Grant FAQs & Tips

Before applying for one of the grants made possible by our donors, see if there are answers or advice here that may prove helpful to you in your quest.

Common Grant Questions

Here are the answers to some common questions grant applicants pose:

Does the Foundation give grants to individuals?

No. We award grants to eligible nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations, organizations using a nonprofit fiscal agent, and municipal or governmental agencies only.

My organization is part of a statewide or national organization. Can we still apply for a grant?

Yes. Organizations that are based outside of Eastern Connecticut can apply, if the work described in the grant application and the accompanying budget are clearly to be carried out in one or more of the towns in Our Communities

Does the Foundation make grants to schools?

The Foundation does not generally fund projects or support educational initiatives that are more appropriately the subject of public funding. A proposal from a public or charter school would need to be for a special project or initiative not normally covered by the school’s publicly-funded budget. For example, the Foundation would consider an application for an afterschool enrichment program, but not for the development of a new math curriculum for the district.

Regarding private schools, the Foundation does not generally fund projects that serve only a discrete and fixed group of individuals without also having a broader public benefit.

My organization or fiscal agent is a religious organization doing non-sectarian work. Are we eligible to apply?

We do not fund religious activities of any kind, but religious organizations are eligible for grants if activities are non-discriminatory, non-sectarian, and benefit the larger community.

We are a volunteer organization operating under the town. Is a town eligible to apply for a grant?

Yes, the Foundation will consider a grant request from a municipality for support of a specific and time-limited project.

How much can we request?

It depends.

  • Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, Lyme, Montville, New London, North Stonington, Old Lyme, Salem, Stonington and Waterford) normally range from $5,000 to $30,000.
  • Grants that provide youth development programs and services for economically and socially disadvantaged Norwich youth generally range from $5,000 to $15,000.
  • Grants that promote the general welfare and self-sufficiency of residents of the Town of Windham range from $5,000 to $10,000. Few grants are made at the very top of the range.
  • Grants that benefit domestic animals and wildlife and/or promote environmental education and conservation in New London County range from $5,000 to $50,000.

What is an LOI?

It’s a Letter of Intent, or in our case, a short online form to share some basic information about your request, including:

  • organizational information (name, address, website, CEO, organizational budget, etc.)
  • which one of the Community Foundation’s four impact priority areas aligns with your request
  • the approximate project budget, amount of the request, and time frame
  • a summary of the program or project, description of the problem or opportunity you are addressing, and in which town(s) beneficiaries are from
  • intended beneficiaries
  • key partners (if any)
  • intended results of the program or project

The LOI is the first step in our regional impact, environmental and animal welfare grant opportunities. Women & Girls Fund grants do not require an LOI.

Can we request multi-year funding?

Yes, through the Southeast General and Environmental/Animal Welfare grant categories only. You can request up to three years of funding. Be sure to include a rationale for why you are asking for multi-year funding as well as the specific amount you are requesting each year.

Can we apply for more than one type of grant?

Yes. You may apply for more than one grant, as long as they are through separate grant opportunities.  For example, you may submit a grant application for an Environmental Grant and another for an Animal Welfare Grant, but you may not submit two Environmental Grants. 

How are funding decisions made?

For each grant opportunity, a committee of staff and community volunteers reviews the applications and makes funding recommendations that are then approved by our Board of Trustees.

What role do donors play in funding proposals?

The Foundation uses a mix of unrestricted, field of interest and donor advised funds in most of our grantmaking. We do share strong proposals that align with donor interest with our donors. Our donor advisors do not accept direct requests for funding.

What if our request is not aligned with any of the 4 major community impact priorities or 18 sub- priorities of the Community Foundation’s strategic plan?

We are committed to moving the community impact priorities of our strategic plan forward so our committees will favor those proposals. However, we encourage you to contact program director Jennifer O’Brien at jennOB@cfect.org or 860-442-3572 about ideas that fall outside of those priorities.

Our proposed project could be described as either environmental education (under the Environment impact priority) or hands-on learning (under the Youth Empowerment impact priority). How do we know which one to choose?

Contact program director Jennifer O’Brien at jennOB@cfect.org or 860-442-3572 to discuss which opportunity would best fit your project.

Does the Community Foundation make grants for nonprofit capacity building?

Yes, we support capacity building through the Southeast General and Environmental grant opportunities. While grants can be up to $20,000, most will be in the $5,000-10,000 range. We define capacity building as strengthening an organization’s board and/or staff, typically by engaging with a consultant around specific needs such as:

  • Strategic planning and organizational assessment
  • Board and staff development & training
  • Infrastructure improvements
  • Improving financial management
  • Fundraising, marketing, and communications planning
  • Feasibility assessment and implementation of mergers and strategic alliances

We recommend you begin by contacting program director Jennifer O’Brien at jennOB@cfect.org or 860-442-3572 to discuss your capacity building need before you begin the application process.

Can we apply for a new grant if we haven’t submitted an interim or final evaluation report for a previous grant?

Yes. You do not need to have submitted a report on your previous grant project in order to apply for a new grant, but you will have to submit an interim or final grant report before the Foundation will release any new grant funding.

In what type of file can we submit the budget?

We will accept PDF, Word and Excel files. With Excel in particular, please make sure the budget is formatted to be printed on an 8.5" x 11” piece of paper. No general ledgers, please.

What do we do if we have problems using the online system (SmarterSelect)?

For technical problems, contact Kathy Duggan, Systems /Finance Assistant, at kathy@cfect.org or 860-442-3572.

Contact

P: 860.442.3572
P: 1.877.442.3572 (toll free)
F: 860.442.0584 (fax)
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New London, CT 06320
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