We are improving our process for making and managing grants and other investments. Our goal is to increase impact and provide more time to innovate and build strong relationships with you, our partners, to ultimately achieve results for the people we serve, together.
The foundation recently launched a standard, streamlined process and scalable tools that will be used for most 2014 grants and direct charitable contracts. Grantees with existing investments (made prior to or in very early 2014) will not change to the new process and tools, in most cases. Foundation staff will provide guidance on the appropriate process and tools to use.
Q. How do I apply for a grant from the foundation?
A. We do not make grants outside our funding priorities. In general, we directly invite proposals by directly contacting organizations. We do occasionally award grants through published Requests for Proposals (RFPs) or letters of inquiry. View a list of current RFP and Open LOI opportunities.
Q. I have materials I want to submit along with my request for funding. How do I send them?
A. Please submit only the requested forms. We are not able to accept samples, prototypes, or other supplementary materials that accompany requests for funding, and these items will not be returned.
Q. My funding request does not fall under any of your programs. How do I submit it?
A. We do not make grants outside our funding priorities.
Q. I am an individual seeking financial assistance. Am I eligible for a grant?
A. In keeping with our charter, we do not provide funding to individuals.
Q. I am raising money for a cause. Am I eligible for a grant?
A. The foundation makes grants to organizations directly rather than through individual fundraising activities; therefore, we are unable to fund your effort.
Q. What does the recently launched investment process mean for grantseekers?
A. Our new process and tools are designed to focus documentation and analysis on the key topics and to reduce unnecessary work. The process helps us work more effectively internally, reducing questions of grantseekers and rework late in the development of an investment. Most of our work in 2014 will be developed using the new process and tools. In general, existing grantees will not rely on the new tools and process.
Q. When did the foundation start using the new process and templates?
A. The foundation started using the new process and tools with 2014 investments. A subset of the foundation tested the process and tools in late spring with some 2013 investments, followed by a phased transition for the rest of the foundation in summer/winter of 2013.
Some template design work is continuing in 2014. New standard terms and conditions for our agreements were launched in early 2014 for new investments, and new budget and fiscal report templates will be available later in 2014.
In addition, later in 2014 we will launch a streamlined process and toolset for administrative contracts (i.e., contracts we enter into to support the operation and management of the foundation).
Q. How much time will grantseekers have to spend on submitting a new investment?
A. Just as today, that varies depending on the complexity of the investment. We anticipate that while more time may be spent upfront to align on investment results and the approach to measurement and reporting, we anticipate that less time will be required on late stage requests, analysis, and rework.
Q.Who makes decisions on investments and when?
A. As part of its operating model, the foundation delegates decision making on grants and contracts to leaders across the organization. With our new process, decision makers are identified at the early stage of an investment. Check-in points are built in to help ensure that decision makers are informed about and can raise questions during development, rather than holding all questions until the end.
Q. What documents will grantseekers need to complete?
A. The typical set of documents includes a proposal narrative, a budget and narrative, and a results framework and tracker. The grantseeker may also complete a concept memo at a very early stage to outline an investment.
Once a grant is approved, the grantee will typically rely on the results tracker, progress narrative, and fiscal reports to report formally on progress, challenges, and financial status.
Many of these templates are similar to what grantees have used before, however, they are standardized across the foundation and have been designed to scale with the complexity of the investment, and include fewer rote questions.
Q. How will investment results be measured and reported on?
A. The Results Tracker is a tool that will help the prospective grantee plan for how they will measure results (i.e. outcomes and outputs) and report on progress against them over the course of the investment. This tool will be used during the investment development and management phases of the grant. The Progress/Final Report Narrative will also be used by the grantee at each reporting period to provide a descriptive summary of progress toward results.