Guidelines & FAQs

Download and Print: FFF Grant Guidelines & Frequently Asked Questions




December 2022


About First Fed Foundation:

First Fed Foundation (formerly First Federal Community Foundation) is a private 501(c)(3) charitable corporation launched in 2015 with a generous gift of stock and cash valued at nearly $12 million from the parent company of First Fed, when the bank was converted to a publicly traded company. With this gift, First Fed made clear its commitment to continue its 100-year tradition of supporting the communities in which it does business.

In that same spirit, First Fed Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the communities in which First Fed maintains full-service branches.

Committed to creating broad impact, the Foundation has contributed more than $6 million since 2015 to qualified nonprofit, tribal, and government organizations that provide community support, address homelessness and the availability of and access to affordable housing, and deliver economic and community development projects in Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, and Whatcom Counties. In fall 2022, the Foundation made its first grant to benefit community members in the city of Bellevue, Washington.


Who is eligible for funding from First Fed Foundation?

Tax-exempt organizations under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3), including public charities as described in IRC 509(a)(1)-(4) and 170(b)-(c). Government units, school districts, and tribes are also eligible to receive grants from the Foundation.


Will the Foundation award grants to fiscal sponsors on behalf of applicants who are not eligible as 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations?

Yes, provided the fiscal sponsor meets our eligibility criteria. The grant application must be completed on behalf of and signed by the fiscal sponsor, and the required financial information submitted should pertain to the fiscal sponsor. Information on the sponsored applicant and the project or program for which they are seeking funds is also required.


What is ineligible for funding?

  • Completed projects.
  • Budget deficits.
  • Debt reduction.
  • General operating expenses. Note: We understand that projects or programs being proposed in a grant may impact operating costs. As such, those operating costs may not be considered ‘general’ in nature, may be eligible for funding, and should be identified in the budget submitted with the grant application so that they may be considered as part of the overall project or program costs.
  • Event sponsorships.
  • Contributions to individuals.
  • Contributions to political or labor organizations, candidates, or causes.
  • Contributions that facilitate religious mission, doctrine, or organization.
  • Proposals that would cause the Foundation to be in violation of its Conflict of Interest Policy.


What are the Foundation’s four funding priorities?

Community Support: We contribute to eligible community and human service organizations that improve the quality of life within the communities we serve. We give priority to programs and projects that build capacity to better serve the broader community, and efforts that benefit low- to moderate-income, disadvantaged, and/or marginalized persons or families.

Housing & Homelessness: We support programs and projects that address homelessness and expand the availability of and access to decent, safe, and affordable housing for low- and moderate-income, disadvantaged, and/or marginalized persons and/or families in the communities we serve.

Economic Development: We fund initiatives that encourage and expand economic development and living-wage job opportunities in our target communities, with emphasis on collaborative and public/private initiatives sponsored by local organizations dedicated to economic development.

Community Development: We support capital projects and other community development efforts that offer valuable benefits to broad segments of the communities we serve, with emphasis on collaborative and public/private initiatives featuring multiple funding sources.


Public Acknowledgement and Naming Opportunities:

The Foundation appreciates public acknowledgement of and naming rights on the projects we support. You will be asked to describe any such opportunities on your grant application.


What organizations has the Foundation funded in the past?

Click here to see a list of the organizations and projects and their impacts, by year and funding priority, that the Foundation funded since 2015. Click here to see our annual report. Reviewing this information will help you better understand the Foundation’s giving and assess whether your project is consistent with our focus and funding priorities.


In what regions does the Foundation focus its giving?

Our mission is to improve the quality of life in the communities in which First Fed – the Foundation’s sole donor – maintains full-service branches. As such, the proposals we fund must benefit communities in Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Whatcom Counties, and/or the city of Bellevue, in Washington state.


Considering applying for a grant to benefit community members in Bellevue?

Most of the guidelines outlined in this document pertain to grantmaking in Bellevue, yet the application process is different. Please click here to schedule a call with Jan Simon, Foundation executive director, for details.


What are the Foundation’s parameters for making grants?

Community Support grants range from $5,000 minimum to $25,000 maximum for the purposes described above.

Housing & Homelessness, Economic Development and Community Development grants range from $25,000 minimum to $100,000 maximum for the purposes described above.


How often does the Foundation review grant applications?

Currently, we review grant applications semi-annually per the schedule below.


What are grant application deadlines?

Applications are accepted only during prescribed periods, as follows:

  • Spring grant cycle applications were accepted from January 1 through 11:59 p.m. on March 1. We will apprise applicants of the status of their applications by the end of May 2023.
  • Fall grant cycle applications are accepted from July 1 through 11:59 p.m. on September 1. We will apprise applicants of the status of their applications by the end of November 2023.


When are grants funded?

Grants are typically funded in cash and in full within sixty days of notification of the award, provided all conditions have been met.


Do grant awards expire?

Yes. Grants are funded subject to acceptance within 180 days from the award date, after which the award will expire.


Are there restrictions on the length of time needed to complete projects or programs funded by grants?

  • Projects funded by Community Support grants must be completed within twelve months of the grant award date.
  • Housing & Homelessness, Economic Development, and Community Development grants are expected to be completed within the time frame outlined in the grant application and referenced in the Grantee’s signed Grant Agreement.


What criteria does the Foundation use for awarding grants?

We prioritize our giving based on criteria that includes but may not be limited to: alignment with our giving priorities and the needs and opportunities of the regions where we make grants; breadth of impact and intended outcomes of the project; strength and stability of the applicant organization, and perceived potential for the project’s success; funding commitments from other sources, including the organization’s reserves, to fulfill the goals of the grant; the impact on low- to moderate-income, disadvantaged, and/or marginalized persons or families; and the extent to which the proposal advances the Foundation’s mission of improving the quality of life in its communities. We also balance our giving by funding priority and region.


Is there a limit to the number of grant applications an organization can submit? Or the number of times an organization may receive funding?

We do not have a policy limiting the number of grant applications an organization can submit, or the number of times an organization may receive funding.

However, the needs and opportunities in our communities are pressing, and we typically receive more than three times the requests for funding than is allocated in a grant cycle. Therefore, if you have applied for funding in the last year, it would be prudent to discuss your grant project with the Foundation’s executive director, Jan Simon, prior to submitting an application. Click here to schedule a call with Jan.


Does the Foundation consider multi-year grant proposals?

While we do not have a policy precluding multi-year grant awards, the Board prefers not to obligate funds allocated to future grant cycles.


Who makes grant award decisions?

Grant proposals are reviewed by the Foundation’s Grant Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Foundation’s Board for consideration and determination.


The grant application asks for “specific and measurable outcomes.” What’s meant by that?

We fund projects and programs that have a specific start and completion date and, within that time frame, are committed to delivering specific goals, objectives, and outcomes. As such, we ask that you state on your grant application the target population and number of people that will be served, and the specific and measurable impacts that will be accomplished within the time frame of your proposal. If you’re awarded a grant, you’ll be required to report your progress on achieving those specific goals, objectives, and outcomes.


How and when can I apply?

Click here for application details and links to apply.


Can I contact the Foundation if I have additional questions?

Yes, we would appreciate the opportunity to discuss our grantmaking and your project! Please click here to schedule a call with our executive director, Jan Simon. Prior to our phone meeting, please click on the following links to learn more about us so we can make the most of our time together.