Answers to Your Questions

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What types of programs do you fund?

The Cleveland Foundation makes most of its grants to tax-exempt agencies classified as 501(c)(3) organizations (public charities as defined by the Internal Revenue Service) in Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga counties. Some grants are also made to government agencies and churches. Grants to organizations fall within two categories:

  1. Responsive: About one-third of our flexible grantmaking dollars are given in response to direct requests from the community. In general, we give priority to those projects that improve access to services and programs for vulnerable and underserved populations; strengthen nonprofit organizations; test new ideas and different partnerships; and support policy and advocacy.
  2. Proactive: About two-thirds of our flexible grantmaking dollars are awarded proactively in areas judged most vital to Greater Cleveland’s future. Grants in these areas are generally made to our long-term partners with the goal of creating significant, widespread impact.
Where can I find a list of recent grants?

Visit our recent grants page. Also, sign up for our grantee e-newsletter, where you will get the latest foundation news, including a full list of recent grants, delivered directly to your e-mail inbox.

How do I apply for a grant?

There are four basic steps to applying for a grant:

  1. Get a username and password for our online system
  2. Complete your organization's profile.
  3. Submit a grant inquiry online.
  4. Once the inquiry is reviewed, you may be invited to complete the full grant application.
Can I apply for a grant from a donor-advised fund?

Grants from donor-advised funds are made to nonprofit organizations based on the donor’s areas of interest. Therefore, applications are not necessary. Your profile can be reviewed by staff working with donor funds, which is why it is a good idea to keep your profile updated regularly.  

What are the deadlines for submitting a grant application?

We generally do not have deadlines as grant applications are reviewed as they are received. Our Lake-Geauga Fund and supporting organizations do have individual deadlines, so be sure to check our website for those dates.

What if I have questions about submitting my grant application?

Contact Grants Management at 216-615-7254 or e-mail GrantsMgmt@CleveFdn.org.

Can anyone at the Cleveland Foundation help me write a proposal?

We do not provide assistance with writing proposals. However, we suggest you contact the Foundation Center, which frequently conducts workshops on proposal writing, among other services. Visit its website to find a location near you. The Cleveland location phone number is 216-861-1934.

Can you refer me anywhere else for funding?

A good resource for both individuals and organizations is the Foundation Center. It does not provide funding, but it is well equipped to provide online resources to help grantseekers identify appropriate funders and develop targeted proposals. Visit its website to find a location near you. The Cleveland location phone number is 216-861-1934.

When can we expect to hear a decision about our grant application?

Once your application is received, a program officer or director is assigned to review your request and can answer any questions and provide guidance regarding the timetable for making a decision. Grant applications that request significant amounts of funding, those that deal with complex or new programs, or those that have significant unanswered questions will likely require longer review times. In these cases, you should allow eight to 10 weeks for full review of your proposal from submission of the grant inquiry to decision.

How can I check the status of my grant application?

You can log in to Grants Gateway to review the submission status of your application or e-mail Grants Management at GrantsMgmt@CleveFdn.org.

How often can we apply?

We do not set a limit on the number of times an organization can apply for funding. Generally we prefer that organizations use discretion and submit requests only for top-priority projects and programs.

Who will review my request?

While program officers have specific areas of interest and experience, they are all available to help you through the application process. Meet the members of the community responsive grantmaking team.

If our previous grant request was declined, can we apply again?

Yes, each application is considered on its own merits.

Can we meet before we submit our grant application or inquiry?

Our preference is that you apply first. It's always easier to discuss a project or program once your ideas are written. The grant inquiry serves as an introduction and summary of your project. It's a good way to get a quick reaction to your idea. Staff may contact you if a meeting or more information is necessary.

How much money should we ask for?

There is a wide range in the dollar amounts of grants awarded. Organizations should request the amount actually needed to successfully complete the proposed project.