive PDF forms provided below. Organizations seeking core operating support must submit their annual operating budget instead of the Budget Worksheet provided below.

Your Grant Application Form, the appropriate Evaluation Form (Program or Core Operating), and the Budget Worksheet (or Annual Operating Budget for Core Operating grants) make up your grant proposal and are required for submission. The fourth (a PDF of these guidelines) is provided for your convenience.

Download Grant Proposal Application

Download Program Evaluation Worksheet

Download Core Operating Grant Evaluation Worksheet

Download Project Budget Worksheet

Download Grant Guidelines

Once downloaded, complete the required information and save your documents to your computer. When ready to submit, email all three completed grant proposal forms (substituting your organization annual budget if applying for core operating funds) no later than 4 p.m. on Monday, January 31, 2022 to the GRC Chair (email contact below). Applicants may choose to combine the three required documents in a single PDF using Acrobat Reader if desired.

Kathleen King, Chair
Grants Review Committee
Watsonville Rotary Club Foundation


The GRC Chair will confirm receipt of your grant application materials by email within five business days of your submission. NOTE: If you do not receive confirmation, it is your responsibility to contact the Chair immediately at the email or phone number above.

To view grant recipients, visit the Community Grants page.