City of San Marcos

San Marcos COVID-19 Community Grants Program

Grant Guidelines – July 2021


To address community needs due to the negative economic impacts of COVID-19, the City of San Marcos has created the San Marcos COVID-19 Community Grants Program, a $3,000,000 effort. Funds will be distributed to nonprofit organizations for the sole benefit of San Marcos residents. The granting process and award decisions are the responsibility of the Fund’s program administrators, staff and volunteer leadership from Coastal Community Foundation, Impact Cubed, and Rancho Santa Fe Foundation.

Program administrators are well positioned to manage this effort. They each have many years of grant making experience, maintain longstanding relationships with local nonprofit leaders and elected officials, and participate in multiple professional networks. Most importantly, all are deeply committed to pursuing the work with a high degree of due diligence, ensuring that funds are well stewarded and achieve impact.


To qualify for funds, your organization must:

  • Be a tax-exempt charitable organization in good standing, as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Focus all or in part on benefiting the lives of San Marcos residents. You will be required to indicate the number of San Marcos residents you intend to serve on the funding application and report participant zip codes, should funding be awarded.

Priority given to projects in which participants are economically disadvantaged per HUD’s Qualified Census Tract (view the San Marcos Qualified Tracts map HERE and instructions on how to access the interactive map HERE):

  • Services provided or participants reside in qualified tract
  • Participants earn less than 60% of metropolitan area’s median income
  • Nonprofit/program requires that over 25% of intended participants are below federal poverty line

Priority will be given to projects in which participants are economically disadvantaged per HUD’s Qualified Census Tract. However, recipients may also provide these services to other populations, households, or geographic areas disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. In identifying these disproportionately impacted communities, recipients should be able to support their determination that the pandemic resulted in disproportionate public health or economic outcomes to the specific populations, households, or geographic areas to be served.

Types of Requests

Requests for general operating funds, program support, technology and equipment, scholarship funds, new strategic initiatives, and capital projects are all accepted.

Program Focus

The program’s overall funding objective is to touch every corner of San Marcos by supporting nonprofits working to better the lives of residents. Target populations include youth, low-income individuals and families, seniors, immigrants, and active military and veteran families.

Funding priority will be given to small and grassroots groups and organizations located in San Marcos. Nonprofits located outside of the City, but serving San Marcos residents will be eligible for funding but will not be prioritized.

Award Amounts

Grant amounts will depend on organizational and community needs and resources available.

Grants will not be awarded to:

  • Individuals
  • Endowments or endowment campaigns
  • Private foundations or other re-granting organizations
  • Debt retirement or to cover past operating deficits
  • Fundraising events
  • Political campaigns or lobbying activities
  • Religious or doctrinal purposes, although faith-based organizations may apply for program support
  • Schools for general operating funds, however school groups such as sports teams, clubs, bands, and PTOs are eligible

Use of Grant Funds & Amendment Process

Grants are to be expended as soon as possible and within 12 months of grant award notification, consistent with the budget, schedule, and conditions presented in the proposal. Grantees must use awarded funds for the purpose outlined in the proposal. If a change in funding purpose or timeline is necessary, this must be communicated to program administrators of the San Marcos COVID-19 Community Grants Program Fund prior to any modification for written approval.

Learn more in a webinar

See link to recording below.

Grants Process

  • Grant applications may be submitted online, any time.
  • Grant applications will be confirmed upon receipt and then reviewed. Prospective grantees may be asked to respond to inquiries and/or submit supplemental data.
  • Each grant is screened for:
    • IRS Public Charity Status
    • Service to an economically disadvantaged community as defined by HUD’s Qualified Census Tract
    • Benefit to San Marcos residents
    • Number of San Marcos residents served
    • Demonstrated need
    • Financial feasibility
    • Strength of leadership
    • Well-defined goals and outcomes
    • Quality evaluation process
    • Sustainability plan
  • Program administrators typically meet at least once a month to make funding decisions.
  • Grants are awarded and checks are typically sent each month.

Program Administrators

Coastal Community Foundation builds philanthropy in San Diego North County communities by offering donors a wide variety of options for giving – establishing donor advised funds, building endowments, donating to existing funds or creating new funds to meet community needs. Contact: Sharon Omahen.


Impact Cubed stimulates philanthropy and builds social sector capacity with guidance to philanthropists, private and institutional philanthropy organizations, and impact investors;  facilitation for funder consortiums; consulting on nonprofit capacity; and philanthropy education initiatives. Impact Cubed was created in 2018 in response to increasing requests of the Leichtag Foundation to manage such projects. Impact Cubed is a 501(c)3 public charity that operates with full transparency and best practices in governance. Contact Sharyn Goodson.


Rancho Santa Fe Foundation connects donors with regional and global needs through visionary community leadership, personalized service and effective grant making. For nearly 40 years, RSF Foundation has provided a high level of service by developing personal relationships with our donors, providing exceptional stewardship of the funds invested with us and addressing needs in the community. Contact: Debbie Anderson.

Info Webinar Video