Applying for A Grant - Frequently Asked Questions
What is The Community Foundation interested in funding?
The Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region manages charitable gifts and provides leadership and financial leverage to address current and future needs in our community, using grants designed to improve the quality of life in our region. We facilitate philanthropy within the counties of Caroline, King George, Stafford, Spotsylvania and the City of Fredericksburg.
The Community Foundation focuses its discretionary resources on critical concerns and promising opportunities in our region as determined by our Board on an annual basis.
We also provide funding in many other areas, such as human services and the arts, thanks to the diverse interests of our many donors.
Is my organization or project eligible for funding from The Community Foundation?
The Community Foundation awards grants to nonprofits with 501(c) 3 status, churches, schools and governmental entities.
My organization does not have a 501(c) 3, but we do have a fiscal sponsor. Do we qualify for a grant?
Yes. Please include your fiscal sponsor's 501(c) 3 documentation as well as a letter from the fiscal agent indicating that the organization has agreed to serve in that capacity when submitting your application.
Does The Community Foundation fund capital projects?
The Community Foundation does not generally fund the following:
Programs outside of Planning District 16
Capital building expenses
Fundraising events or event sponsorship
Does The Community Foundation give grants to individuals or businesses?
No. Outside of our scholarship programs, we only award grants to nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status, or organizations with a nonprofit fiscal sponsor.
When is the deadline to submit a grant proposal?
Deadlines vary depending upon the grants program to which you are applying.
Do you provide grants for general operating support?
Generally, yes, our grants programs provide support for general operations. If your organization is a first-time grant applicant, we are more likely to fund a specific project.
Can we set up a meeting to speak with you about our program before submitting a letter of inquiry or application?
Often a scheduled phone call can answer grant applicants’ questions. Depending upon staff availability, we are happy to meet with applicants, as needed, to review proposals prior to submission via the on-line grants management system. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a meeting.
Our organization is not located in Planning District 16 (PD16), but we serve PD16 residents. What geographic region does The Community Foundation serve with its grants?
The Community Foundation was created to serve Virginia Planning District 16 which includes the City of Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford. We use our discretionary resources (competitive grants) to fund organizations that are located in or benefit residents of PD16. Your headquarters may be located elsewhere, but your program must directly serve the people of this region in order to be eligible for a grant.
If you are located outside our service area, visit Community Foundations of Virginia or the National Community Foundation Locator to find a community foundation serving your area.
What happens after I submit a letter of inquiry or a proposal?
Once you submit a letter of inquiry, we will review it for eligibility. If we need further information, the Donor Services Manager will call or email, and may request a site visit. After confirming that your request is a match for one or more grant programs, the Donor Services Manager will invite you to submit a proposal.
The Donor Services Manager will evaluate your proposal, and then submit it to a board committee for review and possible approval.
How does The Community Foundation make its funding decisions?
The Donor Services Committee and volunteer reviewers meet several times each year to review proposals and approve grants. Our committees are comprised of Board members and other volunteers who serve without compensation and for rotating terms. They discuss funding requests in a series of confidential meetings at The Community Foundation and weigh the merits of each proposal. The review process, from time of application to time of approval, decline or deferral by our board, typically takes about three months.
Letters of inquiry are accepted on a rolling basis, but proposal deadlines vary by grant program.
What happens after my organization receives a grant?
Once a grant is awarded, we will email you (or your fiscal sponsor) a grant agreement and link to complete on-line reporting. Read the grant agreement carefully to make note of your responsibilities, then electronically sign and submit it. We will release payment of the grant upon receipt of the agreement, in accordance with the payment schedule and any special conditions spelled out in the grant agreement.
Please keep us informed about your progress and accomplishments. We may schedule a site visit. This is how we gather the information needed to provide accountability to our donors and the community, and how we continue building our relationship with you.
Do you perform site visits?
Yes. We have found that nothing compares to a face-to-face meeting with you, at your program site, to help us understand the impact of your work. We meet with potential grantees if, after receiving a formal request, we determine that a meeting or site visit is necessary. If a grant is approved, it is understood that you will be willing to allow us to visit with you afterward wherever your funded project is taking place. The expectations for the visit are that you will talk with us and show us what is happening in your program. The visit usually includes an opportunity to speak with the principal staff members and volunteers as well as with program participants.
Can I get a grant from a donor advised fund?
Donors that have established charitable funds make grants to nonprofit organizations based on their own areas of interest. Typically, these funds do not accept direct requests from individual nonprofit organizations, but rather will invite and organization to apply. However, through our in-depth consulting services to individual donors and their families we share our community knowledge with philanthropists and act as a matchmaker – connecting philanthropists to local nonprofit organizations.
How should I recognize gifts from donor-advised funds of The Community Foundation on our list of contributors?
List the name of the fund, followed by “of The Community Foundation.” For example:
Smith Family Fund of The Community Foundation
Anne Felder Fund of The Community Foundation
How should I recognize grants from competitive grant programs?
Please use the following wording in any public announcements and printed materials associated with the grant project:
“This project is made possible by a grant from The _Name of Fund _ Fund of The Community Foundation”
This project was made possible by a grant from The Duff McDuff Green, Jr. Fund of The Community Foundation
Will The Community Foundation help connect my organization or project to other funding sources through donor advised funds or family foundations?
Through our outreach to donors we provide information to donors on organizations and issues in the greater Fredericksburg area that are pertinent and timely. Despite our efforts, we are unable to highlight or focus on every organization that serves our area. Unfortunately, we are unable to assist you in setting up an informational meeting with or distributing information about your organization to donors.
How does the Foundation communicate with nonprofits?
The best way to stay in touch with The Community Foundation is to sign up for our e-newsletter, using the signup form at the footer of the website.
What can my nonprofit do to keep in touch and stay connected with The Community Foundation?
Your nonprofit can engage in the following:
Sign up for our mailing list by entering you email in the signup at the footer of this page.
Visit our website regularly to learn more about the programs we are operating and how to access them, including our current grant opportunities.
Respond to staff requests for updates on your organization’s work, which will inform our work with donor giving circles and philanthropist consulting.
Follow us on social media.
Does The Community Foundation offer scholarships?
Yes. The Community Foundation proudly administers scholarship funds established by generous donors to assist students with their educational needs.
What should we do if we can’t meet the deadline for submitting our mid-year or final reports?
The timely submission of reports is an important part of responsibly managing grant funding and is factored in future grant decisions. Please contact us if you believe you will not be able to submit your progress or final report in a timely manner.
What should we do if we need to modify the grant or budget during the grant period?
We expect you not to have to change the grant as it was presented, but if you do, then it must be preapproved by The Community Foundation. Call or email the Donor Services Manager with any requests for grant modification.