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What's the difference between challenge grants and matching funds?

By Jeanne Howard

Donors often ask about the difference between challenge grants and matching funds. So here you go:

A challenge grant is an upfront grant to a nonprofit made by a major donor (minimum $500). These grants demonstrate support for a nonprofit, generally from philanthropists who are more experienced than most of us average donors at vetting organizations for effectiveness. The idea is that this encourages other donors to give and it also sets a goal for donors to match, even though the funds will be given whether or not the amount is matched. A “thermometer” on each nonprofit's profile page tracks progress toward the goal on on this site, and challenge grantors are recognized by name if desired.

Our sponsors whose logos are at the bottom of the home page give matching funds. Those can be either proportionate or one-to-one. Because Santa Cruz Gives raises more than $1 million and we don't have as much in matching funds, we offer a proportionate match. Total matching funds are divided and granted based on the percentage of the total donations that each organization receives during the campaign. That is, if a nonprofit receives 3 percent of the total donated funds (challenge grants + individual donations — visible on each profile page), it will receive 3 percent of the matching funds.

All donors can now contribute to matching funds (by checking a box and entering an amount on the shopping cart), so they increase during the campaign. Total matching funds are posted on the home page and will reflect any added.

We're grateful to welcome Comcast as a new sponsor this year. On behalf of the team at Santa Cruz Gives and this year's 65 participating nonprofits, we extend a warm, grateful welcome to our friends at Comcast! We're feeling just as warm and grateful to our other sponsors:

Good Times, Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, Applewood Foundation, Joe Collins, Driscoll’s, Inc., Monterey Peninsula Foundation, Santa Cruz County Bank, Wynn Capital Management, The Pajaronian, and Press Banner.