Small Grants Program

Small Grants Program is closed for 2021. 


The East Portland Community Office small grants program supports community building and advocacy activities in East Portland. A total of $30,000 is available for this grant cycle. Requested amounts may range from $1,500 - $4,500.

Who Can Apply  for Small Grants?

Any group with a community project that either takes place within East Portland or primarily benefits East Portlanders.  Please see this map of East Portland boundaries: 
Your project must meet at least one of the goals of the grant program. It does not need to meet more than one goal. The goals of the grant program are:
  • Increase the number and diversity of people who are involved and engaged in their communities
  • Strengthen community capacity through, for example, leadership development, skills building, fostering teamwork and/or partnerships, and community building
  • Increase community impact on public decisions

Civic Life will award grant agreements only to registered 501(c) 3 non-profit. If your entity is not registered as such, please seek a fiscal sponsor that is a A) 501(c) 3 non-profit, B) government entity, or C) business that is registered with the City of Portland.

This Small Grants Program highly prioritizes engagement of communities historically underrepresented in and underserved by our programming. First time applicants will be given special consideration.

Requested funds may range from $1,500 up to $4,500.

Applications open on March 10th 
Application form and instructions available here: 
La información, las instrucciones y la solicitud están disponibles aquí:
Информация, инструкции и приложения доступны здесь:

You are strongly encouraged to attend one of the grant information sessions. The session will help answer questions about the application, the review process, and how the funds can be used. Please call seven days in advance for special needs accommodations, childcare, and/or language interpretation requests at 503-823-5905 or TTY 503-823-6868. All locations are mobility device accessible.
Information Session 1                                         March 14th  4:30pm-6:30pm   Cancelled
East Portland Community Office 1017 NE 117th Ave., Portland, Oregon 97220     
(between Halsey & Glisan - foot of the water-tower) TRI-MET: #77, # 71, #25
Information Session - Webinar                           March 21st 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 854 774 045
Information Session - Webinar                           March 28th 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 265 065 607
Update 3/19 - We will be moving all grant info-sessions to a web based platform. These webinars will be recorded and made available to access on this website. Thank you for being patient with us as we work out this process. 
Update 3/21 - The grant info-session webinar powerpoint presentation is available here:

Application Deadline                                           April 13th  5:00pm
Applications may be submitted in any language by email, by mail, or in person to:
Carlee Smith, , 503-823-4550
East Portland Community Office 1017 NE 117th Ave, Portland, OR 97220
Grantees Announced                                          April 30th 
Review panel decisions will be communication via email to all applicants.

Period of performance

Grants will be awarded through a competitive process (see timeline for details) and projects should begin on or after May 1st, 2020 and to be completed by December 31st , 2020

Allowable and unallowable costs

Activities, efforts, and materials needed for the performance of the grant program are generally allowable costs. Costs accrued solely to promote or advance the awardee business or organization may not be eligible for reimbursement.

Unallowable costs include (but are not limited to): some political activities (for example, activities to promote a specific candidate); purchase of cannabis or alcoholic beverages; purchase of real estate. Please check with the grant manager if you have questions about a specific item in your proposed budget.

Minimum requirements to receive Civic Life grants

Civic Life will award grants  agreements only to registered for Any group with a community project that meets the requirements below and at least one of the goals of the grant program can apply. Be a registered 501(c) 3 non-profit. If your entity is not registered as such, please seek or have a fiscal sponsor that is a

A) 501(c) 3 non-profit or

B) be a government entity, or be a

C) business that is registered with the City of Portland

D) have sufficient liability insurance.

Don’t have a fiscal sponsor? Not sure what a fiscal sponsor is?  Not 100% sure your fiscal sponsor meets our requirements? Don’t let that stop a good project. Contact Carlee Smith,, 503-823-4550 as soon as possible to learn about fiscal sponsorship options.

Selected organizations shall obtain and maintain, throughout the duration of the grant the required insurance identified below.

  1. Commercial General Liability. Grantee shall acquire commercial general liability and property damage insurance coverage in an amount not less than $2 million per occurrence.
  2. Automobile Liability. Grantee shall acquire automobile liability insurance to cover bodily injury and property damage in an amount not less than $2 million for each accident.
  3. Workers’ Compensation. Grantee shall acquire workers compensation coverage in an amount not less than $1 million each accident, $1 million disease each employee, and $1 million disease policy limit.

Physical Abuse and Sexual Molestation Liability (required for organizations serving vulnerable clients, such as children, elderly adults, and those with intellectual and developmental difficulties). Coverage shall be written on an occurrence basis in an amount of not less than $1 million per occurrence. Any annual aggregate limit shall not be less than $3 million

Additional support for grant writers
  • Computer and copier available for your use related to the grant application at the East Portland Community Office.
  • Interpretation services are available, as needed, to facilitate our conversation about your project and application.
  • Translation of application materials available upon request. Note - Ask early, translation may take several weeks.

Types of projects funded in the past
Projects that promote leadership development and collective impact on community-defined issues or public decisions - youth empowerment projects, skill building trainings, cultural and language specific civic engagement workshops, community organizing efforts.
Community building activities - Community story-telling projects, cultural and language specific community building activities, fruit tree harvest parties, community festivals, community gatherings, community conversations.
Community design/build place-making projects - community gardens, planning for playgrounds, murals, intersection repairs.
Projects that build the capacity of the project team and foster collaboration between team members and/or partners in the project.
Some projects we have funded in the past include:
  • Tongan Cultureal Performance (2018)
  • Jim Pepper NAtive ARts Festival (2018)
  • Native Plant Classroom (2017)
  • Youth Empowerment Art Project (2017)
  • Myanmar Water Festival (2017)
  • Building Russian Speaking Community thru Art (2016)
  • East African Nutrition and Inclusion Project (2016)
  • Karen Literacy Project (2015)

Sample successful applications from previous years

Additional documents you may find helpful. These will be updated as workshops occur. 
Questions - Contact Carlee Smith 503-823-4550 (office) | 503-823-5905 (mobile) | /epco-small-grants