Building Capacity Grants

Funding_BUILDING_CAPACITY_GRANTSNonprofits Becoming More Efficient and Effective in Carrying Out Their Missions

Through Building Capacity, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation will award one-year grants of up to $30,000 to shape organizational structure for a strong and sustainable community of nonprofit organizations.  Capacity building grants allow nonprofits to secure the professional and timely assistance necessary to enhance organizational capacity and address important issues of organizational development and effectiveness.

Program ExpansionIncrease the depth and breadth of the organization's reach in a specific community.
Strategic RelationshipsProvide technical assistance and/or consultant support to help two or more organizations work through/toward a long-term partnership or business plan.
Marketing and OutreachSupport planning and/or implementation to create and/or launch a new brand or campaign.
TechnologyDevelop databases, computer networks, and websites, etc., to support the organization's work.
PlanningSupport business, program and strategic planning initiatives.
EvaluationDevelop program evaluation, including data collection.
Business ProcessesCreate, streamline, or improve the efficiency of internal systems, especially accounting and human resources.

Successful Projects

These capacity building grants have enabled organizations to accomplish projects that help the board and staff complete work that requires time, energy, expertise, and innovative thinking beyond everyday operations. These grants have proven especially beneficial to groups experiencing significant organizational transitions such as major shifts in funding sources, the departure of critical staff, and/or rapid growth.



Capacity building funding requests may include project-related costs (for example, marketing materials, website development, or technology upgrades) in addition to consultant fees. However, these grants will not cover staff time, unless the staff member is being trained to become the organization’s subject matter expert on the project topic. Full project costs will be considered for funding, and no matching funds are required. This funding type does not support capital projects or purchases such as computers, automobiles, infrastructure improvements, or buildings, etc. Organizations are only eligible to receive capacity building funds once each calendar year. In addition, the following eligibility requirements must also be met:

  • Be an organization that serves Pierce County, Washington residents;
  • Have the capacity to complete the proposed project within a year; and
  • Be current on all final reports for grants previously received from the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation.


Below are a list of the successful 2015 Building Capacity projects. This list is meant to provide examples of successful projects to help build your understanding of the type of projects funded through this program.

Nisqually Land TrustTechnology: This project supports the design and implementation of a communications plan appropriate to the goals identified in the new strategic plan.
Puget Sound Educational Service District:
Arts Impact
Business Processes: This project supports the organizational priority to increase ethnic diversity and improve cultural responsiveness of its Pierce County teaching artist corps, and community partner. This will be completed by hiring and training new artist mentors of color, completing staff cultural competency training, and using the racial equity tool to evaluate Arts Impact.
Tacoma Pierce County Habitat for HumanityBusiness Development: This project supports the organization’s need for long-term financial system improvements including; developing a financial dashboard template, creating an accounting manual, and identifying an optimal accounting infrastructure.
Team ChildBusiness Development: This project supports the organization’s need for long-term financial system improvements including; developing a financial dashboard template, creating an accounting manual, and identifying an optimal accounting infrastructure.
Center for Dialog & ResolutionBusiness Processes:: This project focuses on implementing the planning and execution of a cost effective business processes to better position the organization with continued growth.
Peace Community CenterBusiness Processes:: The project supports research, development, and implementation of new policies and procedures for effective operations.
Palmer ScholarsProgram Expansion:: This project permanently transitions the organization to reach its constituents in a more intentional and impactful way.

Program Expansion Requests

Last year we learned that there is a tremendous amount of excitement around program expansion funds. However, those applications had the lowest funding success rate. So, to add further clarity, the intention of program expansion grants is to meet community needs by sustainably growing your organization.

If you plan to apply for a program expansion grant through Building Capacity, we’d like to suggest that successful program expansion grants address all three of these steps:

1 Identify an emerging need

2 Apply an innovation

3 Build for sustainability beyond the lifetime of the grant

Grant Timeline

The application period is now open and will close Friday, September 15 at 4PM. Final decisions will be made in late December 2017 with notifications shortly thereafter.


Building Capacity grants are managed by Senior Program Officer, Kathryn Zetzer. She can be reached by phone at 253-345-4169 or by email at You are also invited and welcome to attend any of the drop-in office hour events listed below. These casual in-person meetings are designed to answer your questions in a more personalized setting. There will be no formal presentations at these events, rather they are designed to provide a face-to-face opportunity to chat, walk through any potential applications you’re considering or just learn more about any of our competitive grant opportunities.

Cutters Point Coffee

4735 Point Fisdick Dr. NW #400
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
Thursday, June 1
9:00AM – 11:00AM

Bluebeard Coffee Roasters

2201 6th Ave
Tacoma, WA 98403
Tuesday, June 27
9:00AM – 11:00AM

Urban Timber Coffee

6621 166th Ave E
Sumner, WA 98390
Monday, July 31
9:00AM – 11:00AM

Corina Bakery

602 Fawcett Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402
Thursday, August 31
9:00AM – 11:00AM

Anthem Coffee & Tea

201 W. Pioneer Ave
Puyallup, WA 98371
Tuesday, September 12
9:00AM – 11:00AM


To start a new grant application, click here.
To return to an existing application/account, click here.