Q. Does my organization have to be a 501(c)(4) to apply?  

No. A 501(c)(3) can be the lead applicant for your project but you need to identify a 501(c)(4/5/6) organization as the fiscal sponsor. When you submit your application, you don’t need to have a formal sponsorship established yet, but you should be able to demonstrate some level of tentative interest with the fiscal sponsor. A formal partnership with a 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5) or 501(c)(6) should be established by September 1, 2019 in order to receive grant funds.

Q. Does a 501(c)(4) need to be the lead organization?

No. The lead organization of your project should apply, even if they are not a 501(c)(4/5/6) or the final fiscal sponsor.

Q. What organizations are possible 501(c)(4) fiscal sponsors?

Any 501(c)(4/5/6) organization could act as fiscal sponsor, though you may want to make sure their bylaws or practices do not preclude you from using resources to support or oppose candidates for office.

The following are a few of the national organizations that offer 501(c)(4) fiscal sponsorship, but there are others:

  1. Tides Advocacy https://tidesadvocacy.org/

  2. Sixteen Thirty Fund https://www.sixteenthirtyfund.org/

  3. Proteus https://www.proteusfund.org/fiscal-sponsorship/ (lobbying only, no candidate work)

Q. If we are in the process of establishing a 501(c)(4/5/6), when do we need to have our organizational structure ready?

By September 1, 2019 you should have a board, bylaws, an EIN number, and a bank account to receive the funds. You don’t need to have an IRS determination letter.

Q. If we are a 501(c)(4) organization with an affiliated 501(c)(3) organization should we include information about our 501(c)(3) staff and community served, especially if there is overlap?

Yes, it provides more information and context about your leadership and the community(ies) you serve.

Q. Can grant funds be paid directly to a Political Action Committee (PAC)?

No. We will issue grant funds to the fiscal organization which must be a 501(c)(4/5/6) organization.

Q. Can we use grant funds to pay a lobbyist?

Yes. Grant funds can support any activity allowed by law which includes paying a lobbyist. See more about 501(c)(4/5/6) permissible activities at https://bolderadvocacy.org/resource/comparison-of-501c3-and-501c4-permissible-activities/.

Q. Can the lead applicant be an organization located outside of your funding region?

No, the lead applicant must be an organization doing work in Oregon or our five counties in SW Washington (Clark, Cowlitz, Skamania, Wahkiakum, Pacific). The fiscal sponsor can be located anywhere in the U.S.

Q. Can an organization be a collaborator or included on more than one proposal?

Yes, we know organizations are often involved in multiple coalitions or campaigns.

Q. Can an organization be the lead applicant on more than one proposal or campaign?

Yes. However, we’d encourage you to consider how you would demonstrate commitment of your coalition members when submitting more than one proposal.

Q. Can an organization be the fiscal sponsor on more than one proposal?


Q. Is it more competitive to have multiple "opportunity communities" that we serve?

No. We consider the scale and impact of the policy you pursue as part of the selection criteria, but that isn’t necessarily related to serving multiple opportunity communities.

Q. Can schools/colleges/universities be part of the proposal?

Yes, but they cannot be the lead applicant.

Q. Can a community college or university serve as the fiscal agent?

Probably not. They likely are not a 501(c)(4/5/6) organization, which the fiscal agent needs to be.

Q. What percentage of the project can this grant fund?

Up to 100%.

Q. What do you mean by early life?

Your policy change could affect everyone in a community, or all children and all families. But at the minimum, it must improve the lives of children under the age of nine and/or their families in the community your policy change is focused on.

Q. What do you mean by a coalition or collaboration?

Generally, we mean a group of organizations that have a track record of working together on systems and policy change and among which there’s mutual trust and accountability.

We believe that system change requires collaboration across sectors, communities and diverse perspectives. And when system change happens through a legislative or electoral campaign, a coalition offers a structure for representation, capacity and power.  

We believe when communities who experience inequities are leaders for change, the solutions are more equitable and sustainable. Coalitions or collaborations must have leadership from organizations that represent opportunity communities.

Coalitions typically have a network of organizational partners, and may have representation from systems (healthcare, education and early life), business, and government. However, we do not have criteria about who should or should not be members.

We will consider proposals from new, emerging or existing coalitions. We understand new or emerging coalitions may still be developing roles, responsibilities and decision-making strategies. We will look for evidence that members of your coalition have a track record of working together to achieve policy wins and a commitment to work together.

Q. How do you determine whether an organization is "led by opportunity communities?" e.g., is there a threshold number of staff, board, grassroots members, etc. that you consider?

Applicants will provide quantitative and qualitative demographic information about the organization and the communities they serve when they submit their Letter of Intent. LOI and full proposal questions also explore this further. Through those responses, we will learn more about how your organization and coalition self-identifies. This may be helpful for some ways folks define their organizational leadership: https://www.northwesthealth.org/definitions.

Q. What do you mean by influencing change at the intersection of health and education?

We understand that issues faced by our communities do not live in single sectors but in fact impact them multiple ways across sectors. Children who experience better health are able to learn better and improving educational outcomes lead to better long-term health. We seek to fund project(s) that can have a positive impact on communities across sectors. We’re also interested in hearing from your communities about how you define this intersection and how your campaign will influence change.

Q. Can the focus of our policy change be local or regional (as opposed to statewide)?

Yes. The scale of funds needed are often smaller for local policy change campaigns. Due to our collective limited funding footprint in southwest Washington, a statewide effort focused in Washington state would likely not be a good fit.

Q. How specific does our policy/systems change need to be?

Focused, but not necessarily specific. We know that when it comes to lobbying elected officials and/or voters, things change based on a host of factors including context, polling, public sentiment, etc. So the specifics of your policy can and should change during the grant period based on all this. But also, you should know generally what you’re trying to do. For instance, you may want to work on making childcare more affordable for low-income families by raising new revenue. That’s specific enough for us, even if you don’t know the revenue mechanism or if you’re looking at a statewide ballot measure, a legislative campaign or even a city/county/metro-based effort. But if you just said broadly, “we want to work on childcare issues,” you’d likely not demonstrate enough specificity to show you were ready to tackle a legislative or ballot measure solution that maximized 501(c)(4) resources within the grant timeline.