Guidelines & Priorities

CBCF 9 Grants 9 Guidelines & Priorities

Annual Grant Program Policy Guidelines

Coastal Bend Community Foundation (CBCF) awards grants from unrestricted and certain other funds yearly through the Annual Grants process. We welcome applications from eligible organizations/coalitions for projects completed by August 31st of the following year.

All grant requests must be for services that are performed in CBCF’s seven-county service area of Aransas, Bee, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Nueces, Refugio, and San Patricio counties.

The 2021 grant application will follow these guidelines: Due to the effects of the COVID19 pandemic, grants will not be made for specific programs or events, but rather the general operations of the organization at the discretion of the organization’s Board of Directors. Grants made to or for the benefit of a tax-supported college or university are to be used solely for direct student support, including Student Emergency Funds and Student Food Pantries.

Is my organization eligible?
501(c)(3) organizations are eligible. Also, government and school entities applying for projects outside of their basic/core services are eligible. If you are not a 501(c)(3) or eligible school or government entity, please contact us to verify eligibility before submitting a grant application. Regardless of the location of the organization, 

When are grant applications available/accepted?
Grant applications are accepted online at our website from May 1 to June 15 of each year. There are no exceptions to the deadline.

Does a nonprofit need to apply separately to different funds at CBCF?
There is only one application process. In addition to its unrestricted funds, CBCF awards annual grants from funds that support the following:

  • intellectually disabled
  • children’s programs
  • cultural activities
  • dogs, cats, humane societies, and animal support
  • historical and ecological preservation projects
  • the elderly

May we submit more than one application?
Organizations may submit one application unless they are serving as a fiscal agent for a partnership or collaboration, in which case they may also submit an application for themselves. Colleges and universities, including their foundations, may submit a total of three applications.

What is the average grant size?
Most grant awards are between $5,000-$10,000. Awards are based on the stated need and the footprint/impact of the project. As requests for funding always exceed funds available, there is no guarantee of funding, and grant awards frequently provide partial (as opposed to full) funding of requests.

What does CBCF fund? Please see COVID-19 statement above for 2021.
Grants are awarded for new projects and the continuation of existing projects where there is compelling, documented impact and the project is compatible with the nonprofit’s mission. Requests may include existing personnel, equipment, supplies, and other expenses essential to the project. CBCF is not likely to approve applications where it is the sole funder for projects significantly exceeding our average grant size.

Does CBCF award grants for operating expenses?
CBCF awards grants for general operations where the nonprofit’s “program” is its operation. Please note that salary requests for new employees are generally not considered.

What are the focus areas?
As a community foundation, CBCF awards grants in many focus areas that benefit all citizens of the Coastal Bend:

  • Arts and Culture- including performing arts/music programs, museum exhibits/classes
  • Education – including library services, GED and adult literacy, youth programs
  • Environment – including animal welfare, park improvements, conservation
  • Families and Children – including family, youth, and elderly programs
  • Health – including medical and patient services programs, diabetes programs
  • Human Services – including counseling, drug programs, food pantries, and shelters
  • Public Good – including disaster relief, housing, and community development

Within the funded areas, high funding priorities include:

  • Programs that measurably raise the quality of life in the Coastal Bend
  • Disadvantaged youth, elderly, and families
  • Education and job creation projects that bring people out of poverty
  • Projects that are not easily accomplished without Foundation funding
  • Projects that result in increased funding from additional sources

Low funding priorities include:

  • Start-up funding for new organizations
  • Publications, videos, etc.
  • Projects that stray from the nonprofit’s mission

Factors that increase funding chances:

  • Practical solutions to community problems
  • Leveraging of additional resources
  • Collaborative efforts that decrease duplications of service
  • Strength and sustainability of both the nonprofit and the program

What requests are typically denied and/or are prohibited spending of CBCF grants?*

  • Specific requests for salary for staff
  • Large requests that drastically exceed the typical grant size
  • Large requests where the Foundation is the sole funder
  • Annual fund drives
  • Underwriting/sponsorships for special fundraising events
  • Academic or scientific research projects
  • Religious activities of religious organizations or programs that require participation in religious activities
  • Private school scholarships or projects that do not impact the community at large
  • Funding for individuals, specific schools, school groups, or athletic teams
  • Travel or transportation expenses
  • Office, playground or other equipment, unless for efficiency or safety
  • Brick and mortar projects – new construction, renovations, etc.,

* These are generalities and are true in most grant-making situations. However, CBCF will make exceptions when appropriate and after discussion with the applicant agency.


The Mission of the Foundation is to improve the quality of life in the Coastal Bend by building community endowment and addressing social, educational, environmental, and cultural needs through the awarding of grants and scholarships.

The Foundation’s Vision is to provide the Coastal Bend with:

  • Efficient gift options to meet donors’ charitable wishes
  • Effective grants to charitable organizations and scholarships to students
  • Ethical leadership to promote and enhance area philanthropy


Frequently Asked Questions

About Grants


Please check the “Guidelines and Priorities” page for information about grant focus areas, eligibility, deadlines, etc. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Should I contact someone in your office before submitting a grant?

If you have questions about the application or your organization’s eligibility, please call us.

What is the criteria for selecting grant recipients?

Our board looks for strong nonprofits with projects and programs that are likely to strengthen the Coastal Bend well beyond the requested period of funding. High priority is given to requests that are collaborative and focus on new solutions to old problems.

Will your grant policies remain the same in future years?

Our grant policies are reviewed annually and may change in future years. Current grant guidelines are always posted to this website.

Can my organization apply for grants from named funds at the Foundation?

No. All funds that have monies available for competitive grants are included in the Annual grant process.