Building Nonprofit Capacity

Strengthening the region's nonprofits

The pace of change in philanthropy has never been so rapid. Molded by our region’s dynamic demographics and the capital area’s specific social and economic uncertainties, needs, and resources, these large-scale shifts in philanthropic giving take a decidedly-local shape in our community. 

Big Day of Giving

In 2013, propelled by the findings from our Generosity Study which showed that only 62 percent of our region’s households gave charitably—lagging the national average by five points—we launched Big Day of Giving to empower area donors and nonprofits to address the rapid changes in philanthropy. Today, Big Day of Giving continues to help area nonprofits build their capacities in marketing, board engagement, and donor development.

Even as that program thrives, many of the capacity issues facing nonprofits in our region are more complex than a giving day can address. That's why we use data gleaned from Big Day of Giving and the website that powers it, GivingEdge — coupled with learnings from focus groups, convenings, and surveys — to inform additional efforts to strengthen the local nonprofit sector by building organizations' capacities, ensuring that we deploy resources to equip nonprofit leaders with skills and tools to fulfill their missions and respond to our community’s needs. 

Create a GivingEdge profile for your organization

The Lab Capacity Building Program

One such effort The Lab Capacity Building Program, which provides a hub for established and emerging nonprofit leaders from local nonprofits to innovate and problem-solve. The program’s curriculum is a rigorous undertaking for cohort participants. Each cohort is made up of Executive Directors and emerging leaders from organizations serving the Sacramento region who attend sessions every month to identify and address a specific challenge that has stymied their organization’s ability to increase its community impact.

Learn morE about the lab


Another program informed by learnings from Big Day of Giving and GivingEdge is Cultivate, which we launched when data from past Big Days of Giving reflected locally what we know is true across the nation: Nonprofits led by people of color typically receive less funding for their organizations, despite high-quality outcomes and strong relationships in the communities they serve. To close this gap, Cultivate nourishes connection and collaboration among leaders of color at local nonprofits. 

Learn more about Cultivate

Join Us

To get involved in these efforts, we invite you to learn more about participating in Big Day of Giving and, if you are interested in being informed when we open additional funding opportunities related to capacity building, please register to be alerted to those opportunities using our Grants Registry. You may also review some of our previously awarded grants related to nonprofit capacity building.



Throughout the year, the Foundation launches competitive grant opportunities to fund the worthy work of local nonprofits. For the most current information for each granting programs, view our Grants Calendar and sign up for the Grants Registry.

View the Calendar and Registry