What is the Small Grants Program? What is the purpose of the program?

The Small Grants Program is the City of Rohnert Park Foundation’s new community grant making program. Its purpose is to encourage organizations to do projects that will benefit or improve the Rohnert Park community. Funding of the program comes from the non-guaranteed “Community Investment” contributions outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding by and between the City of Rohnert Park and the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

What will you fund? What will you not fund?

The Foundation hopes to fund a variety of projects that contribute to the making of our Rohnert Park community a safe, enjoyable place to live, work and play. Funding can be used for a wide variety of activities in the spirit of benefitting or improving the Rohnert Park community; however, funding will not be provided to any activity that is violation of the Foundation’s by-laws, including lobbying.

How much can we apply for?

The maximum grant award is $5,000. Up to $100,000 of awards may be granted in this cycle of funding. The amount of grant award will be determined in part by an applicant’s justification for the amount of the request.

Who can apply?

Any organization that can execute a contract with the City of Rohnert Park Foundation is eligible to apply. Grants will be provided through a contract which will outline conditions including the reporting of activities and the accounting of funds for the Foundation’s requirements.

How will grants be selected?

Applications will be reviewed, evaluated, and ranked by an internal staff committee. The committee will recommend projects to the Executive Director, who will then make recommendations to the Foundation Board. The Board will make final decisions on which grants will be awarded. Grant contracts will be offered to awardees in Fiscal Year 2021/22 (after July 1, 2021).

Will other grant cycles be offered? When?

If the Foundation continues to receive regular Community Investment contributions from the MOU, the Foundation Board will have the opportunity to decide on whether or not it will continue this program.

Can an organization receive more than one grant?

In order to provide a diverse use for these funds, an organization can only receive one grant per grant cycle.

Why must the project activity be completed by June 30, 2022 for Grant Cycle 3?

Due to the non-guaranteed nature of the source of these funds, the Foundation intends to limit funding to one fiscal year.

Can we apply for on-going funding?

No. When the Foundation Board approved this program, and because the source of this funding is not guaranteed, it directed that these funds should not encourage any organization to be reliant on the Small Grants Program. A condition of funding will be that an organization cannot receive Small Grants Program awards in consecutive fiscal years to fund the same project or service. However, due to the 2020 pandemic, a select group of previous year awardees will be allowed to reapply and have been provided a waiver to this condition from the Board. Without such a waiver, the consecutive year rule applies to all applicants. 

Can an organization request a product donation or gift card instead of a grant through the Small Grants Program?

No. Only financial grants are available through the Small Grants Program.

Our organization is financially administered through a fiscal agent. Is that allowed?

Yes. If an organization’s project is selected, a grant contract can be established through a fiscal agent organization. Keep in mind that by signing the grant contract, the fiscal agent agrees to comply with the contractual terms including fiscal reporting, records retention, and the final reporting schedule.

What does it mean to explain a project’s accessibility?

In general, Small Grants projects are intended to be available to as many members of the Rohnert Park community as possible. However, the reality of most projects is they target certain groups (e.g., student conferences), are located in non-public areas (e.g., on a school campus, or in a building that normally limits access to business hours), or have some other natural restrictions (e.g., are performed in a protected habitat). For this program, the Foundation seeks to understand how accessible your program is to the general public in the context of selecting a diverse portfolio of awards that best benefit the interests and character of the Rohnert Park community.

What does it mean to explain a project’s approval?

The evaluation committee seeks to understand the feasibility of a proposed project. Projects that demonstrate that they have secured the proper permissions and any partnerships needed to conduct the project will be scored favorably. For example, if an applicant proposes to install a park bench, the proposal should describe how the organization has or will secure permission from the park’s operator. As part of the evaluation process, the committee may reach out to the partners needed to conduct to the project in order to confirm that the project has the permission to proceed, if funded.

Will the City of Rohnert Park waive permit, license, and other fees associated with an awarded project?

The Foundation Board will consider City of Rohnert Park fee waivers for certain projects under the jurisdiction of City. This may include City of Rohnert Park temporary use permits, building permits, and licenses associated with your project. Applicants are expected to understand the permit and approval process required of their projects. Waivers will only be considered for City permits, and the request of a waiver must be addressed in an applicant’s application. The Small Grants Program will not seek waivers for any non-City permits. If funded, an applicant will be fully responsible for securing any non-City permit (e.g., County permits, food distribution permits, etc…)

If my project requires design review (i.e., public art), is approval required before applying?

No, as long as the project is completed by June 30, 2022, an approved project can build design review into its schedule. Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate that they understand the approval process for their respective projects, and which commissions or committees will need to give approval. Note: a successful grant award will not supersede the City’s approval process, and a successful awardee is expected to secure the proper permissions within the grant timeline.

How will I know if we have been selected to receive a grant from this program?

The Foundation will communicate with the person identified as the Primary Contact Person in the organization’s grant application.

If selected for funding, how do I receive my grant check?

If approved, a contract package will be delivered directly to the recipient organization at the address listed in the grant application. A check will be delivered after the contract is fully executed.

Who can I contact if I have questions about the status of the grant?

Please email your questions to Don Schwartz, Assistant City Manager: [email protected] or Karen Mack, Office Assistant: [email protected]