Applying for a Grant
The Ronald W. Naito MD Foundation supports local, national, and international initiatives in the following categories: climate, health equity, and sustainable communities. We also support Oregon-based arts and education organizations. There is clear overlap between our funding priorities: we embrace that intersectionality and understand that organizations often work across multiple priorities.
We offer unrestricted grants, mostly ranging from $5,000-$40,000. We occasionally fund smaller and larger requests, and we are moving toward more multi-year grants. We try to keep a balance between organizations providing frontline services and organizations working to create and advocate for systemic solutions.
For our nonprofit partners, we try to keep our application and reporting forms straightforward: we don’t want you to be distracted from fulfilling your mission by complicated forms.
Within the capacity of our staff of one, we value partnership and contact: we welcome you to reach out to us with ideas, questions, suggestions, and opportunities. We hope to have the chance to meet with you and thank you for your work.
Before you consider applying, please read about our funding trends and grant eligibility below, as well as our pages for relevant funding priorities: Climate, Health Equity, Sustainable Communities, and Oregon Arts & Education.
Please read the information below and reach out if you have any questions:
Grant Cycle Timelines
Currently, we have two cycles per year. We try to keep each phase of our cycle open for around a month, so that you shouldn’t have to wait for longer than three-ish months after LOIs close for a decision. We schedule our cycles so that funding will be received before organizations’ June and December fiscal years close, but you are welcome to apply for whichever cycle makes the most sense for your needs (as long as you do not have a current grant with us).
Winter/Spring Cycle 2024
January 10: LOIs open
February 12: LOIs close, 5pm Pacific time
March 19: Selected organizations invited to submit full application.
April 5: Grant reports due from spring 2023 cycle, 5pm Pacific time.
April 19: Full applications close, 5pm Pacific time
May 22: Grants announced. Checks will be mailed within ten business days (pending received grant agreement).
Summer/Fall Cycle 2024
July 22: LOIs open
August 23: LOIs close, 5pm Pacific
September 23: Selected organizations invited to submit full application.
October 25: Grant reports due from fall 2023 cycle, 5pm Pacific time.
October 23: Full applications close, 5pm Pacific
November 25: Grants announced. Checks will be mailed within ten business days (pending received grant agreement).
All grant cycles are open to the public. Please know that we are working continually to make our funding more responsive and accessible. We welcome feedback and suggestions.
Current Funding Trends
- Nonprofits that work internationally or domestically outside of Oregon, including regional and national organizations
- Climate crisis mitigation, especially aggressive efforts to curtail or prevent new greenhouse gas emissions
- International health equity initiatives and health equity initiatives addressing aging and supporting elders
- Systemic initiatives and advocacy/policy work in any of our funding priorities
If you work in these areas and are eligible within our funding priorities and restrictions, please consider applying.
- Arts initiatives
- Oregon frontline nonprofits across all sectors
- Frontline services
We value these types of work and still seek applications from these categories, but applicants may find these categories slightly more competitive if current trends continue.
Please see specific funding priorities for more information on trends and over-/under-representation.
Past grant recipients are eligible to reapply as long as their grant term will have expired by when funding will be issued and as long as their final report has been submitted when we begin application review (not when we begin LOI review). For example, if you received a one-year grant in Fall 2023, you are eligible to apply again in Summer/Fall 2024, as long as you have submitted your final report by the report due date.
We tend not to fund organizations with annual budgets over $20 million, although there are some exceptions. We often fund grassroots initiatives. We fund larger organizations ($10m+ budgets) only if they primarily are resource, advocacy, policy, movement-building; if they are regranting organizations; or if they work beyond the local/statewide level (regional, national, international). We also occasionally fund larger organizations working across multiple regions or countries to provide lasting frontline interventions.
To be eligible for Ronald W. Naito MD Foundation funding, your organization must:
- Be a Section 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization that is classified as a public charity under Section 509(a) 1 or 2 of the United States tax code or have a fiscal sponsor with documented Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
- Have an office or affiliate office within the United States and a US EIN. (Foreign organizations with active US-equivalency determinations may also be considered.)
- Comply with Ronald W. Naito MD Foundation’s anti-discrimination policy that ensures it does not grant to organizations that discriminate based on race, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, disability, marital status, genetic information, veteran status, or other factors protected by law.
What We Won’t Fund
In order to meet IRS rules for private foundations, and to ensure impactful and equitable grantmaking, we will not consider grant requests from:
- Organizations whose primary constituents are not under-resourced (save in climate, which we regard of global impact). To us, “under-resourced” includes many rural communities, as well as people impacted by racial, gender, orientation, income, age, health, ability, and other biases.
- Organizations that require clients to meet certain mandates to access services (mandated “volunteering” or classes, proof of employment/job-seeking, membership dues, high barrier shelters, faith requirements or proselytizing, etc.).
- Organizations with messaging or practices that are othering or exclusionary.
- Primarily government-, corporate-, member-, or industry-funded nonprofits, except when there is a specific request that can’t be funded through normal means.
- Memorial or endowment campaigns; deficit reduction; debt retirement; or capital projects with budgets over $1 million.
- Fraternal organizations, service clubs, labor organizations, neighborhood associations, merchant associations, chambers of commerce, etc.
- Section 501(c)4 or (c)6 organizations or 509(a)3 supporting organizations; political organizations or organizations designed primarily to lobby or advance legislation or political candidates
- Private foundations (in limited circumstances, private operating foundations may be acceptable)
- Programs operated by religious organizations for religious purposes
- Other faith-based organizations, including frontline service providers espousing or based in particular faith traditions. Note: We will consider supporting history, heritage, educational, and cultural organizations or projects that explain or interpret a religious community’s experience or traditions as long as that community is historically marginalized and as long as the organization is open to the public, non-proselytizing, and not based in a school or house of worship.
- Any cause from which our trustees or their family or business partners would benefit financially, professionally, educationally, or otherwise
- Any other activities or organizations for which support would violate IRS regulations governing private foundations.
- Impact investment opportunities through our grants. If you think we should invest in you, please reach out separately.
Application Process: How to Apply
Once you have reviewed eligibility requirements and restrictions (above), and once you have read the relevant funding area page, please follow our submission process:
- Go to our grant application site.
- Log in with your existing account or set up a new account. Note: Please double-check with colleagues that an existing account does not already exist before you create a new one. (We suggest a monitored transferable login – for example, grants@[yourorganization.org] – so new users don’t have to be added when staff transitions happen.)
- Fill out and submit an LOI. If you would like a Word copy to work in offline, it is available here. All LOIs must be submitted through our online platform, however. It’s a straightforward form.
- Once we have reviewed your LOI, we will let you know if you’ve made it through to the full application stage. If you have, you can access the main grant application through the same site. (Sometimes returning applicants receive our fast-track process, which means that we’ll only ask for a few additional documents from you but otherwise will consider funding you from your LOI alongside others’ full applications. We’ll let you know if that’s the case.)
- Once you’re logged in, click “edit application.” Draft your application (it will auto-save as long as you’re connected to the internet), and attach the requested documents. If you would like a Word copy of the application to work in offline, it is available here. All applications must be submitted through our system, however. (Note: if you lack any of these documents, please reach out: we may be able to waive certain requirements.)
- When you are finished with your application, please go back through to make sure you have ticked all the relevant boxes and filled in all the mandatory fields. We strongly suggest you save your application elsewhere before you submit it.
- Select “Submit.” You will receive an email confirmation that your application has been received. (NOTE: We encourage you to submit early, as late submissions will only be accepted in extraordinary circumstances.)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are some frequently asked questions. If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for here, you are welcome to email email@example.com.
What types of grant requests do you fund?
Our grants are unrestricted and can be used for general operating, program/project, capacity building, capital requests (for projects with budgets under $1m), endowment, seed funding, etc. We do ask you in the application to anticipate the funds’ likely uses, although we know contingencies arise and their use may change. We don’t privilege program or other categories above general operating requests: we are firm believers that you know best what your needs are. We don’t fund debt retirement and a few other categories–please check our eligibility criteria (above).
Is my organization/project a good candidate for funding from RWN Foundation?
To find out whether your proposal is a good fit for our grants, we would encourage you to read about our individual funding areas (under the “Grants” menu), our eligibility requirements (above) and the rest of this page, and also read Who We Are and look through our Grants History. If these resources don’t help answer your questions, you are welcome to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We don’t want you to spend your valuable time on a LOI if you’re not a good fit for our priorities, so we would love to learn more. If you can, please reach out well in advance of our LOI deadline: we only have one staff person.
We are not a 501(c)3. Can we still apply?
Yes, in some circumstances. We do require that our grant is channeled to you through fiscal sponsor with 501(c)3 status, and we will need an MOU between your organization and your fiscal sponsor before we can decide upon your application. Please note that if you are applying via a fiscal sponsor, we cannot accept a general operating request from you: we need a restricted request from you to ensure that your project receives and uses the funding. We do not fund individuals in any scenario, regardless of fiscal sponsorship.
We are not a US nonprofit. Can we still apply?
Yes, if you have an office or affiliate office within the United States and a US EIN, or if you have an NGO Source equivalency determination. You’re welcome to reach to email@example.com with questions, although fair warning that we are still learning how to navigate this space as well and that we may not have immediate answers for you!
We are a faith-based organization. Can we apply for one of our programs?
You may apply for one of your programs as long as the program itself is secular, does not prosthelytize or witness to clients (including in its branding), and meets our anti-discrimination standards, meaning that you accept people of all faiths, genders, sexual orientations, and other protected classes to use this program without bias or judgment.
Our budget exceeds $20 million. Can we talk to you about applying?
You are welcome to send us an email or submit an LOI. We occasionally consider some bigger organizations, particularly if it is for a cause that we deem urgent or if it is for a particular project in which a grant of our size might make a difference.
If our 501(c)3 organization engages in lobbying, are we eligible to apply for RWN Foundation funding?
Yes, provided that you meet our eligibility requirements, but none of our grant funds can be used for lobbying.
This is my first grant application and/or my first grant application to RWN Foundation. Can someone review my LOI/application before I submit it?
First of all, don’t panic: we know that people have varying levels of experience in grantwriting, and also that everyone makes mistakes. We also know that some organizations have paid grantwriters and some don’t have professional fundraisers at all: we try to focus on your actual work and not the way your grant is written.
You are welcome to reach out to us with any questions you have. (We will also be adding some grantwriting resources to this site, too.) If there is a question we have during application review or if we spot an error, we will try to reach out to you for a clarification/correction.
I missed a final report deadline. What do I do?
If you missed a final report deadline, please just get in touch. We’ll figure it out.
Can I apply for your arts and education funding if our nonprofit is headquartered outside of Oregon?
Not at this time. Our arts and education funding goes to organizations that are based in and serve Oregonians.
How do I determine how much I should request from RWN Foundation?
There are no hard and fast rules. We prefer to be neither your largest funder nor your smallest (institutional) funder. In some cases, we have granted to small or start-up organizations where we are the largest or first institutional funder, so as to encourage other funders’ investments. We try to be attentive to “tipping” concerns: please read up on the public support test if you’re concerned that a grant might be too big. (Here is a good place to start.)
If we fund you, we might not fund your full request, so please be prepared to adapt accordingly. We enjoy capacity building requests and requests that use our funds to magnify/leverage other funding sources (matching campaigns, collaborations, etc.), but we equally enjoy supporting general operations. We mean it when we say that our grants are unrestricted–we’re most interested in your mission and in the impact our grants can have against your organizational or project budget.
What is your process if we are awarded a grant?
You will be sent an electronic grant agreement through our grants portal for e-signature. Once you’ve submitted that, we will send you your grant funds by check (we are looking into digital funding methods and may be able to offer them in the future) within two weeks (usually much sooner) of receiving your agreement.
We may check in with you during the year for an informal site visit (telephonically or in person based on your consent and convenience). Our reporting requirements are minimal: unless you have a multi-year grant, we only require one report from you, due roughly 11 months after you receive your grant. If you need an extension, no problem.
We’d love to meet you in person. Is that possible?
We’d love to meet with you, too. We have lots to learn. We welcome invitations, but if we can’t accept, please don’t assume it’s out of disinterest. We have only four trustees, located in three states, and one staff person–it may just be a matter of bandwidth!
We may occasionally contact grantees to request a site visit (either via video or in person). If your organization is selected, we will work with you to find a convenient time (or to postpone it if work is too hectic–we understand). Our site visits are low-key conversations: our goal is to not be too burdensome, and to listen and learn. We’re always grateful for your time and expertise.
Do you offer emergency funding opportunities?
On rare occasion for a widespread issue.
For example, in mid-March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic settled in, we reached out to all of our 2019-2020 grantees to convert their remaining grants to flexible funding for use however most needed. And we granted $200,000 in emergency funds to four different responsive funding coalitions: the Oregon Worker Relief Fund/Oregon Worker Relief Infrastructure Fund, MRG Foundation’s Since Time Immemorial Fund, First Nations Development Institute’s native communities Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund, and the Women’s Foundation of Oregon’s Covid-19 Rapid Response Fund. We also granted twice as much in 2020 and 2021 as we had initially budgeted.
Similarly, we gave some discretionary grants to reproductive justice organizations in the wake of the the fall of Roe v. Wade and continue to fund attentively in the reproductive justice space.
For organizations with whom we have an established relationship, we may occasionally consider organization-specific emergency funding within the confines of our normal grant ranges ($5k-$40k). Please reach out to discuss.
Are your values as a foundation in alignment with ours as a nonprofit?
You can read more about our values on our “Who We Are” page. Our foundation was started by a medical doctor whose wealth came from a Japanese-American mercantile and property business, rather than from exploitative industries. Our investments align with our values: our corpus is entirely comprised of ESG investments and impact investing.