Program/Organization Questions

  1. What is Black power-building? The immediate focus of the California Black Freedom Fund (CBFF) centers on organizing, base-building and the mobilization of community members to influence policy decisions and ensure that those who govern in their name actually carry out their interests. 
  2. If my organization is not based in California, but we provide services in California, are we eligible to apply?  CBFF is focused on investing in organizations that are physically based in California.  If you think your organization has a unique circumstance that should be considered, please email cablackfreedomfund@siliconvalleycf.org with your question.  
  3. If my organization’s fiscal sponsor is based outside of California, but our work is solely done in California – can we still apply?  Yes, organizations that have a fiscal sponsor based outside of California are eligible to apply if the applicant is physically based within California.
  4. If my organization has a fiscal sponsor, can we apply?  Yes, organizations that have a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)3 status are eligible to apply.  If your organization has a fiscal sponsor, we will review your organization’s budget for eligibility, not your fiscal sponsor’s (i.e., your fiscal sponsor can have a budget over $1 million).
  5. Is this grant only for organizations in Silicon Valley?  This grant opportunity is open to organizations throughout the state of California.
  6. Can new organizations apply?  Yes, new organizations are eligible to apply, but preference will be given to those organizations with demonstrated Black power-building agendas. 
  7. How do you define Black-led organization?  This is determined by facts and circumstances unique to each organization. Applicants should indicate in their proposal how the organization is Black-led. This might include Black leaders among your organization’s senior leadership, having a core mission to combat anti-Black racism and advancing Black communities’ priorities.
  8. If our organization is not Black-led but we serve Black people, can we apply?   We are considering a multitude of factors in making grant decisions. The strong preference is to support those organizations that serve the Black community at least in part by promoting Black leadership in their own organization.
  9. Do you fund media campaigns?  This RFP is not funding media or communications work.
  10. Can we apply if we have a current grant with SVCF?  Yes, you are still eligible to apply even if you have a current grant with Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
  11. Will organizations focused on direct services be competitive for this round, or is there a greater preference for social/political power-building organizations?  We understand that many organizations are both providing direct services and also engaged in power-building work; these organizations are still eligible to apply.  However, we will prioritize organizations that are focused on power-building.
  12. Are you accepting collaborative or coalition applications?  Yes, we are accepting collaborative or coalition applications, as long as there is alignment with the focus of this RFP. If there is a coalition or collaborative applying, one entity within the coalition/collaborative should be the lead applicant and submit one proposal on behalf of the coalition/collaborative.  The applicant should still fall within the guidelines of this RFP and have a budget under $1 million.
  13. Is advocacy and organizing funded under this RFP? Yes, advocacy and organizing can be funded under this RFP. 
  14. Do you have examples of organizations that you have funded before?  In our first round of grantmaking, CBFF funded three statewide organizations: Black Census and Redistricting Hub, Black Equity Collective, and Live Free/Bring the Heat (Pico California).  

Budget/Timeline/Process Questions

  1. Can our organization apply if our budget is slightly above $1 million?  No, this current RFP is focused on support for grassroots organizations that have a budget of $1 million or less.  
  2. Will organizations with budgets over $1 million be able to apply in future CBFF grant rounds?  Yes.  There will be future grant rounds where organizations with budgets over $1 million will be eligible. Please continue to visit the website for more information.
  3. The RFP mentions that the budget should be $1 million or under. Is this for the project or for the organization?  We are referring to the total operating budget for the organization.  We are seeking to fund organizations with total operating budgets of $1 million or less.
  4. How long is the grant period?  The grant period covers two years. For illustrative purposes, if your organization receives a $100,000 grant, $50,000 would be distributed at the beginning of Year 1 and the remaining $50,000 would be distributed at the beginning of Year 2.  The grant period will begin in July 2021 and end in June 2023.
  5. Is there a funding request cap?  Although there is no funding request cap, grants will generally range between $50,000 to $150,000 total over two years.
  6. Who is reviewing the grant applications?  Silicon Valley Community Foundation staff will review applications along with the Grants Subcommittee, which is comprised of funders that are supporting CBFF and working throughout the state.
  7. What do capacity-building cohort formulations look like? How is matching done? After awards are announced through this RFP, we will form a cohort of grantees that will receive additional capacity-building support.  The nature of the capacity-building support is still to be determined as it will be co-designed with grantees and will be based on the needs of the cohort.
  8. What can funds be used for?  This grant will be for general operating support, allowing organizations maximum flexibility to determine how funds can be spent (e.g., salaries, rent, overhead, etc.).
  9. What will recommended outcomes or deliverables look like? In the application, applicants should indicate what change they are working to achieve and what success will look like.  

If your question was not answered in the FAQs, please feel free to contact Silicon Valley Community Foundation directly. 

For technical support regarding the application and/or online portal access, email: applysvcf@siliconvalleycf.org.
For questions regarding eligibility, email: cablackfreedomfund@siliconvalleycf.org.