FAQs

Have a question about our application process? A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is provided below. If you don’t find the answer to your particular question, please contact our Grants and Contracts Administrator at: grants@blueshieldcafoundation.org.

Q. How do organizations submit a proposal for a grant?

A. Please review the application process page.

Q. Which types of nonprofit organizations are eligible for a grant?

A. A complete list of our eligibility requirements can be found within our eligibility guidelines.

Q. Does BSCF make grants to for-profit organizations?

A. The Foundation awards a limited number of grants to for-profit organizations for projects that are charitable in nature. Preference is given to charitable organizations and public agencies.

Q. Does the Foundation accept unsolicited requests?

A. Most BSCF funding is by invitation only and made through Foundation-led initiatives. Organizations must also meet certain requirements outlined in our eligibility guidelines.

Q. Can I apply for a Foundation grant for sponsorship or fundraiser for an event?

A. No. Per our grant eligibility guidelines, we do not fund stand-alone sponsorships or events.

Q. If we have a BSCF grant, can we apply for a different BSCF grant?

A. Organizations may apply for multiple grants if the proposals are for two distinct projects.  We also consider project support grants from current core support grantees.

Q. How much money does the Foundation award each year?

A. Annual amounts vary year to year. In 2015, the Foundation awarded more than $30 million to nonprofit organizations, initiatives, and educational institutions throughout California.

Q. Where does the Foundation’s money come from?

A. Blue Shield of California Foundation is funded entirely by contributions from Blue Shield of California, a mission-based, not-for-profit health plan founded by physicians in 1939.

Q. What is the average size and duration of BSCF grants?

A. Amounts awarded and time periods vary and depend on the scope and significance of the project. We have made awards ranging from $1,000 to $1,000,000, with time periods from six months to three years. Most grants run from one to two years, and the average award amount is around $90,000. To view grants previously awarded, search our grantee database.

Q. How many grants does BSCF award each year?

A. Approximately 400 awards are made each year.

Q. What are the most common reasons why a proposal is declined?

A. There are several reasons why the Foundation may decide to decline a proposal; however, some of the most commonly declined proposals are those that:

  • Do not fall within the program objectives outlined in the list of current funding opportunities;
  • Do not meet our eligibility guidelines;
  • Do not meet our standards of operational or programmatic effectiveness; and/or
  • Do not fall within our geographic boundaries.

Q. Are there formal application forms?

A. We require applicants to submit an online Letter of Inquiry (LOI) using our standard format. View information regarding our online application process.

Q. Can you share a copy of a successful proposal?

A. We do not share proposals as they are considered confidential documents.

Q. What are your deadlines for receipt of proposals?

A. We accept Letters of Inquiry (LOI) throughout the year via our online application system. Organizations whose LOIs align most closely with funding objectives and the Foundation’s mission will be invited to submit a full proposal. We will then send a request for proposal, which will outline any specific content or requirements and list proposal due date. Please do not submit a full proposal without an invitation to apply. Learn more about our online application process.

Q. How long does it take for a grant to be approved?

A. The entire grantmaking process (from LOI submission, to request for a full proposal, to notification of funding decision) can take up to six months, so please plan ahead. The Foundation's Board of Trustees meets four times per year to make funding decisions. 

Q. What are the grantees' responsibilities?

A. After a grant is made, the recipient organization is required to submit online reports to the Foundation. Typically, reports are due every 12 months, although more frequent interim reports or surveys may be required. The reports submitted throughout the course of the grant are treated as confidential information. Final reports, due one month after the closing date of the grant, provide a record of activities conducted and impact achieved, as well as confirmation that any specific goals were met.

Q. How do I start an application?

A. After reviewing our current funding opportunities and eligibility guidelines, you may submit an LOI.

If you are not a registered contact in our system, select “Register/Submit LOI.” IMPORTANT NOTE: Once submitted, this form cannot be returned to. We advise that you take time to review the questions in advance and prepare your responses in a separate document. You will be able to download a Word version of the application as a reference.

If you have already registered, login using the email address and password you are registered with. Review the information provided on the Welcome Page, and make any necessary updates. Click the “Apply” link at the bottom of the Welcome Page and "Create LOI" on the next page. 

Note: The LOI application process should not be used when applying for an invitation-only core support initiative.

Q. How can I see the application before I get started?

If you are not yet registered, you can download a Word version of any LOI using the link at the top of the page. 

If you are already registered, click "Create LOI" and then save it. Once saved, click “printable” in the upper right-hand corner of the page.