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Community Grantmaking

WCF / Nonprofit Partnerships / Community Grantmaking


Whatcom Community Foundation is investing in the important work of our community and nonprofit partners to help our neighbors flourish.

2024 Youth Philanthropy Grants for Youth Mental Health & Homelessness

The Youth Philanthropy Project helps high school students develop personal and professional skills needed by the next generation of community leaders. With staff support, students form a leadership committee to review grant proposals and make funding decisions. They learn about local issues affecting Whatcom County and distribute funding that benefits environmentally focused organizations.

The 2024 grant round provided funding up to $5,000 for local projects positively impacting youth experiencing homelessness and/or struggling with their mental health.

Click here to see a listing of the 2024 Youth Philanthropy Grantees.

2024 Fund for Whatcom County Grant Round: Health & Wellness of the Nonprofit Sector

What would life look like here without our essential nonprofit sector? Where would we go for culture and entertainment, to adopt animals, to find affordable and supportive housing, to feed our families, to get healthcare, to heal and care for the environment, to exercise, to support our oldest and youngest humans, or to learn? How else could we all help to care for our whole community in innumerable ways?

Nonprofit staff members are our community’s frontline community builders, showing resiliency and creativity in serving our communities and staying afloat during the unprecedented challenges we’ve all experienced in the last five years.

The Whatcom Community Foundation’s first Health & Wellness Grant Round offered mini grants ($1,000 – $10,000) to address some of the issues of staff fatigue, turnover and burnout that are currently pervasive throughout the nonprofit sector.

As of February 2024, the Whatcom Community Foundation has awarded $345,500 in grants to 55 local organizations to support a wide-range of creative and fundamental needs. Requests ranged from support from updated office furniture to supporting staff training and engagement activities.

Learn more about our 2024 Health & Wellness grantees:

2023 Project Neighborly Grants

Project Neighborly grants are for people with great ideas of how we can all become better neighbors by connecting people who would not normally come together. They are intended to spark ideas and make the necessary resources available to bring them to life. We believe that enthusiasm for more neighborly communities, from the water to the mountains and between our international and county borders, combined with energy and ingenuity will result in more area residents being neighborly – kind, considerate and helpful – to everyone they meet. Success means more and better relationships communitywide and, a happier, healthier place for everyone.

This year Whatcom Community Foundation’s Project Neighborly grant round is funding for 30 projects across Whatcom County. Activities supported include projects in Lynden, Point Roberts, Ferndale, Deming, South Fork Valley, Happy Valley, Columbia Neighborhood, Birchwood, Lettered Streets, Lummi Island, Kendall, Sudden Valley, Blaine, King Mountain, and County and Bellingham-wide!

Click here to see a listing of the 2023 Project Neighborly Grantees.

2023 Youth Philanthropy Grants for the Environment

The Youth Philanthropy Project helps high school students develop personal and professional skills needed by the next generation of community leaders. With staff support, students form a leadership committee to review grant proposals and make funding decisions. They learn about local issues affecting Whatcom County and distribute funding that benefits environmentally focused organizations. This grant round provides funding up to $5,000 for environmentally focused projects.

Click here to see a listing of the 2023 Youth Philanthropy Grantees.

2023 Fund for Whatcom County Grant Round: Youth Mental Health

The Fund for Whatcom County is our lead grantmaking fund. Our team considers the biggest opportunities and needs in the community and offers local organizations working on solutions the opportunity to apply for project and/or operational support.

This year, the Community Foundation prioritized Child and Youth Mental Health in its Fund for Whatcom County grant round. The data is alarming. For example: In a class of 30 Whatcom County 10th graders, 21 are dealing with anxiety; 12 are dealing with depression; 6 have contemplated suicide, 5 have made a suicide plan; 2 have attempted suicide. (Healthy Youth Survey 2021).

In February 2023, the Community Foundation Board of Directors approved nearly $400,000 in support from both the Funds for Whatcom County and various Field of Interest Funds, in order to increase award availability.

2022 Fund for Whatcom County Grantees

Recent Youth Philanthropy Project Grantees

Resilience Fund Grantees

Disaster Response & Recovery

We’ve deployed more than $2.638 million to address the urgent impacts of the flooding events of November 2021.  We are grateful to live in a place with strong community partners that stepped up and pivoted services to meet needs of our neighbors over the last year.

COVID/Pandemic Grant funding supported their exceptionally rapid and caring responses here in Whatcom County, including:

Food Security- Alleviating hunger, increasing local food supply and addressing access to healthy food  
Food Banks/Pantries: Bellingham, Blaine, Ferndale, Project Hope, Salvation Army, and Nooksack Valley
Common Threads Farm
Whatcom County Council on Aging

Housing – Stable, safe, supportive housing for people in crisis or facing financial hardship 
Interfaith Coalition
Lydia Place
Mercy Housing Northwest
Northwest Youth Services
YWCA Bellingham
Real Change for Whatcom County

Mental and Physical Health – Affordable, accessible, safe, and comprehensive care during COVID-19 and beyond 
Compass Health
Lifeline Connections
SeaMar Community Health Center
Unity Care Northwest
Alzheimer Society of Washington/Dementia Northwest
ARC of Whatcom County
Max Higbee Center
Pioneer Human Services
Hearing Speech and Deaf Center
Whatcom Family and Community Network

Essential Workers – Assisting farmworkers in meeting housing, safety, health, food and basic needs 
Institute for Washington’s Future/Community to Community Development
Catholic Community Services
Washington Immigration Solidarity Network
Colectiva Legal Del Pueblo

Safety, Violence and Abuse Prevention – Preventing violence, addressing conflict, and providing resources, referrals and assistance during crisis 
Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services
Law Advocates
Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center
Brigid Collins House
Office Moms and Dads

Economic, Employment and Education Supports – Addressing growing barriers and stresses of students, workers, businesses and job-seekers  
Downtown Bellingham Partnership
Seattle Goodwill Industries
Whatcom Literacy Council
Northwest Alliance for College Access/Futures Northwest
Ferndale Community Service Cooperative
Learning Assistance Program through Lummi Youth Academy

Childcare – Safe, caring, supportive learning and engagement for our younger community members 
Bellingham Childcare & Learning Center
Whatcom Center for Early Learning
Whatcom Family YMCA
Opportunity Council
Whatcom Coalition for Environmental Education in partnership with Blaine, Mt. Baker and Bellingham Public School Districts

What our Nonprofit Partners are saying about the 2024 Health & Wellness Grants ...

“When I shared news of this grant opportunity with our program manager in Whatcom County, we both did a double-take – the chance to focus on our staff’s well-being? It’s like discovering a unicorn in the grant world!”

“Our staff have shown up for members through dark and difficult times, and often while staff members themselves are experiencing grief and hardship. We know that to take care of others, you must first take care of yourself. This grant takes a refreshing angle on how to bolster an organization’s programs and mission by caring for its staff members who are tasked with an incredibly difficult job that seems to be more taxing each year.”

“It has been a unique and welcome experience to apply for this grant. Thus far, in my 9-year career, I have written grants that solely focus on the needs of the clients we serve without much consideration for the needs of the staff members who provide the important services that are foundational to our community. I understand that there is limited funding, and the work of nonprofits often entails needs that go far beyond available funding and require comprehensive, systemic change to address root problems. However, in order to address root issues, we cannot solely shine a light on the needs of one person (a client) while the needs of another person (a staff member) remain invisible and neglected. Thank you for creating an opportunity to shift the light and care for the caregivers.”

“We are genuinely grateful for the Whatcom Community Foundation’s dedicated of significant resources towards helping to address and alleviate the building pressures of fatigue and burnout that we have seen grow so significantly over recent years, and fully support these efforts to support the nonprofit organizations that help make Whatcom County such a wonderful place for us all to call home.”

“We know that, to do this physically and emotionally demanding work day-in-and-out, staff need supports and strategies to maintain their health and wellness.  Our goals are that each individual feels seen, cared and planned for, welcomed, and sustained as they do this work for the long-term.  Our goals with the full amount of this grant are to provide a staff training day and a menu of wellness options to choose a personalized item or experience they believe would improve or sustain their mental health.”