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OCF: Thriving Entrepreneurs Grant Program in Oregon


The Thriving Entrepreneurs Grant provides an open, responsive grantmaking opportunity that offers organizations flexible funding, with prioritized support for those organizations that serve entrepreneurs who are women, people of color, living in under-resourced rural communities, or working in under-resourced sectors such as consumer products.

Donor Name: Oregon Community Foundation

State: Oregon

County: Douglas County (OR)

Type of Grant: Grant

Deadline: 07/15/2023

Size of the Grant: $25,000

Grant Duration: 12 months


Guiding Principles

  • Grants value Oregon’s diverse regions and populations, and seek to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion through their funding.
  • Grants are committed to funding across Oregon with grant dollars reaching their remote, rural, suburban, and urban communities across every region of their state.
  • Grants prioritize investments that creatively address needs and position entrepreneurs to thrive in Oregon.
  • Grants prioritize investments demonstrating strong community support, solid planning, and wise stewardship.

Funding Priorities

Grants know that funding needs will far exceed their limited grant dollars. Priority will be given to organizations with either  a demonstrated track record of success working with diverse entrepreneurs or a promising approach and plan to serve entrepreneurs in a new way. Both experienced and new organizations are encouraged to apply.

Priority will be given to organizations that:

  • Primarily serve one or more priority populations (women, people of color, under-resourced rural communities or sectors)
  • Are reasonably positioned for long-term organizational viability
  • Support OCF in advancing equity, diversity and inclusion through funding
  • Reflect a strengths-based orientation
  • Work to create positive, substantive change

Funding Information

  • In 2023, OCF anticipates awarding at least $520,000. They aim to fund a mix of proposals in communities across Oregon and anticipate funding organizations serving diverse entrepreneurs.
  • All grants will be one year (12 months) in duration. Applicants may apply for programmatic support or project specific funding. Staffing expenses are allowed. Applicants should apply for the amount they need and describe why they need that amount, but most grants will not exceed $25,000.

Eligibility Criteria

  • 501(c)(3) organizations, Tribal entities, and government entities are eligible to apply. Additionally, other types of organizations may work with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor to submit an application. Applicants must submit formal paperwork confirming the fiscal sponsor relationship.
  • Organizations with an active Community Grant or any other OCF grant are eligible to apply. Thriving Entrepreneurs Grant recipients from past years are also eligible to apply.
  • Organizations may submit only one application for a 2023 Thriving Entrepreneurs Grant, unless they are an umbrella organization or a fiscal sponsor for a separate application.

The strongest proposals will:

  • Address a clear and compelling business community need
  • Have goals/work that are relevant to Oregon’s entrepreneurs, including small and micro businesses
  • If the project addresses the needs of a specific population, have staff and board with demonstrated cultural expertise to serve that population
  • Demonstrate that people with lived experience are meaningfully leading and/or influencing the work
  • Reflect realistic goals and solid planning
  • Show strong potential to build the organization’s stability, effectiveness, or capacity
  • Demonstrate strong community support, including the support of people being served
  • Clearly communicate the role and potential impact of an OCF grant in this moment
  • Have a realistic plan for securing remaining funds needed to carry out the work within the grant period
  • If the proposal involves new staff or other significant on-going expenses, explain how the organization is thinking about long-term sustainability

Activities Typically Won’t Fund in 2023

  • Capital Projects
  • Projects in individual schools
  • Grants to subsidize participation (scholarships) or re-granting programs
  • Purchases or activities that occur prior to grant decisions
  • Deficit funding
  • Funding for public entities to replace government dollars
  • Lobbying to influence legislation (a particular bill)
  • Scientific research
  • Religious activities
  • Annual fund appeals and contributions to endowments

For more information, visit OCF.

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