Ben B. Cheney Foundation

Contact Person: 

Erika Tucci, Senior Program Officer
3110 Ruston Way, Ste A
Tacoma, WA  98402

Phone:  253-572-2442

Contact E-mail:

Program Funding Areas:

The Foundation organizes its grant making into eight categories. They are displayed here for information purposes only. The Foundation does not budget to categories in advance and grant seekers are not required to apply by category.

  • Charity – Programs providing for basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing.
  • Civic – Programs improving the quality of life in a community as a whole such as museums and recreation facilities.
  • Culture – Programs encompassing the arts.
  • Education – Programs supporting capital projects and scholarships, primarily for six pre-selected colleges and universities with a record of service to Pierce County.
  • Elderly – Programs serving the social, health, recreational, and other needs of older people.
  • Health – Programs related to providing health care.
  • Social Services – Programs serving people with physical or mental disabilities or other special needs.
  • Youth – Programs helping young people to gain the skills needed to become responsible and productive adults.

Types of Support Offered:

The Foundation prefers to fund projects that:

  • develop new and innovative approaches to community problems
  • expand existing programs to serve more people and/or areas
  • start new programs
  • invest in equipment or facilities that will have a long-lasting impact on community needs

Project grants are generally given on a one-time basis.

The Foundation will evaluate an organization’s plans for sustaining the impact of project grants, especially those for program expansion or starting new programs. That evaluation will include these questions:

  • Are there identified sources of support capable of sustaining the program?
  • Is the organization committed to a strategy to gain those sources of support?
  • Does the project plan include activities towards gaining that sustainability?

Do you fund general operating costs for non-profits? If so, under what conditions?

While the Foundation understands that fund raising is a part of many organizations’ budgets, we feel that this approach allows us to respond to needs that go above and beyond the annual operating budget. As a result, projects for one-time capital or equipment needs often gain priority. Through this approach the Foundation is able to make grants to a number of first time grantees every year. Since 1975 the Foundation has supported 1,200 organizations.

Restrictions/ Limitations:

The Foundation generally limits it grants to public charities. That means the Internal Revenue Service has recognized an organization under 501 (c) (3) and also found that it is a public charity under 509 (a) (1) or (2).

Organizations that received their public charity status as supporting organizations under 509 (a) (3) should call our office to discuss eligibility.

Units of government may be eligible depending upon the nature of the request.

New programs or associations that operate under the auspices of a fiscal sponsor must have that sponsor apply on their behalf.

While the Foundation will respond to a wide variety of projects, there are limitations. The Foundation generally does not make grants to:

  • Support general operating budgets or annual campaigns
  • Sponsorships for fund raising events
  • Projects which are supplanting tax funded expenditures
  • Religious organizations for sectarian purposes
  • Basic research
  • Endowment funds
  • Individuals
  • Produce books, films or videos
  • Conferences, seminars, or attendance at same
  • Individual students or student groups raising money for school-related trips

Geographic Area Supported:

Parts of Washington, Oregon & California.  Click HERE for an interactive map of regions covered

Application Process:

Every proposal to the Foundation should begin with a proposal letter. This process is the same for new applicants and for past grantees.

The Foundation believes that the proposal letter offers organizations the best opportunity to tell their story and to facilitate our review.

Ben B. Cheney Foundation continues to refine its grant process. Please review the Foundation website for changes in the process prior to submitting a grant proposal.