General Eligibility

To apply for and receive a grant your organization must be a 501(c)(3) public charity as designated by the IRS, operating under a fiscal sponsor who is a qualified 501(c)(3) public charity, a public education institution, or a Maine municipality.

The organization and/or the project must be based in Maine and focused on benefitting Maine’s people.

Historically the Onion Foundation has not funded:

  • Capital campaigns

  • Capital improvements

  • Land purchases

  • Endowments

  • Religious and/or faith-based activities or programs that include religious activities

  • Hospitals, clinics & medical research

  • Scholarships

What are your funding priorities?

Visit our Mission page to find our mission, vision and values to see if your work aligns: Onion Foundation Mission

Do you award general operating support?

Yes, we may award general operations for grantees if 100% of their mission and work aligns with the Onion Foundation mission. First time applicants should consider a project ask that will allow us to get to know you and your work; an operating ask may be appropriate in future years. Often, we provide operating support for a specific programmatic area or effort of an organization if 100% of their organizational work does not directly align with our priorities.

For example, Organization Z requests operating support for their environmental education program. As an organization, they also steward trails, advocate for their sector, and host events. If awarded, Onion Foundation grant funds are unrestricted and can be used for staff time, equipment, transportation, etc., but should only be applied within the environmental education program of Organization Z and in line with the specifics outlined in the grant proposal.


Grant applications across all interest areas will be accepted for Spring/Fall Grants and Discovery Grants:

  • Environmental Stewardship

  • Environmental Education

  • Music & the Arts

  • Healthy Living

Discovery Grants are designed to try something new or respond to an unforeseen challenge or opportunity; Spring/Fall Grants are designed for sustained project and organizational support.


The Onion Foundation has three distinct grant types:

HOW OFTEN CAN MY ORGANIZATION APPLY & How many grants can My organization be awarded?

Organizations may receive up to one grant of each type per calendar year. Onion Foundation grant types are: Spring/Fall, Discovery, and Author Visit. If your grant application is denied and you would like to re-apply for a future cycle, please contact staff before putting in a new application. Organizations become eligible again in January of each year for all grant types.

For example, Organization A applies for a Spring 2019 grant and receives it. They are not eligible to apply for another Spring/Fall grant until 2020 because organizations can only receive one Spring/Fall grant per calendar year. During the summer, they learn about an incredible opportunity to pilot a new program with local kids and put in a Discovery Grant application in July 2019. They are awarded that grant and are not eligible to apply for another Discovery grant until January 2020 because organizations can only receive one Discovery Grant per year. Organization A received both a Spring/Fall grant and a Discovery Grant in 2019.

Organization B applies for a Discovery grant in September 2019 and receives it. They can reapply for another, different Discovery Grant project starting January 2020. They then apply for a Spring 2020 grant and do not receive it. After speaking to staff and revising their plans and application content, they reapply in Fall 2020 and are awarded. They are now eligible to reapply for either the Spring or Fall cycle in 2021.


Yes, there is no restriction for organizations applying multiple years in row. We generally do not consider applications that request multi-year funding.

Can I send additional materials with my application?

No, we evaluate organization’s proposals just on the information we request through our application form. Additional materials will not be considered.


Grant recipients are required to report progress on their projects. Details on how, when, and what to submit will be conveyed on award. All applications, agreements and reports are completed on the online grants portal. After a grant is approved, you’ll receive an award email that includes instructions on completing a digital Grant Agreement form. Please complete that form on the online grants portal as it is required before we issue a check.

How does the onion foundation want to be recognized?

Onion Foundation requires no public recognition for grants awarded although grantees are welcome to recognize Onion Foundation as it may be helpful in raising additional support for the project. If you would like to use our logo, please request it via email:

Any additional questions?

Please email us: