DCYF Opportunity Fund

The DCYF Opportunity Fund addresses unexpected, unbudgeted grantee needs that arise during the course of a normal funding cycle. The Opportunity Fund is only available for current DCYF grantees.

Visit this link to access a webinar about the Opportunity Fund (begins at 18:26). Click here for the PowerPoint presentation from the webinar

DCYF encourages anyone interested in submitting an application for the Opportunity Fund to review the Frequently Asked Questions document at this link.


In November of 2014 San Francisco voters approved Proposition C, which reauthorized the Children & Youth Fund through fiscal year 2040-41. Proposition C mandated an increase in the allocation for the Children and Youth Fund to four cents as of fiscal year 2018-19. In addition to the mandated growth of the Children and Youth Fund, property tax revenues have grown year over year in San Francisco, yielding a general increase in the Children and Youth Fund. DCYF's created the Opportunity Fund in order to allocate a portion of the growth funds.

Guiding Principles

  • Purpose of Fund. The purpose of the DCYF Opportunity Fund is to address unexpected, unbudgeted CBO needs that arise during the course of the normal funding cycle. The funds cannot be used to support general operations, program expansion, or pilot projects. The Fund cannot be used to address needs of CBO clients and/or program participants 

  • Restriction to One-Time Uses. The DCYF Opportunity Fund may only be used for one-time projects. Applications that will require investment over time will not be eligible for the program. No awards will be given that may commit DCYF to an ongoing funding obligation. 

  • One Application = One Project. The DCYF Opportunity Fund makes project-based grants, and applications submitted to the fund must be limited to only one discrete project. Applications that are for multiple, disconnected projects, even those related to a common purpose, may not be considered for an award. For example, an application to modernize a program space by purchasing new furniture, upgrading computers, and installing a security system would not pass the one application, one project test, as it contains three independent projects. An application to upgrade an agency’s technology by purchasing software and installing it on its systems would pass this test, as the two projects are necessarily linked.

Funding Priorities

  • Priority #1: Emergency Needs. These projects have a sudden and profound effect on programs and/or nonprofit operations. Without rapid intervention there could be serious consequences for the agency. Examples: water main break, emergency repairs, broken windows. 

  • Priority #2: Safety and Security Needs. These projects are not acute enough to be classified as true emergencies, but they will have a clear, direct and positive impact on the safety of program participants and/or staff. Examples: outdoor lighting improvements, panic bar installation on doors, security system installation. 

  • Priority #3: Other Priority Needs. These projects are less in severity than the first two priorities, but their implementation will have a positive effect on programs and/or administration. Conversely, not performing these activities is likely either to create a negative situation or allow an existing one to persist. Examples: replacement of worn carpet or furniture, repair or replacement of obsolete technology, purchase of upgraded financial management software. 

  • Priority #4: Discretionary Projects or Purchases. These projects might be considered “wants” rather than “needs.” They would have a positive impact on the agency, however they are the lowest priority of the Fund. Applicants will need to make a compelling case for why these expenses are not part of the agency’s standard operating budget, or funded by their main DCYF grant. Examples: conference attendance, new vehicle or equipment purchase, matching grant opportunity. 

Eligibility Criteria

DCYF has only two mandatory eligibility criteria for the Opportunity Fund:

  • Applicants must be a current grantee of the department, either through the main RFP or a smaller off-cycle grant. This includes agencies receiving ExCEL matching grants. Fiscal sponsors of our grantees are not eligible for Opportunity Fund support, but their DCYF-funded programs are.

  • Applicants must be a community-based nonprofit; other City departments and SFUSD are not eligible to apply.

Allowable Expenses

In general, the eligible and ineligible expenses listed in Doing Business with DCYF are the same for the Opportunity Fund, and will be the main reference when DCYF reviews applications. The table below includes some examples specific to the Fund and its goals:

 Application Process

Applications will be accepted and reviewed quarterly, with deadlines on September 1, December 1, March 1, and June 1. 

After awards are finalized, successful applicants will receive a grant agreement and CMS entry set up under a new Opportunity Fund strategy. As with all DCYF grants, funded agencies will use CMS to file invoices and manage their award. In addition to filing invoices electronically using the Contract Management System (CMS), grantees must provide DCYF with supporting documentation for all expenses. Within 30 days of filing its final invoice, the agency will be required to submit a brief written summary of the project in a final report.