Core Support Grants

The Satterberg Foundation no longer accepts unsolicited letters of interest, proposals, or grant applications.  

No Open Application Process & Being Accountable to Community.

Our organization is committed to a 10% payout plus operational expenses. On top of the 10% payout, we added the $50 million Reparative Action Fund and launched the Metropole building initiative.  This means we have allocated all of our resources for the year. Instead of taking new applications for Core Support, we are focusing on the 201 non-profits with whom we are in deep relationships. To honor and fulfill these commitments to our grantee partners, we are shifting from grantmaking to retention.  Our grantmaking will continue to evolve based on the wisdom of our non-profit leaders, organizations, and community. 

We had no idea what this year had in store when the Satterberg Foundation began planning learning activities and community engagement for 2020 and beyond.  We knew at the outset that this year would be a moment to pause and reflect on the work we have done over the last three years through the Core Support Grant program. During that time we received over 1,400 LOIs and committed to granting $130 million in multi-year grants to 183 organizations in Washington and California. 

This has been a year for Satterberg to reflect and ask ourselves how we have been accountable to the communities we serve, through both our grantee partner relationships and processes. In the midst of that inquiry, COVID-19 reminded us all of the deep-rooted inequitable systems and structures in this country that have allowed over 215,000 people—disproportionately people of color—to die. The Foundation acknowledges that this is the time to deepen our commitment and “walk the talk” of being relationship-based and accountable to the communities we serve. 

In light of this, the Satterberg board and staff want to deepen our support of BIPOC communities. This means that we will not hold an open Core Support Grant application process in 2021. We want to be flexible, evaluate our current portfolio, and learn where we have gaps in our funding areas and how we may better hold ourselves accountable to our BIPOC communities. As 2020 continues to lay bare the inequities in our country, from police brutality and anti-black racism, to inequities in the economy and health care systems, we must center BIPOC communities. We are supporting community care check-ins and health, healing, & caucusing convenings; facilitating ongoing community practices of restorative health; creating shared spaces for women of color to learn and consider running for public office through our 2nd annual Equity Summit; and amplifying shared lived experiences and community voice through virtual fundraising learning labs–all while humanizing relationships and individual experiences with grantee partner conversations. Engaging deeply in this work allows Satterberg to be in community and partnership with individuals and groups that are most impacted by these inequities and to be more accountable to them.

In addition to prioritizing grantmaking to communities and organizations most impacted, in the summer of 2020, Satterberg pledged to intentionally partner with and center grantmaking with Black and Indigenous-led organizations. We have committed to an additional $50 million dollars over the next 10-years, at a minimum, to support this new strategy. This includes supporting the M4BL (Movement for Black Lives) entity itself with a $5 million commitment over the next ten years (including $2.5m this year). We also acknowledge that our racial inequality crisis is inextricably connected with our climate crisis. These disparities are disproportionately affecting BIPOC communities. Our partnership efforts will be grounded on a strengths-based approach that uplifts the voices and lived experiences of each BIPOC community towards climate justice. 

Satterberg continues to be committed to a projected 10% annual grant-disbursement payout, working at the intersections of social and environmental justice. The Foundation will be more intentional in our return of resources and will continue to build relationships and support our partner organizations beyond direct grantmaking. This is a time for the Satterberg Foundation to recommit and go deeper in the work we began with the creation of the Core Support Program.

In Solidarity,

Satterberg Foundation Staff


The Satterberg Foundation provides funding opportunities to nonprofit organizations through the Core Support Grant– a multi-year general operating grant that funds up to $100,000 per year, for up to five years. In 2019, Satterberg aspires to provide up to 60 grants. This program is structured to represent a blend of ideas that Satterberg believes will contribute to resilient nonprofit organizations, strong partnerships with the Foundation, and ultimately the fulfillment of Satterberg’s mission to promote a Just Society and a Sustainable Environment.

Through the Core Support Grant program, the Foundation seeks to fund organizations doing the majority of their work in Washington and California that are aligned with Satterberg’s mission and the program’s priorities. The Satterberg Foundation values building relationships as opposed to transactional grantmaking, and we aim to create a program that can evolve over time through learning and experiences with our grantee partners.


The Core Support Grant application process consists of a two-stage process: an open letter of inquiry (LOI), and an invited site visit. At the LOI phase, staff reads every submitted proposal and identifies those that are most in line with the Core Support program goals and priorities. Then, a committee of Satterberg Board and family members reads staff-selected LOIs to identify organizations that are most resonant to them and the priorities of the Core Support Grant program. Selected applicant organizations will be invited to host Satterberg members to a site visit at their organization Following site visits, Board, family, and staff discuss which organizations to recommend for funding. Formal funding decisions are then made by the Board during their quarterly meeting. At any time, the Foundation may reach out to applicant organizations with supplemental questions or to request financial information.

Program Goals

The Satterberg Foundation seeks to fund organizations that align with our mission to promote a Just Society and a Sustainable Environment. Through the Core Support Grant, Satterberg prioritizes organizations committed to working in the following categories:

While applicant organizations do not need to have expertise in all of these areas, applicants are prioritized—and are usually more competitive—if their mission and work are centered in more than one of these categories.

Additionally, Satterberg aspires to blend Core Support funding in the following ways:

  • Geography: 60% of grants to organizations working in Washington; 40% to organizations working in California
  • Mission: 40% of grants to organizations working toward a Just Society; 40% to those working toward a Sustainable Environment; and at least 20% to those working toward both

Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligible for a Core Support Grant, applicant organizations must:

  • Align with Satterberg Foundation’s mission to promote a Just Society and a Sustainable Environment
  • Be a tax­ exempt nonprofit under section 501(c)3 of the IRS code or equivalent, or be fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)3 organization.
  • Be nondiscriminatory in its policies and practices in regards to sex, race, color, marital status, national origin, religious affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, and age.
  • Make the majority of its impact in Washington and/or California.
  • Have a current year total expense budget under $5 million. We consider in-kind expenses to be part of this budget figure. The fiscal sponsor of an organization does not have to have an expense budget under $5 million.
  • Have at least 1 paid FTE (full time equivalent) employee. Having more than 1 employee to accommodate the 1 FTE requirement is acceptable (i.e. two 0.5 employees or four 0.25 employees make 1 FTE).
  • Not use its grant for individuals, political candidates or religious purposes.

How To Apply

Step One: Determine if you are a potential good fit

Please read through the Satterberg Foundation website and Core Support Grant program information to ensure your organization is eligible to apply. Understand that Satterberg looks to provide general operating support to entire organizations and reviews an organization holistically according to its mission–alignment is not considered through one-off programs, projects or service offerings. Read here to see Satterberg’s mission described in full, and take a look at who Satterberg has funded the past two years in California (2017 / 2018) and Washington (2017 / 2018).

If your organization has questions about eligibility and fit, please read the FAQ section below and participate in/listen to a webinar information session once available. Also, Satterberg staff are available to determine your eligibility. Contact a Satterberg staff member if you have any questions.

Please understand that Satterberg receives approximately 500 LOIs annually and funds about 60 grants. This means many excellent organizations that are potentially a good fit for funding will not ultimately receive a Core Support Grant.

Step Two: Submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI)

Satterberg intentionally created a brief LOI form, for applicant organizations to not spend an onerous amount of time in drafting a response and to ultimately get to the center of who/what the applicant organization is about. The LOI asks applicants to answer the following questions:

  • What is your organization’s board-approved mission statement? No paraphrasing or adapting, please. (max. 40 words)
  • Briefly describe how you carry out your mission. What are your organization’s primary programs and services? What community does your organization serve, in population and location? (max. 350 words)
  • How does your mission align with the Satterberg Foundation’s mission of promoting a Just Society and a Sustainable Environment? (max. 250 words)
  • Does your organization engage in advocacy? How are you helping to empower communities to overcome barriers and inequity? If you do not engage much with advocacy, please explain why. (max. 250 words)
  • How do the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion inform your work? How are they reflected in your operations and programming? (max. 250 words)

If you think your organization may be a good fit, you may begin crafting answers to these questions, with attention to the allotted number of words for each question. There are two separate LOI submission dates based on the state in which your organization works. During these two-week LOI collection periods, a link will be provided on the Satterberg website to create an account and submit your LOI. Please refer to the Core Support timeline above for specific submission dates.

As part of our review process, Satterberg staff may reach out to organizations with additional questions, such as asking to submit financial information.

Step Three: Notification and Site Visit

Please refer to the Core Support timeline for dates of expected decisions. If an organization has questions about the status of its LOI, please contact Satterberg Foundation staff.

If an organization is declined, we will send an email notice to the individual listed as the primary point of contact for your LOI. Satterberg is open to communicating feedback to organizations around eligibility and general fit within the Core Support program. Information on how to contact Satterberg will be included in the email message.

For organizations that are invited to meet with Satterberg through a site visit, further information will be communicated via email and a phone call.

Step Four: Decision

Funding decisions are made by the Satterberg Board. Applicant organizations will be notified within the week following the board meeting. Both a phone call and hardcopy letter will be mailed to your organization with notice of either a declination or a grant award.  Please review the Core Support timeline for specific dates.

Satterberg looks forward to building a relationship with awarded organizations.  Part of Satterberg’s relationship development may include a kick-­off meeting to talk about potential (and reasonable) milestones the organization hopes to achieve in the life of the grant, or engaging Satterberg family members to spend a day in the organization’s shoes (so we can roll up our sleeves, work alongside you, and get a first­hand view of your work). We may also invite organizations to attend a convening with other Satterberg grantees to discuss common issues, trends, and capacity building needs.

Information Sessions

Satterberg Program Officers host in-person information sessions and webinars to discuss the Core Support Grant. The information sessions last one hour, with a 10-minute overview of Satterberg’s mission and methodology, the Core Support Grant process (including timeline), and LOI questions. The bulk of the 50-minute session is dedicated to answering questions from attendees about Satterberg and the Core Support Grant.

Space is limited for information sessions. Typically, we have room for about 20-25 participants. Before you RSVP, Satterberg asks that your organization:

  • Be eligible to apply for a Core Support Grant. Please thoroughly read the Satterberg website and Core Support Grant information to determine eligibility before signing up to attend a session.
  • Be respectful of space, and bring no more than 2 representatives from your organization. 1 individual is preferred.
  • Be prepared to ask questions! The information session is designed to answer questions from attendees. Please attend if you are ready to ask questions about Satterberg and the Core Support Grant.

Click here to contact a Satterberg staff member. We are happy to answer questions.

To listen to our recorded info. session webinar that took place on December 12, 2018, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the maximum ask per year $100,000?

  • Given our Foundation’s assets, breadth of mission and geographic focus, and our desire to provide substantive general operating support to nonprofits, this sum allows Satterberg to give both broadly and deeply in the areas identified by our Board.

How many applications do you receive each year?

  • On annual basis, we receive approximately 500 LOIs in total (California and Washington combined). From a strictly numerical perspective, this means each applicant has about a 1 in 9 chance of receiving funding.

Is there a minimum operating budget size required to apply?

  • No, as long as an organization meets all of the eligibility criteria, they may apply.

Would an organization be eligible for a grant if they have a program-specific budget under $5 million?

  • No, an organization would not be eligible as we do not fund specific programs or projects. All organizations must have a current year total expense budget under $5 million to be considered. We consider in-kind expenses to be part of this budget figure. The fiscal sponsor of an organization does not have to have an expense budget under $5 million.

What if our organization is based in Washington or California but does not serve those areas?

  • The applicant organization must make the majority of its impact in either or both California and Washington but does not does not need to be located in either. Organizations that do not do the majority of their work in California or Washington are generally not considered eligible.

What if our organization is headquartered outside of Washington or California but serves one of those areas?

  • It does not matter where the applicant organization is based. An organization must have a majority of their impact in either California or Washington to be eligible for Satterberg Core Support funding.

In addition to advocacy, do you also fund lobbying?

What if our organization does not meet some of the eligibility criteria now, but will by the time we could receive funding from the Satterberg Foundation?

  • The current status of your organization is what we consider to determine your organization’s eligibility. Therefore, if you do not meet the eligibility requirements when you apply, you are not eligible.

What does it mean for Satterberg to be relational in their grantmaking?

  • Satterberg looks forward to building a relationship with the grantee organizations. Part of Satterberg’s relationship development may include a kick-off call/meeting to talk about potential (and reasonable) milestones the organization hopes to achieve in the life of the grant, or engaging Satterberg family members to spend a day in the organization’s shoes (so we can roll up our sleeves, work alongside you, and get a firsthand view of your work). We may also invite organizations to attend a convening with other Satterberg grantees to discuss common issues, trends, and capacity building needs.

How will the Satterberg Board and Family be engaged in this process?

  • The Satterberg Board and family engage with the Core Support Grant process through LOI and application review committees, as well as attending convenings with grantees. The Satterberg Board determines funding based on the recommendations from review committee members.

What does a site visit entail and do you require a site visit prior to grant approval?

  • Yes, we conduct site visits with each applicant that progresses past our LOI phase. At this stage in the process, Satterberg wants to take a deeper dive and find resonance in how an organization does its work. We may request a site visit and/or phone call to spend time with the organization’s leadership, and build an understanding of an organization’s abilities, insight, dedication, and vision. We also want to know if you are having fun while doing the work, and if it is apparent that the work of the organization is truly guided by the organization’s mission and values.

Technical Tips for Using our Online Application

Below are a few steps that you can take to help prevent issues when accessing and filling out our online grant forms: 

Use Internet Explorer or Firefox.

  • While you can access our applications and see the questions using most browsers, only Microsoft Edge or Firefox will correctly open and display the entire form. Some browsers may have issues related to cookies and some will not display the navigation buttons for the application.

Cookies must be enabled on your browser.

  • To enable cookies on Internet Explorer browsers:
    1. Go to the Tools menu, select Internet Options. You will see the Internet Options dialog that provides a number of tabs that allow you to set your browser preferences.
    2. Click the Privacy tab.
    3. From the Settings section of the tab, click Advanced.
    4. Locate and click the checkbox next to “Always allow session cookies.”
    5. Click Apply then OK to close the dialog box.
  • To enable cookies on Firefox browsers:
    1. Go to the Tools menu, select Options.
    2. Click the Privacy tab.
    3. From the History section of the tab, ensure that “Remember history” is selected.
    4. Restart your browser to apply the settings.

Save and close your application between sessions.

  • If you need to use another website while working on your application, be sure to save your application and then close that window. Otherwise the application software will open a blank form in place of your in-progress application.

Write your answers in a separate word document before copying and pasting into the online application.

  • This ensures your information is not lost if your application is not saved.

Do not open other browser windows while completing your application.

  • Opening another window while your application is open may also cause the application to close and a new, blank, form to open.

Do not format answers in application answer fields.

  • All attempts to format answers (hyphens, bullet points, indentations, bolding or italicizing text) will be lost when you submit and your information will not appear correctly.

Add to your safe senders list to ensure you receive all system communications. 

  • All automated communications from the system, including submission receipts, will be sent from the email To add this email to your safe sender list in Outlook:
    1. Click Junk in the Delete section of the Home tab.
    2. Select Junk E-mail Options from the drop-down menu.
    3. On the Junk E-mail Options dialog box, click the Safe Senders tab, then click Add.
    4. On the Add address or domain dialog box, enter the above email address in the edit box and click OK. 

Access your saved application instead of starting a new one.

If you created an online account and are now unable to log back in, contact us.

  • If you have created an account and are unable to log back in, try clearing the cache, cookies, and history from you browser and signing back in.  If you are still having issues signing in, contact the Satterberg Foundation to reset your password.

If an online account was created by an employee who is no longer with your organization, contact us to reset your password.

  • Please contact the Satterberg Foundation to reset your password.