For Philanthropists

What is the best way to make a grant recommendation?

There are a number of ways to make a grant recommendation and the easiest is through your online account on the website. For a complete guide to making grant recommendations online, download Online Account. Of course, you can always email to inform your Philanthropic Services team that you wish to make a recommendation.

How does the grant approval process work?

There are two tracks for grant approval. For organizations who regularly receive grants from Seattle Foundation funds and who have been vetted through our due diligence process, grants are pre-approved by the Board of Trustees on an annual basis. For new grantees, due diligence must be completed at the time of the recommendation and the Board’s Grants Committee approves the grant within the week due diligence is completed.

How long does it take for a grant check to reach a recipient?

For grantees that are pre-approved by the Board, checks are cut within a week of the recommendation. For new or less common grantees, the process typically takes two weeks. There can be complications to the due diligence process that result in grants taking longer, though these are extreme cases.

Can I recommend a multi-year grant from my fund?

It is possible to set up a multi-year commitment from a Seattle Foundation fund. However, this has to take the form of a letter of intent from Seattle Foundation and the grantee. Seattle Foundation cannot honor any pledge commitments from a donor to an organization. If you plan to make a multi-year commitment that will be paid out of a Seattle Foundation fund, it is crucial that you work with us from the outset and do not sign any pledge documents.

Can I buy a ticket to a charity event from my fund?

It is illegal to receive any personal benefit as a result of making a contribution from a Donor Advised Fund. Therefore, event tickets, auction items and other such benefits cannot be purchased through your fund. You may certainly sponsor a charity event through your fund, but you must purchase your ticket separately.

Can I recommend that grants be made anonymously?

Yes, absolutely. You may choose that your name, the name of your fund, or both remain anonymous in the transmittal letter that accompanies your grant checks. It is a simple process, and we are keenly aware of the importance of maintaining anonymity for our donors who request it.

How current is my fund balance?

We strive to keep the information displayed in your fund balance as current as possible. Typically, fund balances are updated on a monthly basis, with gift and grant transactions updated as they are processed. In the Fund Summary section at the top of the Your Account page, you'll find the date through which your fund balance is current. You can find more detailed information about our investment management here.

When are investment returns allocated to my fund?

Investment returns are allocated monthly. All allocations are usually completed by the 20th of the following month. At year end, this will typically take a few additional weeks.

When are administrative fees assessed?

Administrative fees are assessed monthly. Click here to learn more about Seattle Foundation’s fees.

When will I see my gifts to my fund online?

Gifts are processed weekly. You will typically see a gift appear online the week after it is received in our office. Some types of gifts, such as real estate or private securities, may take longer.

How often are fund statements produced?

Fund statements are produced quarterly in April, July, October and January for the preceding quarter.

For grantmaking and GiveBIG questions, please see our Nonprofit FAQs page.


What is a community foundation?

Seattle Foundation is among the largest of more than 700 community foundations in the United States. Community foundations are tax-exempt public charities that serve local donors who wish to take an organized approach to giving. Community foundations are public charities so their donors enjoy increased tax advantages not available to private foundation donors. Community foundation donors also receive professional support without hiring staff. Unlike private foundations, community foundations invest and administer a pool of funds contributed by numerous donors. Together, these donors create an endowment—in essence, a community savings account—designed to ensure the long-term health of the nonprofit community. To learn more, visit the Council on Foundations.

What is "Give Big"?

GiveBIG is a unique, one-day, online charitable giving event encouraging residents of King County to give locally. Through GiveBIG, King County residents are asked to give to a local nonprofits of their choosing through Seattle Foundation's online Giving Center. Contributions are partially matched by a "stretch pool" provided by Seattle Foundation and GiveBIG sponsors. The goal of GiveBIG is to raise money for the community while introducing charitably minded people to hundreds of excellent and efficient nonprofits on Seattle Foundation's Giving Center that make our region a healthier and more vital place to live.

The first GiveBIG took place on June 23, 2011, and our second GiveBIG event was on May 2, 2012. Our third GiveBIG on May 15, 2013 raised more than $11.1 million for nonprofit organizations. Our fourth GiveBIG event was on May 6, 2014 and raised more than $12.8 million for nonprofit organizations. To learn more, visit our GiveBIG website.

Can charitable funds established at Seattle Foundation benefit organizations outside of King County?

Yes. We help donors achieve their charitable goals in King County and beyond.

What research can I use to help make my giving?

Seattle Foundation's blog brings together a wide array of qualitative and quantitative data, including featured stories on nonprofit organizations, information about local and global issues, and strategies for effective philanthropy.

Does the Foundation publicize its grant awards?

Yes. Grant awards are publicized on our website, in our annual report and in the regional media. We announce grants in press releases to more than 30 publications, including King County Journal, Capitol Hill Times, Beacon Hill News & South District Journal, Seattle Weekly, etc. View our recent news.

How does Seattle Foundation invest its funds?

As stewards of the community's funds, Seattle Foundation invests for the very long term. Our portfolio is highly diversified and has shown to produce outstanding long-term results. We are pleased to retain Colonial Consultants as our primary investment consultant. Colonial has a wealth of experience advising endowments and foundations, and is unique among investment consultants for its familiarity with community foundations in particular.

How do I contact Seattle Foundation?

Seattle Foundation
Westlake Tower 
1601 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1900
Seattle, WA 9810

You may contact us by:

  1. Calling us at (206) 622-2294
  2. Emailing us at
  3. Completing this online form

How can I learn more about events at Seattle Foundation?

Seattle Foundation regularly hosts donor events, such as our Giving with Goals workshop, family and youth philanthropy programs, and informational events about SeaFdn's ongoing community initiatives and giving opportunities. View our upcoming events.

Using the Online System

What are this site's system requirements?

For the best experience on our website, please use Internet Explorer version 8 or Firefox version 3.5 or later.

I'm having problems using the online system. How can I get help?

We're sorry that you're having problems and we'd love to help you with the online system. Here are some resources to help you:

  1. Fundholder's guide to your online account
  2. For more help you can email web support at
  3. For immediate assistance, please contact us at (206) 622-2294

Can I make a donation to my fund online?

Yes, you can make direct debit contributions to your fund online. For additional contribution options, please review the Asset Delivery Instructions.

Is this site secure?

Seattle Foundation's online account system employs the latest security technology utilizing SSL encryption as well as hardened servers.