Community Development Grant Program

When people talk about what was destroyed in the Camp Fire, they often talk about places that were symbolic of the region. Opening the town’s outdoor ice rink for the holidays and lighting the Christmas tree, for example, wasn’t done to make money. It was done to provide some small sense of joyous routine.

It’s natural to mourn what was lost, but it’s also natural to almost immediately talk about restoring what was destroyed, whether it’s a community center, a museum, or a historic landmark. These places attract visitors, of course, but more often they attract locals and contribute to a unique sense of place.

The Butte Strong Fund hopes to identify places that are near and dear to the community’s spirit. When parks, trails, community centers, museums and other gathering places come back, and when community parades and celebrations return, it will restore a sense of normalcy and hope.

We will work with the public, nonprofit, and private sectors to invest in strategic rebuilding/relocating projects, or initiatives that are considered central to community spirit and provide a sense of place.

While this program area is still being developed and solutions identified, we will consider funding the following areas, and more may be added over time.

  • Select historic landmarks considered symbols or symbolic of the recovery effort.

  • Projects that tell the story of the Camp Fire for generations to come.

  • Projects that draw people in from out of region (help bring revitalization/tourism).

  • Solutions providing gathering place for future fires or provide fire breaks in vulnerable areas based on expert reports.

  • Projects that are central to recovery, inspire hope, or commemorative in nature. o Projects which contain elements of resiliency, which are central to community spirit and recovery.

Grant Funding Amounts

Average grant awards for this area will be $50,000-$150,000 and range in duration from one to three years.

If you are considering approaching the foundation with an ask greater than $150K, please reach out to your program officer to discuss your potential project prior to submission. Requests greater than $150K will be considered on an invitation-only basis.


  1. Tax Status: Be qualified as a tax-exempt public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, be fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3), or be classified as a unit of local government (including public schools). Qualified entities include churches that serve congregations of at least 100 people and the proposed projects or programs that are not denomination specific and meet the specific criteria. Other organizations may also propose projects that meet the specific criteria but may be required to partner with a 501(c)(3) entity.

  2. Non-Discrimination: Organizations must offer access to programs and services without discrimination based on age, race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or religious belief.

  3. Geography: Programs and projects must clearly benefit Butte County residents who have been directly and/or indirectly impacted by the Camp Fire.

  4. Use of Funds: Our funds are deployed strategically where other sources of funding are not available. As much as possible, we leverage our grants by first tapping into federal and state aid programs and insurance. The project must not supplant public funding or fill gaps that the government and/or private insurance have committed to provide.

  5. Restrictions: The Butte Strong Fund will not consider grant requests for fundraising events, annual funds, endowment funds, political lobbying, individuals, or activities that are restricted to members of a faith community. Grant funds cannot be used to purchase land.

  6. Frequency: Eligible entities may not apply for more than one grant for the same program or project within a 12-month period.

Selection Criteria 

Projects and initiatives will be evaluated by the following selection criteria, and priority given to those that most strongly meet the following criteria:

  1. Access and Equity – Proposals must be able to demonstrate equitable access to vulnerable populations. Projects that creates opportunities for lower-income households particularly those that include seniors or children; individuals with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities; and/or populations that lack access to federal or state recovery resources or reside in isolated areas with limited services will be prioritized.

  2. Camp Fire Connection – Projects that directly benefit those most impacted by the Camp Fire will be prioritized.

  3. Demonstrable Impact – The project’s approach (design, delivery, and staffing) is tailored to meet the specific needs of the target population(s) and has a reasonable timeline for implementation. Projects that result in significant outputs and outcomes – either through addressing a broad range of the community need and/or resulting in an enduring positive impact for individuals and households – will be prioritized. What does it mean for the community? How many people do you anticipate would benefit from the project? What would happen if the project didn’t get done? Describe the need for the community this project fills.

  4. Collaboration — Projects that partner with other organizations and stakeholders to maximize impact and minimize duplication are desired. Organizations with strong track records of collaboration will be prioritized.

  5. Organizational Capacity – Applicants need to demonstrate their capacity to implement the proposed project in terms of leadership, staffing expertise, and financial health.

  6. Leverage & Sustainability —The project is supported by a diversity of funding sources and/or has the capacity to leverage additional sources. It is financially feasible with a realistic and viable strategy for sustainability through other ongoing, sources. The Butte Strong Fund will not consider projects in which it would be the sole funder.

To review to full Community Development Grant Program guidelines, click here.

Grant Inquiry 

To predetermine eligibility, the representative for the applying organization must submit a grant inquiry (also referred to as an LOI). Inquiries will be evaluated and are generally responded to within 30-45 days of the deadline. If the proposal fits Butte Strong Fund priorities and guidelines, you will be invited to submit a more detailed application.

Cycle Dates

Two cycles are currently planned for 2020. The second round is dependent on budget and the amount of funds granted during the first round.

  • First Grant Inquiry Deadline (LOI): March 15th, 2020. Note: The Grant Inquiry Deadline has passed. The application will reopen in June 2020 for the second round (dependent on the budget and amount of funds granted during the first round.) 

  • Second Grant Inquiry Deadline (LOI): August 15th, 2020

Grant inquiries received after the first deadline will be held and reviewed after the 2nd cycle closing date.


Applications to the Community Development Grant Program are currently closed.