Guideline for Grant Applications

The Foundation will only consider applications submitted online. If you run into any trouble when trying to apply via our online application, please don't hesitate to contact us at or call us at: (661) 489-5023. We are more than happy to help you.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: When applying, please include the address where you want the funding sent and where you can accept certified mail. That is the only address we need. 


Tips on Applying for the Fall Grant Cycle 

•The Fall Cycle is a two-part competitive application cycle. Organizations are vying amongst themselves for a grant award. The award can be for any amount, up to and including $100,000.
•There is no focus; any Kern County 501(c)3 nonprofit is eligible to apply. You are also welcome to apply for a variety of projects. BUT you may only apply once, per project. 
•The first round of this cycle is the Letter of Inquiry, an online application outlining your proposed project. This Letter of Inquiry is available from August to September.
•If the Foundation feels your proposal has potential, we will invite you to apply, roughly two weeks later, usually sometime in mid-September. The second online application will be due in mid-October.
•The Board meets in November to deliberate and award grant monies.
•Please remember these grants are competitive. All the applications that have moved onto the second round are worthwhile projects. It does really come down to the luck of the draw at that point.
•With that in mind, if your organization has moved onto the next round, but does not win, try again the following year. It pays to be persistent. One of our recent $100,000 winners applied for funding for the same project three years in a row, finally winning the third time.

Tips on How to Answer Application Questions

In an effort to make the application process as easy as possible for our grantees, the Foundation is changing the way we accept answers to our application questions. Grantees will no longer need to write out their answers in essay format (unless they chose to), but are able to pick the method that feels more comfortable for them.

In other words, we don't care how we get the information, we just need to have it in some form. 

The following EXAMPLE is from an hypothetical nonprofit, requesting funding for a type of project the Foundation is likely to fund. One of these ANSWERS is in long-form prose, the other is in bullet points. These are only example formats. If another format works better for you — Roman Numerals (or any numerical format), or an Outline form — feel free to use that instead.

Please Explain*

If you do no receive the full amount of your requested grant, how will you proceed? Please explain.

Our organization is committed to getting this project off the ground and running. If we do not receive the full amount, we will either scale back, using less performers or cutting back on the number of performances given, or we will seek grant funding opportunities from other organizations — possibly all three! Either way, we will make this project happen.


Please Explain*
If you do no receive the full amount of your requested grant, how will you proceed? Please explain.

•We will use less performers;
•We will cut back on the number of performances given;
•We will apply for different funding from other organizations:
•Or we will do all this and more. We are committed to this project!

*Important things to note before applying for a grant

The Foundation has roughly $800,000 to give away each year: 

$500,000 of that funds the grants for our two cycles:

-SPRING: where we donate smaller grant amounts — around $20,000 or so — to a larger number of organizations, based on a particular focus.

-FALL: our two-part competitive cycle, where we award amounts of $100,000, $50,000 and $25,000, to a few organizations only.

$50,000—$100,000 is set aside to fund ongoing campaigns. In the past, these have included donations to the Kern County Museum’s Archive Building, and programs focused on Summer Learning Loss. Currently, we are looking into applying these funds to the issue of food insecurity.

•The remaining amount — around $200,000 — is for our year-round non-cycle grants, which are generally focused on animal welfare, literacy, education, and environmental & historical preservation. These grants also tend to be for smaller amounts.


TIPS on applying for the SPRING CYCLE:

•Each Spring Cycle has a Focus, which in the past has included projects to improve downtown Bakersfield, Tehachapi nonprofits, environmental education, and Kern County programs focused on arts and culture.
•The online application is accessible from late February until early April, when the application is generally due.
•The Board meets in May to deliberate and award grant monies.


TIPS on applying for a NON-CYCLE GRANT:

•You will need to contact us before applying. Email (preferred) or call and explain a bit about your proposed project. If your proposal sounds like a good fit, we will give you the code needed to access the online application.
•Non-cycle Grants are available from: January—April; June—August; and late-November until the end of that year.
•Non-cycle Grants are usually for smaller amounts.
•Non-cycle Grants are for programs or projects involved in animal welfare, literacy, education, and environmental & historical preservation.
[To Note: All non-cycle grant monies are awarded near the end of every month, unless you apply at the end of the month, in which case, the funding will be sent at the end of the following month.]


General Tips for Applying

When considering an application, the Foundation looks for: 

     • A clear and specific budget for the project requiring funding, including how the requested funds will be allocated.

     • The projected number of constituents the project will serve.
     • The inclusion of the required supporting documents with your application. These required documents include: 

-a copy of your 501(c)3;

-the aforementioned budget;

-a list of your organization’s board members.

     • 501(c)3 organizations. The Foundation is only able to donate money to organizations that are 501(c)3 nonprofits.  [NOTE: If you are not a 501(c)3 but would like to learn how to become one, this guideline from the IRS is a good place to start.]
In addition, the Foundation requires all potential grantees to be registered on []. This is a free service for all 501(c)3 nonprofits, and a good guide for donors toward learning about a charitable organization.

If you have any questions, or wish to discuss potential project ideas, please feel free to email us at



Funding will not be considered for the following:

  • General fundraising events, campaigns, dinners or mass mailings.
  • Direct aid to individuals or private foundations.
  • Social, labor, political or fraternal organizations or movements.
  • Operational or mission-related work of religious organizations. However, Kern County 501(c)3 religious organizations may apply for specific project-related support, such as funding for educational or literacy programs.
  • Multi-year grants. Though occasionally given, the Foundation prefers to fund one-year projects or annual support. In addition, the Foundation is unlikely to award funding to an organization that has received a grant award within the past year. 
  • Kern County-based nonprofits: The Foundation can only donate to nonprofits located in the Kern County region; outside nonprofits with projects focused solely on impacting Kern County may also apply.

Other Pertinent Information

Decisions: Foundation directors look for programs that have a variety of financial, participatory and voluntary support.

Note: The Virginia and Alfred Harrell Foundation receives more worthy grant applications than it can fund. Please review the guidelines for the current grant cycle to determine if your program/project is a good fit for the current grant focus.

Reports: Once a grant is awarded, a report is expected on how the received funds were put into practice. A form supplied by the foundation can be used for this purpose. This follow-up form is due a year after the grant funds are received. The role of the report is to help the foundation evaluate how best to allocate limited funds. The foundation cannot consider any new monetary requests from an organization that has not returned such a report.

Grassroots Organizations: The Foundation has a particular interest in assisting grassroots, self-help organizations.


The Foundation's Mailing Address is: P.O. Box 11171, Bakersfield, CA 93389