How to Apply

The Foundation has a two-stage, invitation-only* application process. A team of program staff solicits concepts, reviews inquiries, and guides applicants through the application stage and grant development process. Funding requests are primarily considered at quarterly board meetings. Outlined below are general expectations about the Foundation’s grant development process and instructions on how to submit funding requests.

*The Foundation does accept unsolicited inquiry requests, but as a first step we strongly encourage reviewing What We Fund and How We Fund sections of our website to understand program guidelines and eligibility requirements prior to submitting an unsolicited inquiry. Proposed work should align with the Foundation's strategic priorities and eligibility requirements. Further questions can be directed to a program staff member prior to submission. Contact information for program staff can be found in the What We Fund section.

 

Grant Development

All funding inquiries and applications must be submitted through the WPF Grantee Portal. We do not accept any type of application through email.  

 

Current Deadline Dates

 

SCHEDULED BOARD REVIEW
INQUIRIES DUE
PROPOSALS DUE
February 8, 2019
closed
closed
April 26, 2019
November 30, 2018
January 18, 2019
July 19, 2019
February 23, 2019
April 5, 2019
November 1, 2019
June 14, 2019
July 26, 2019

 

Applicant organizations are strongly encouraged to submit materials by these deadlines. Program staff can provide more information on timing and materials for consideration at a particular board meeting.

Grants at or below $82,500 are not required to be considered at a board meeting, and thus do not follow the deadline schedules above. However all grants are reviewed and approved by Foundation board members. Program staff can provide more information about the timing and process for these types of requests.

Arts EducationCore Support for Arts and Cultural Organizations, and New Audiences/New Places have unique review processes, which may include site visits and application review by an internal team composed of board members and staff. As a result, these programs have unique deadlines and submission instructions.  Program staff can provide more information about the timing and process for these types of requests.

 

 

Inquiry

The Inquiry provides program staff with an overview of a concept/idea and how it aligns with grant center strategies. It determines if a full application will be justified. At this stage, applicants provide:

  1. Narrative that describes the proposed idea/concept and the budget outlining use of the funds requested
  2. Audited financial statement for the most recently completed fiscal year
  3. Additional documentation (based on the requirements of the grant center. The Attachments tab in the online portal provides further instruction on additional documents needed)

Submission of an inquiry does not guarantee that Foundation staff will invite a full application.

With the exception of Core Support for Arts and Cultural Organizations and New Audiences/New Places, inquiries are accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis.  

 

Full Application

Full applications are by invitation only and must be submitted through the WPF Grantee Portal. The application form is accessed through a link that will be provided through the email invitation sent by program staff. We do not accept any application form through email.  

The full application provides program staff with a detailed description of the proposed work and how it aligns to the Foundation’s strategic focus and goals. A full application includes:

  1. Proposal Narrative – answers to a set of questions describing the proposed work and organizational capacity; financial information, demographic data, research and evidence to support the work; and risks.
  2. Result, Milestones, and Activities – anticipated result to be achieved through successful completion of the grant, as well as the key activities and milestones that will be critical to achieving that result.
  3. Project Budget – how the grant funds will be used to complete the project
  4. Documentation Required:
    1. Audited financial statement for the most recently completed fiscal year
    2. Operating Budget for the current fiscal year
    3. Board of Directors list
    4. Key Staff, Consultants, Partners (list and resumes)
  5. Additional Documents – as required by the grant center (based on the requirements of the grant center. The Attachments tab in the online portal provides further instruction on additional documents needed)

Submission of a full application does not guarantee that the request will be considered for funding or awarded at the requested level.

 

Application Review

Grant development may require frequent communication between program staff and the applicant organization to answer questions that surface during application review. Questions may be related to any of the following components of the Foundation’s application review process:


Results, Milestones, and Activities

Every application requires a description of the specific result anticipated to be achieved through successful completion of the proposed work, as well as the key activities and milestones that will be critical to achieving that result.  Foundation staff may be in touch to clarify the project’s activities, milestones, and anticipated results.

 

Financial and Legal Review

The Foundation has an in-depth financial review process to assess the financial health of the organization and its ability to carry out the proposed work.  The audited financial statement for the most recently completed fiscal year, the operating budget for the current fiscal year, and the 990 are used for assessment. Foundation finance staff will contact the applicant organization if questions surface during this review.

Grant requests also undergo legal review that may result in questions requiring follow up.

 

Project vs. General Support

The Foundation provides funding for projects rather than general operating support. However, direct costs can include funding for staff, materials, and other organizational costs associated with the project. We encourage organizations to include funding to support related indirect costs or overhead in the project budget.

It is Foundation policy not to fund more than 25% of an organization’s operating budget for more than three individual years in any given five-year period. The Foundation may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis under limited circumstances, subject to approval by the board of directors.

 

Multiple or Renewal Grants

The Foundation will consider multiple applications from an organization, so long as total funding does not exceed the 25% threshold noted above.

Prior to submitting a new application, a grantee must be current with interim and final reporting requirements on all active grants. An outstanding final report on a previous grant may delay the review of the new funding request. Program staff may request updates on previously funded projects as part of a new application review.

The Foundation does not automatically renew grants. To reapply for funding, contact your program staff person prior to the final year of the current grant to discuss the timing and expectations of additional funding.

 

Grant Size and Matching Requirements

The size of a grant from the Foundation depends on the nature of the proposed work, the need of a particular project, and the Foundation’s budget. 

A match for grant requests is not required unless specifically communicated by the program staff person during the grant development process. However, part of the Foundation’s focus on collaboration and fostering partnerships is an interest in bringing together multiple funders around shared priorities. We always welcome the opportunity to pool resources.

 

Submission 

Invited Submissions

Invited means that the applicant organization has had a conversation with a Foundation program staff person and the program staff person has sent an invite email to the applicant providing them with a link to submit an inquiry or full application. The applicant should follow the instructions in this email to access the portal and complete the form. 

Further information about accessing the WPF Grantee Portal and completing the forms can be found in the Portal Resource Guide for Inquiry and Application Submission (Invited).

 

Unsolicited Submissions

Unsolicited submissions are from organizations that have not discussed a project with Foundation program staff nor been invited by a program staff person to submit an inquiry for funding review. Prior to submitting this inquiry, we strongly encourage reviewing the What We Fund and How We Fund sections of our website to understand program guidelines and eligibility requirements. Proposed work should align with the Foundation's strategic priorities and eligibility requirements. Further questions can be directed to a program staff member prior to submission. Contact information for program staff can be found in the What We Fund section. 

If you feel your project aligns with Foundation strategies, visit https://williampennfoundation.force.com to access the WPF Grantee Portal, register for an account, and complete the general Inquiry Form.

Further information about accessing the WPF Grantee Portal and completing the forms can be found in the Portal Resource Guide for Inquiry Submission (Unsolicited).

 

Questions about our grant review or submission processes may be directed to grants@williampennfoundation.org at any time.