Advanced Foundation Grant
Presented by Elizabeth Levine,
Foundation Grant writing
• According to the Foundation Center, there
are over 50,000 grantmaking foundations
in the United States, 6,500 in New ork
State. In 1998, New York Foundations
ranked first in the nation in overall giving.
• Grantmaking foundations are nonprofit,
charitable, tax exempt organizations which
provide grants to support a wide variety of
charitable causes and concerns. They are
created by gifts of money or stocks from
individuals, families and corporations
which wish to do public good.
• Include family and individual foundations
for carrying out their charitable vision.
Over a period of time, these larger
foundations have witnessed less family
involvement and more paid staff.
• Organized to serve specific geographic
regions, and receive their support from a
variety of donors, rather than a singe
family or company
• Are created with gifts from for profit
companies to carry out some of the
company’s charitable activities. Some
companies may also choose to do their
giving directly without using a separate
foundation, often through their direct
employee giving programs.
• Whose primary purpose is to run their
own direct charitable programs but may
also run grants. (Example: United Way)
Selected Giving Patterns, 2005
• Larger family foundations included in the Foundation
Center’s 2005 grants sample1 were more likely to
provide funding for education, health, the environment
and animals, religion, and science and technology than
independent foundations overall. They were less likely to
give for human services, arts and culture, public
affairs/society benefit, international affairs, and the
social sciences. By types of support, family foundations
directed very similar shares of giving for general support
and capital projects compared to
independent foundations overall.
• Technically not a legal term, yet
approximately two-thirds of the private
foundations in this country are believed to
be family managed. At least one family
member must continue to serve as an
officer or board member of the
foundation, and as the donor, they or their
relatives play a significant role
Key Facts on Family Foundations
• The Foundation Center has identified more than 36,700
• independent foundations with measurable donor or donor-family
• involvement. These “family foundations” represent more than
• half of all independent foundations and account for similar shares
• of independent foundations’ giving, assets, and new gifts and
• bequests from donors. If all of the nation’s family foundations
• could be identified, these shares would undoubtedly rise.1
• Selected Grantmaker Data, 2005
Getting your foot in the door
Meet them at the foundation office. The easiest
strategy is to call and, after you’ve described
your project and gauged their interest, request a
meeting. Prior to your call, however, you should
read the guidelines and assess your likelihood of
getting a grant.
• Attend “meet the grantmaker” events. Check
with your local community foundation or United
Way to learn if something similar is offered in
Getting Your Foot In the Door
• Go to conferences. Schmoozing is key. Shake as
many hands as you can and find out as much
about what grantmakers fund as you can.
• Invite grants officers to visit your facility.
• Invite funders to observe your group in action.
Encourage funders to attend your next public
event. This could change the dynamic of the
meeting and may dampen some people’s desire
to be fully honest or outspoken, however.
Getting your foot in the door
• Before asking if you even need a grant, identify
the problem that your organization wants to
solve, decide what to do to solve it, and figure
out how much that may cost.
• The most successful programs are not grant
driven, they are mission driven. They are not
created and manipulated to fit the requirements
of a particular grant.
Making Your Case
• The need or problem statement for a grant proposal to a
federal agency or national foundation usually requires
extra work because the people making the determination
might not be from the same area as the party making
the request. Therefore, they might not be familiar with
the physical, political and social conditions in the area
needing the funding.
• Prove that the target population in the community is, in
fact, eligible to receive services under the federal or
• Data that demonstrate the existence and extent of the
problem in the community, including specific gaps in
service that the proposal will address.
Making Your Case
• Full understanding of the theories and practices
put forward to solve the problem in the
community and elsewhere.
• Knowledge of relevant solutions that have
worked in the community and elsewhere,
especially when some elements of these efforts
are incorporated into the plan.
• Explanation as to why there is still a need for a
new program if successful solutions already
Make the case in an executive
• One of the essential parts of a grant proposal, and one
that can be overlooked or underestimated, is the
executive summary, also called an executive brief or
• a summary should always be included in a proposal
unless specifically prohibited or prevented by severe
page limitation. It is a snapshot of all the major aspects
of the project.
• Never more than one page in length, it should include a
project title, contact person, name of the submitting
agency and mission statement. In addition, it should
• Summary of problem statement and project synopsis. Since the
entire summary is one page, this should be one or two paragraphs.
State concisely what the problem is and what you intend to do
about it. What are the key elements of the project and the main
• Expected results. Provide an overall statement of the expected
outcome of the project mission.
• Funding request. State the overall budget for the project, and then
state the amount of your request.
• Your investment. Discuss how much you are investing, as well as
the amounts that partners are contributing.
The process takes planning
Karsh and Fox suggest that even before a proposal can
be written, even before a proposal can be planned, an
organization must answer certain questions about itself.
They posed the question “Who am I?” and offer the
reminder that there are three main categories of
organizations: grassroots organizations, social service
agencies and advocacy groups.
• It is important for an organization to know its identity
and to remember that grants generally are directed
toward specific types of organizations.
Project description smooths
• It is no secret that a grant proposal must include a
description of the project to be undertaken. Also called a
narrative, a project narrative or a project explanation, it
provides the prospective funder with as complete a
description as possible of what is intended.
• According to Cheryl Carter New and James Aaron Quick
in their book How to Write a Grant Proposal , including
certain items in the goals and objectives is a necessary
part of the project description. This items could include:
• Project setup, which may include such things as
establishing advisory committees, hiring temporary staff,
partner meetings and planning sessions
Project Description ctd.
• Materials and training, which may include such
things as designing training and delivery, setting
up a library of materials, development of
curriculum for students, review of materials to
purchase, and development of manuals
• Infrastructure setup, which may include such
things as building renovation, purchase and
installation of equipment and purchase of
Project Description Ctd.
• Intake activities, which may include creating written procedures for
registering participants, scheduling, assigning of activities and registering
• Project implementation, which may include starting classes, beginning
research, providing access to information and whatever else it takes to start
• Project evaluation, including such things as surveys, statistical studies,
outcomes, participant tracking and results of tests
• Project management is important as a goal to assure the funder of your
awareness of a need to effectively administer and fiscally manage the