How to Apply

Understanding our applicant criteria.

Our fiscal sponsorship programs provide the legal framework, finance and administrative services, and expert guidance that help individuals and groups make powerful change in their communities. We seek projects that are well considered and demonstrate a potential for real impact. Following the steps below will provide you with a clear understanding of our criteria and help you complete the application.


We provide fiscal sponsorship to projects that demonstrate genuine charitable intent, able and committed leadership, potential for significant community impact, and strong prospects for growth and financial sustainability.

Ask yourself:

  • Will your project provide tangible benefits to your community?
  • Is your idea and project plan embraced by a group of committed supporters?
  • Do you have the sincere drive and enthusiasm to make your charitable ideas work?
  • Can you quantitatively and qualitatively demonstrate the need for the services you intend to deliver?
  • Can you identify strong funding prospects to help you move ahead?
  • Can you articulate your goals and clearly express your plans to achieve them?

If you can answer yes to these questions, take a look at ineligible activities below, and then move on to Step 2, Mutual Expectations.

What We Don’t Sponsor 

Under comprehensive (or Model A) fiscal sponsorship, Community Partners does not accept profit-making ventures or projects where housing is a key element (i.e. transitional housing, domestic violence shelters, foster youth homes). Additionally, we do not accept projects that routinely litigate or practice medicine due to the liability associated with those types of projects. Lastly, we do not accept projects that are schools due to the complexities and compliance involved in operating a school.

In regards to limited (or Model C) fiscally sponsored projects, Community Partners does not accept limited projects that receive government funding with cost reimbursements and limited projects with extensive lobbying activities.

Faith-Based Projects

We welcome proposals from faith-based projects, as long as they do not:

  • Require adherence to a particular religious faith or doctrine
  • Make claims that a particular religion or religious tradition is the “one true religion” to the exclusion of all others
  • Make claims or enact practices that privilege members of a particular religion or religious tradition, or discriminate against non-members of a particular religion or religious tradition
  • Claim that one particular religion has replaced all other religions
  • Require active participation in religious rituals
  • Have as a primary purpose the advancement of prescribed belief or observance


What Comprehensive Sponsored Projects Can Expect from Community Partners:

Fiscal Sponsorship

  • Eligibility to receive grants and operate as a project of Community Partners, a nonprofit charity exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Ability to receive tax deductible contributions from donors, to the extent permitted by law

Financial and Administrative Services

  • Individual account for project funds
  • Recordkeeping and reporting of project finances, including cash receipts and disbursements
  • Payment of bills and invoices from project funds
  • Monthly financial statements
  • Contract review
  • Tax accounting
  • Year-end unified audit
  • Systems to receive online donations and gifts of stock
  • Acknowledgment letters for donations larger than $250
  • Unified IRS 990 tax filing
  • Federal, state, and city lobbying filings

Insurance Services

  • General liability
  • Certificates of Insurance for qualifying special events and activities (at additional cost)
  • Special insurance coverage as required by programs, events, and contracts (at additional cost)

Human Resources Services

  • Personnel policies
  • Hire/termination process
  • Payroll administration
  • Benefits administration and group plans for project-paid health, dental, vision, life, and long-term disability insurance
  • 403(b) retirement program
  • Health and dependent care flex spending accounts
  • Tracking and reporting for independent contractors (EDD reports, IRS 1099s)

Programmatic Services 

  • Access to an experienced Community Partners staff member for one-on-one consultation on project development issues and strategic planning
  • Trainings and workshops
  • Networking and peer learning opportunities
  • Meet the grantmaker sessions


  • Limited use of available conference rooms at no cost, on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Consideration for co-location in Community Partners’ offices (on a fee basis)


  • Visibility in Community Partners’ website and other social media platforms

What Community Partners Expects of Our Projects:

Mission Focus

  • Effective pursuit of clear project aims, in a collaborative and collegial alliance with Community Partners

Cost Sharing

  • 9% administrative charge on all project revenues from private sources (such as grants or contributions from foundations, individuals, or corporations)
  • 15% administrative charge on all project revenues from ANY public sources (such as grants from, and contracts with, government agencies including fee for services or payments for one-time disbursements)
  • Minimum Fee: After the first full year of operation, projects must raise a minimum of $22,500 annually or pay a minimum fee of $2,000 in support of administrative costs

Active Advisory Board

  • Recruit an active advisory board to help guide strategic planning, program development, resource development, staffing leadership development and financial management of the project
  • Meet regularly with the advisory board so that advisors can provide counsel and oversight of project programmatic and administrative activities, subject to the ultimate direction of the Community Partners Board of Directors
  • Provide Community Partners a roster of active advisory board members

Regular Reporting

  • Close communication with a capacity building advisor on issues such as current programs, special events, fundraising activities, board development, and budget changes
  • Notification to Community Partners’ staff of potential risks or liability issues (pending layoffs or terminations, accidents or injuries, large events, long-distance travel by project participants, etc.)
  • Completion of annual Periodic Project Reports and End-of-Year Letter (reminders and forms will be provided)

Risk Management

  • Compliance with all policies and procedures outlined in Community Partners’ Project Handbook and Employee Handbook
  • Submission of all contracts and grant agreements to Community Partners for review and signature
  • Submission of grant proposals to Fiscal Sponsorship team for review before submitting to funders
  • Adherence to all federal, state, and city rules for lobbying and political activity


  • Visible communication that you are a project of Community Partners on all public materials such as web sites and brochures

Still have questions? Make sure to review our comprehensive FAQ.

Review Process

Proposals are rigorously reviewed by Community Partners staff, board members and community advisors. We invite the leaders of comprehensive projects that are strong candidates for fiscal sponsorship to meet with us, briefly present their project, and answer questions. Limited projects are not required to meet with us. Final determination of sponsorship is made by the full board of Community Partners. If all information is in order, the project review process takes a minimum of six weeks.


  • Proposals are accepted on the first day of every odd numbered month by 5pm (PDT). While accepted, no proposals are reviewed during the month of December.
  • Ready to Move Forward? Complete the application.