• City of Tacoma QA
  • City of Tacoma Data

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a non-profit organization?

There are many different types of non-profit organizations. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a non-profit organization is a tax-exempt, 501(c) (3) organization which focuses on charitable, educational or religious activities. Organizations must apply for this status with the IRS. For more information on what constitutes a non-profit organization and how to apply, please visit the IRS web site. Please note that all charities must register with the Washington Secretary of State Office after receiving 50(c) (3) status. For more information on registering your organization visit the Washington Secretary of State's page.

Are new programs eligible to receive funding?

New programs can apply so long as the parent-agency (the agency that manages the program) or the program's fiscal agent has a 501(c) (3) status and has been in operation for two years. If you are interested in receiving notification of City of Tacoma human services funding opportunities, please contact the Neighborhood and Community Services Department at (253) 591-5047.

How can I contact the Human Services Planning and Contracting section?

The Human Services Planning and Contracting section is located in the Neighborhood and Community Services Department. You can find the contact information on the right side of this page.

How do I find out what grants are available?

The City has a list of Funding Opportunities for non-profit organizations. This list identifies what application processes are available and the funding priorities of each. Organizations can also receive email notification on upcoming application processes by signing up as an interested party by email or by checking the City's website.

What if the program is located outside of Tacoma?

City funds must support services for City of Tacoma residents, but a program can be located outside of Tacoma as long as Tacoma residents are served by the program. Typically the level of funds provided are not more than the level of City clients served (i.e. If City clients represent 10% of the total clients served, then the City can support up to 10% of the program budget.)

Do you help organizations apply for funding?

Technical assistance is available to any eligible organization applying for funds. Bidders Workshops are held for each funding cycle to assist applicants in completing the proposal. Outcome Based Evaluation training is also available.

To request assistance please contact a staff member of the Planning and Contracting section (see sidebar). Please be advised that it can take several days for staff to respond to requests, especially during an application cycle. Leave as much time as possible to have your questions answered prior to the application deadline.

Does it matter how much of the program budget is supported by the City?

Yes. City funds cannot be more than 50% of a program’s budget.

Is the funding given up front?

No. Programs are reimbursed per contract. Payment Points, which is a performance based contract, and Cost Reimbursement contracts are the two common types of contracts that organizations form with the City. Both types allow for monthly billing.

Why does the City fund certain services, but not others?

Each funding source has priorities. Services that most closely align with the priorities are more likely to be funded. A list of funding priorities for each funding source is available on the Competitive Funding Opportunities page.

What is the role of the Planning and Contracting Section in making funding decisions?

The Planning and Contracting team works with the Human Services Commission, which is comprised of Tacoma residents or experts in the field that are appointed by Tacoma City Council, who  determine how the funding should be distributed. For some grants, other review panels provide recommendations on how these grants should be distributed. Staff members are responsible for implementing the process through which the review panels develop their recommendations.

What are pass-through grants?

The City receives State and Federal funds through several grant sources. The funds are then allocated to non-profit organizations, or passed-through the City.

Contact Information

747 Market Street
Room 836
Tacoma, WA 98402

Vicky McLaurin
Management Analyst
(253) 591-5058