Grant-Making Process

Staff members and trustees meet regularly with educators, civic and cultural leaders, healthcare professionals, and with other funding organizations. Most of our grants evolve from discussions with organizations aligned to our funding priorities. We place great value in establishing and nurturing long-term partnerships with organizations that share our vision and goals. Many of our grants therefore reflect funding support and demonstrated impact over multiple years.

Collaborating with diverse partners to promote community asset and capacity building is a core value for our foundation. We value efforts among the organizations we fund to collaborate and work together for the common good.

Most of our grants come from long-term relationships and discussions. However, we also consider new inquiries from organizations that see an alignment between the work they are doing and our funding priorities.

Submission Deadlines

The 2021 deadlines for proposal submission are as follows.

Friday, February 5, 2021 – Deadline to Submit for March Board Consideration

Friday, May 7, 2021 – Deadline to Submit for June Board Consideration

Friday, July 30, 2021 – Deadline to Submit for August Board Consideration

Friday, October 1, 2021 – Deadline to Submit for November Board Consideration

Steps in Our Process

Important Notice: We’re in the process of implementing a new grant management and application system.

Please contact Ann Marie Mahoney at or 585.533.2903 before applying.

Step 1: Letter of Intent (LOI)

The Letter of Intent (LOI) is the first formal step in the application process. The LOI provides our staff and trustees with enough information to conduct a preliminary review of the organization and the initiative, and to define what success will look like if we provide funding. We also take this opportunity to confirm the organization’s tax status and contact information, as well as to review its overall financial health, and assess any legal and financial risks associated with the grant.

Step 2: Request for Proposal (RFP)

Through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process, prospective grantees provide specific details of their proposed initiative, including a work plan and budget. Our staff reviews the RFP in conjunction with Foundation trustees and occasionally with the help of outside experts, including, in the case of Pre-K through 12 Education RFPs, our outside Advisory Board. If we determine that specific changes are needed before final approval, we recommend them to grantees.

The Foundation’s Board of Trustees makes the final determination on all grant awards. Between the time of award and the time of funding, the Foundation and the grantee organization sign an agreement that includes specific terms for the grant, a payment schedule, a publicity agreement, and final report guidelines.

Step 3: Monitoring (Site Visits) and Final Report

During the life of the grant award, Foundation staff continue to collaborate with the grantee organization. The expectation exists that both parties maintain integrity and transparency in all interactions and transactions. Timely and consistent communication are critical elements of this component of the grant process. Any deviations from the original Request for Proposal should be conveyed immediately to our staff.

When appropriate, the grantee organization and the program staff will set times for site visits. Site visits are designed to acquire a sense of how the program’s implementation aligns with the original work plan, assess the progress of the program against the original schedule, and provide a forum for our staff members to engage with participants in the program to determine if it is meeting the desired goals and outcomes. Information obtained during these visits is shared with trustees during their quarterly meetings. On occasion, exemplary grantees/organizations are invited to make a formal presentation to the Board of Trustees.

All grantee organizations complete and submit a final report. A vital element of the final report is a two-page narrative in which the grantee addresses project implementation, deviations from the initial program, evaluation process and measures, results and associated evidence, challenges encountered, and lessons learned. Additional elements include the submission of an updated program budget and supporting documentation. Exemplary outcomes and impact as documented in the final report may result in a grant renewal.

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