Funding Requests

sun-451441_1920Every year, the Downtown Optimist Club donates over $40,000 to local children’s organizations.  Whether for a special project, a yearly program, or routine expenses, our club is happy to receive funding requests from organizations who meet the guidelines below.


The Board of Directors of the Downtown Optimist Club uses the following guidelines to help evaluate requests for funding:

  • Does your group/project benefit, have a significant effect on youth? NOTE: If the answer to this question is “no,” your request will be denied since the mission of the club is to serve youth.
  • Is your request to DOC for funding part of a mass mailing, or is it an individualized request?
  • Does your organization serve the Columbia area exclusively? If not, can our contribution be earmarked to benefit only this area?
  • Will the funds donated by DOC be used for current projects and not for investment purposes?
  • Is your group fiscally sound and responsible?
  • Is your group recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity? If it is not, has it established a record of service locally that will merit our consideration?
  • Has your group received one of our grants in the past? If so, Did we receive satisfactory follow-up from you regarding the past grant, as listed under the follow-up requirements?


  • Send an email to FUNDING with the following information:
    1. The name of the organization
    2. The name & phone number of the person who will be presenting the funding request at our monthly Board meeting.
    3. A description of your group and your project (if applicable).
    4. Answers to the above questions under Guidelines.
    5. The amount of financial assistance being requested.
    6. A copy of your most recent form IRS 990, financial statements, or tax return.
  • A representative must be available in person to present your request to the Board of Directors meeting. These meetings are held monthly, on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 6:00 pm at our clubhouse located at 1201 Grand Avenue.
  • Your information must be submitted by the 5th of the month to be on the agenda for the current month’s Board meeting.  A member of the club will contact you to confirm your presentation date & time.



  • Please add the Downtown Optimist Club to your mailing list, so we can stay informed on your organization’s updates.
  • You will be expected to acknowledge the grant in a personal letter to DOC.
  • Within six months, you will be expected to send DOC a follow-up report, describing how our funding was used.
  • Public recognition is very important to DOC since it helps us raise money and support for youth programs. DOC will appreciate your help in recognizing us in newspapers, radio, TV, public speaking, printed programs or other outlets.
  • Members or recipients of funds donated by DOC are expected to provide service on DOC’s annual Christmas tree lots. Days and times of this service will be scheduled with you in advance and consist of:
    • greeting customers to the lots and thanking them for their purchases, and
    • describing to customers how DOC funds are used to benefit youth in general and your group/project in particular.