Grants and Scholarships For Community Causes and Students

Grants & Scholarships
Frequently Asked Questions About Grantmaking

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What does Hawai'i Community Foundation fund?
Currently, our competitive grantmaking is defined around a variety of program areas. Some are targeted to population groups, such as children and youth; some to areas of interest, such as culture and arts, family literacy, and natural resources; and some focus on a specific geographic area, such as Kaua'i or West Hawai'i. The funding priorities reflect those of the many generous and community-spirited individuals, families, and companies that have established funds with the Hawai'i Community Foundation.

Hawai'i Community Foundation Grant Questions

Who is eligible to apply for a grant?
In most cases, only Hawai'i organizations, either as a unit of government or one classified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a 501(c)(3), may apply.

How do I apply for a grant?
Our grantmaking programs accept applications submitted through our Grants Portal. Your organization will need to register and identify a primary Account Contact to manage the account. For more information on how to register for an account on our Grants Portal, please see our Applicant User Guide.

Can I apply for more than one grant program?
Yes, as long as your project meets the specified guidelines for each. Certain private foundations have different guidelines.

What is a Funding Opportunity and where can I find open Funding Opportunities?
A Funding Opportunity describes a grantmaking program and the information a grant seeker needs to include in an application for funding through the indicated program. Please read the Funding Opportunity guidelines for each application you are submitting as requirements vary between programs. All current and past funding opportunities are posted on the Open Applications page of our website and can be found in our Grants Portal under “Open Funding Opportunities.”

What is an RFP and where can I find it?
RFP stands for Request for Proposal. An RFP describes a contractual program and the information a potential vendor needs to include in a competitive application for the contract. Please read the guidelines for each application you are submitting as requirements vary between contract programs. All RFPs and Grant Funding Opportunities for current and past calls are posted on the Open Applications page of our website and can be found in our Grants Portal under “Open Funding Opportunities.”

When are applications due?
Some grantmaking programs have regularly scheduled deadlines for submission. Please view the Grants Calendar. Other programs have "rolling deadlines" and are reviewed more frequently throughout the year.

Other than grants, what does Hawai'i Community Foundation support?
Hawai'i Community Foundation programs also include training and leadership development opportunities, some of which have competitive processes.

What does the Hawai‘i Community Foundation generally not fund?

  • Endowments
  • Loans
  • Individuals (with the exception of the scholarships program)
  • Large capital projects (with rare exceptions)
  • Funding after an event has occurred
  • Organizations, programs, or activities that do not comply with HCF’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Hate Policy.

What is the Hawai‘i Community Foundation Non-Discrimination and Anti-Hate Policy Concerning Grantmaking?
HCF strives to provide grants to qualified grantees in accordance with sound grantmaking practices and federal and state laws.

HCF will not illegally discriminate in its grantmaking, and will not knowingly make grants or provide funding to organizations, programs, or other activities that illegally discriminate in any way, on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity (as defined in paragraph 249(c)(4) of title 18, United States Code), sexual orientation, marital or parental status, political affiliation, military service, physical or mental ability, or any other protected characteristics.

HCF may, however, limit eligible grant applicants if it is for a clearly articulated charitable and programmatic purpose or supports a specifically defined vulnerable population.

HCF also will not knowingly make grants or provide funding to organizations or programs that engage in hateful activities including, but not limited to, activities that incite or engage in violence, intimidation, harassment, or threats targeting an individual or group based on any of the characteristics listed above. These activities are contrary to HCF’s mission and its charitable status. HCF will not accept funds from donors or make grants to organizations or programs that HCF believes, in its sole discretion, is intended to or has the appearance of supporting or engaging in discrimination or hateful activities. HCF will perform the appropriate due diligence to ensure discriminatory and hateful activities are identified and do not receive HCF support.


Grants Portal & Application Questions

I’d like to access the Grants Portal. Can I check to see if my organization already has a Grants Portal account?
Yes, we recommend that you check first to see if your organization already has an account. As part of or transition to this new system, we set up accounts for our existing users. If your organization has applied to the Hawai‘i Community Foundation within the last 7 years, your organization might already have an account on the Grants Portal.

  1. Go to the Login page and click “Register” to see the “Registration Options”.
  2. Select the first option, “Organization Contact”.
  3. This will take you to a form where you can search for your organization name in our system.
  4. If you find your organization’s name, you can then proceed to sign up as an Organization Contact. If you don’t find your organization’s name, you will need to set up a new account for your organization. Return to Registration Options to view the other options.

What do we do if our primary Account Contact has left our organization?
Your primary Account Contact has an important role in activating new contacts for your organization. Should this person leave this role, be sure to assign a new primary Account Contact for your organization.

If your organization has multiple contacts, they can update the primary Account Contact through these steps:

  1. Log in
  2. Click “Organization Profile”
  3. Click the “Contact Information” tab
  4. Select the new Account Contact from the dropdown list.

If your new Account Contact does not already have an account or your organization has only one contact, please register the new Account Contact using the “Organization Contact” option. Then submit a support ticket so that HCF staff may activate the new Account Contact for your organization. If not, your new Account Contact will be unable to access the account.

I have a current grant with HCF, why do I not see it listed on my Applicant Portal?
As of 1/18/2022, as HCF continues to make its transition to the new Grants Portal, you may not see your current active grants with HCF. These grants will be imported once we complete the transition later in 2023. If you need to request changes or submit reports for any active grants that do not currently appear in your Applicant Portal, please contact the staff on your original Grant Award Letter.

Why does the system require me to log in after I hit the back button in my browser?
Since the Grants Portal is a self-contained application, we recommend that you use the arrow in the top left corner below the HCF logo to toggle back within the system. If you click the dropdown arrow next to the back button, you will be able to see a dropdown of previous pages to access.
If you click the back button on your browser, the application may interpret this as returning to the screen you were on prior to accessing the system, therefore logging you out.

I am trying to submit an application, but the system says my organization has an overdue final report. What do I do?
Communicate with your organization’s primary Account Contact or the user with the overdue report at your organization and request that they submit their final reports or submit a no-cost extension amendment through the portal if required.

I cannot submit an application until I recertify my organization profile. How do I do this?
We require annual recertification for all organizations. This allows you to keep your organization information up to date, including financials, staff, location, etc. Please follow the Applicant User Guide instructions to complete this recertification.

How will I know if my application has been received?
You will receive an email from HCF, acknowledging your submittal. The email will reference your application ID number, which will be used to track your application over time.

What happens once I submit my application?
An application is reviewed and acted on by either HCF staff or volunteer advisory boards. The following are samples of the basic questions considered:

  • Does the program meet Hawai'i Community Foundation funding criteria or goals?
  • Does the organization have the expertise and capacity to carry out the program?
  • Does the program appear to be viable?
  • If the program is ongoing, are there sources for future funding?

You may be contacted for revisions if necessary.

I received an email requesting revisions for a submitted application. How do I complete these?
Log in to the Grants Portal and find the application in question under the “In Progress” section of the My Applications Tracker at the bottom of your portal. Review the annotations on the left-hand navigation pane and complete as requested. For more detailed instructions, please look at the revisions section of the Applicant User Guide.

When will I be notified of a decision?
Typically, you will be notified within three months of a proposal deadline. Specific deadlines are also included in the grant guidelines for each program.

What will I receive from Hawai'i Community Foundation?
You will be notified by email of your application decision. Please contact the staff person noted in your email if you have questions about the decision that is made.

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