The Foundation awards grants to nonprofit organizations and public agencies serving those most in need. Most of the Foundation’s funding is in Our Focus Areas. Organizations should review those sections of the website for up-to-date information on program area objectives and funding opportunities. A limited amount of grantmaking also continues in our community partnerships.
When to Apply
Generally, grant opportunities and submission deadlines are communicated to the nonprofit community using:
- Requests for Proposals (RFP) (primarily for Initiatives),
- Funding Announcements,
- Funding Guidelines, or
- Invited Proposals
Organizations may send a letter, email, or call a program officer to introduce the Foundation to their mission, goals, and specific programs that fit within one of its program areas.
Eligible organizations are 501(c)(3) organizations or governmental agencies or units. The Foundation does not make grants to individuals.
Types of Grant Support Available
Depending on the program, grant funds may be used for program support, operating support, program-related capital support, planning, or capacity building. The Foundation does not make grants to support endowments, fundraising campaigns (including annual appeals), membership drives, debt retirement, and individual scholarships.
The Foundation does not support capital campaigns, except as a rare exception in its Catholic Ministries program area.
Organizations must primarily serve residents of Cuyahoga County. Policy organizations may be local, state, or national, but they must propose a goal that will impact residents of Cuyahoga County.
There is an exception in the Religious Communities focus area which extends to ministries in northeast Ohio (Dioceses of Cleveland and Youngstown).
Application Requirements and Forms
Each proposal to the Foundation must include a completed application form, proposal narrative, budget, and Budget Narrative. The application form and guidelines for the proposal narrative may be found on this website under the specific program area. Depending on the program, a Logic Model and Activity Timeline also may be required.
Application forms require the following supporting documentation:
- Copy of IRS designation
- Most recent audited financial statement
- List of current Board of Directors or Trustees (except for public agencies)
- Current year’s organizational budget
General Review Criteria
Although each program area contains more specific criteria, the Foundation generally reviews proposals for:
- clear goals and objectives, supported by data,
- solid organizational capacity,
- community input and connection,
- persuasive methodology (such as best practice or promising innovation),
- collaborative approach,
- current or potential funding from other sources, and
- sound and realistic budget.
Site visits may be required if the program staff determines that additional information is needed for due diligence. New organizations to the Foundation, larger grant requests, and proposals under an RFP are more likely to involve a site visit. Site visits are not a prerequisite to the approval of a grant.
Grant periods will vary depending upon the particular grant. Most grants are for one year. Grant periods for planning may be shorter, and multi-year grants are possible.
The Foundation frequently receives more quality proposals than it can approve with limited funds. Program staff is open to providing feedback on declined proposals, particularly in its focus areas.