Grant Applications

The Children’s Support League (CSL) is a philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting non-profit organizations serving children. Every year, CSL provides a limited number of grants to a variety of programs that benefit children. Click here to see a list of last year’s grant recipients.

Our grant application is by invitation only. CSL accepts unsolicited requests for a Grant application throughout the year from non-profit 501(c) (3) organizations, and in January of each year, the Grants Committee invites selected agencies to apply.


Our grant decisions are guided by our mission: To improve the lives of children in our community. CSL’s goals are to keep children safe, support their families, enhance their intellectual, emotional and physical well-being, and enrich their lives. CSL’s main fundraising event, The Heart of the Home Tour, takes place in April each year.

Grant Size

The net proceeds from our major fundraising event are the determining factor in the number of grants and the size of grants CSL is able to make. Our grant awards typically range in size from $3,000 to $10,000. We award grants to agencies where an award of this size will have a significant impact.

Funding Approach

Given our relatively small grant size (in relation to government and large foundation awards), we are especially looking for ways in which an organization can use our flexible funds to make an important difference in their ability to fulfill their mission. Guided by this approach, we may fund programs or portions of programs not covered by other funders, or in some instances, we may also fund specific administrative or one-time costs if the need is compelling.

Selection Process and Criteria

CSL is interested in creative approaches to solving problems related to the children in our community.

We distribute funds through a competitive, two-stage process to a variety of non-profit agencies that benefit disadvantaged children, newborn to age 18, in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. We accept one-page Letters of Interest (read instructions below) any time during the year. In early March, we select a number of those letters and invite full applications which are due April 30.

In both the Letter of Interest and the full application, we pay close attention to a 501(c)(3) non-profit or government agency’s self-sufficiency, potential access to other sources of funding, size of population served, relative importance of the social need that the organization addresses, and impact on children served. CSL strives to distribute its resources to a wide cross section of organizations that address different social needs and that serve children of different age groups and in different geographical areas.

We do not fund agencies that promote political or religious views and interests.

CSL does not promise ongoing support to programs previously funded. Applications from organizations receiving previous support from CSL will be judged as new requests and evaluated in relation to other submitted applications.

Current Funding Period

July 2016 to June 2017

Letters of Interest (LOIs)

CSL welcomes LOIs from non-profit organizations serving children in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. E-mail your LOI to by December 31 of the previous Funding Period.

Please provide the following information in your one-page request:

1. A description of your agency including a description of your key programs.

2. The grant amount requested and the purpose of those funds. If you are requesting funds to support a program or project, include a description of the program or project, including the number of children to be served, the children’s age group, and the priority needs of the children to be served. If requesting funds for non-programmatic needs, such as planning or administration or one-time costs, be sure to describe those needs and why they are compelling to be funded by CSL.

3. The annual operating budget for your proposed project and for your agency and your current, top sources of revenue.

4. The contact person’s name, address, telephone and email.

Although Grant recipients from the last two funding cycles do not need to resubmit an LOI, prior funding does not guarantee an invitation for the current funding cycle. CSL will conduct a preliminary screening of prospective organizations and invite selected agencies who best fit our priorities to apply. CSL will only review full applications that are submitted from agencies that have received an invitation.

Grant Applications

Agencies that have been invited to apply must complete a Grant Application and submit the designated supporting documents. Click on the forms below to download the necessary documents:

Grant Application Instructions (2016 version)

Grant Application Form (2016 version)

Grants Certification

Grants Progress Report

Grants End of Year Report

Deadlines Update

Agencies who wish to request a grant application must e-mail a Letter of Interest by December 31 for the current funding period. Letters of Interest received after the due date will be considered for the subsequent funding cycle.

If your agency has been invited to apply, CSL must receive your Grant Application electronically at on or before the end of April.

Timing of Awards

Grant applicants will be notified of CSL’s awards decision by late June. Awards will be mailed to grant recipients in mid-June of the funding year.

Contacting the Grants Committee

If you have any questions about CSL’s grant application process, the best way to reach the Grants Committee is by e-mail at You may also leave a voicemail message in CSL’s general mail box at (510) 338-4521. A Committee member will respond to you as promptly as possible.

The Grants Committee will do its utmost to respond to your comments and questions in a timely fashion. Please note, however, that the Grants Committee is inactive during July through mid-September.