Community Building Grants

Connections, Capacity, Community-led Action

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A Community Building Approach is one that puts rural residents and community groups at the center of the process as they build their community’s future in an inclusive and comprehensive way. Community Building Grants support efforts to increase connections, build capacity and take community-led action.  Support will look different based on your community’s needs. There is no cookie-cutter approach to community building. While the specifics of the work vary from place to place, we always follow the Community Building Principles and Practices.


Community Building Grants: Grant application by invitation

Examples of funding:

Convenings; group process and engagement; community data collection and listening work; local project coordination; coaching; and facilitation. Review the handout for more information.

Focus areas

We look for projects that:

Increase Connections: 

By Increasing Connections, communities foster more supportive, caring, inclusive and lasting relationships among people and across groups. We look for Connections with a clear purpose—ones that are likely to lead directly or indirectly to community-led action. We seek to support communities as they: 

  • Organize a Local Gathering: Bring people together to start or restart a conversation. These gatherings can be small and informal. They are a good way to begin community building. Also consider larger gatherings that are inclusive and address priority community opportunities, challenges or needs. 
  • Engage the Hard to Reach: Create goals and take coordinated actions to ensure all voices are engaged to work on priority community topics.  
  • Maintain and Strengthen Relationships: Support efforts that keep conversations going, continue to build and strengthen relationships, and unite and celebrate the community. 

Build Capacity: 

Capacity is the ability to move community work forward efficiently and effectively. Acquire a new skill set, use data for decision making, have enough and the right people-power, or expand the ability to access and develop funding and other resources. By Building Capacity, rural communities gain power to shape their future. We seek to support communities as they:  

  • Organize Just-In-Time Learning: Learn a new skill right when you need it. This effort may include targeted trainings, workshops, forums or learning exchanges that will help you take action.  
  • Branch Out:  Bring new and diverse leadership and participants into a project or effort. This work may include succession planning or including more sectors of the community.
  • Access Expertise: Engage local and/or external expertise to facilitate, coordinate or coach community-building efforts. 
  • Use Data and Stories as Learning and Working Tools: Assess, collect and interpret the data and stories you need to make well-informed decisions, monitor progress, be responsive to new conditions and document your journey.   

TakE Community-led Action: 

Action is often the most visible form of community building. It can create powerful results when done inclusively and in alignment with community values and vision. Sometimes action is tried and true. Other times there are risks, experimentation and innovation. Community-led Action can be done through a small project that links to something bigger, or it can be a comprehensive project. We seek to support communities as they:  

  • Develop a Vision: Facilitate a long-term and inclusive community vision and plan. Unite all the smaller efforts, synthesize them, and build in processes for success. 
  • Plan and Implement: Engage and mobilize people with a shared actionable goal to build the community’s future. Gain confidence and experience to take on more comprehensive efforts in the future. 
  • Align and Stabilize: Coordinate the project to keep the work moving, the various parts aligned, and the wider community engaged. 


  • Meet the Foundation’s eligibility requirements
  • Serve communities in rural Oregon or Siskiyou County with less than 35,000 in population not adjacent to or part of an urban or metropolitan area
  • Range in size from $500 - $25,000 per year.
    While there are exceptions, we can fund up to 50% of a proposed budget.
  • We support single and multi-year efforts. 

Next steps

Review the Community Building Approach handout.
Then, contact Yvette Rhodes at (541) 957-2571 to discuss next steps.
Or email us:

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