How to Apply
Before you apply for a grant, please review the below information to assess your program’s eligibility and fit. As you prepare your materials, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your program ideas or application. While it is not a requirement, we have found that most successful applicants are in close communication with Foundation staff. If you have any technical issues with the application, please contact our Director of Foundation Administration, Mary Lyons-Richards, for assistance.
To be eligible for a grant, your organization must:
- Be recognized as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and not a private foundation.
- Have a current financial audit conducted by an independent certified public accountant. For organizations with yearly revenues under $500,000, we will accept a financial review in lieu of an audit.
- Have had total revenues of at least $100,000 for the preceding year.
- In policy and practice not discriminate based on age, race, creed, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.
Successful proposals identify a match between an organization’s work and our Foundation’s mission. Before you begin your application, we recommend that you review our Grant Guidelines and program areas to determine whether your proposal aligns with our Desired Outcomes.
Our geographic area is focused on Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties of Michigan, as well as the watersheds impacting those areas.
We generally do not provide support directly to individuals or units of government, nor for loans, grants to support religious activities, capital projects, research (unless solicited by the Foundation), fundraising events, or conferences.
The amount requested should be based on the size and scope of the organizational and program budget and the anticipated impact of the program. We generally do not fund 100% of a program’s cost. We will consider multi-year grants where appropriate.
If you meet the eligibility criteria, we encourage you to submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI). In this brief, 1-2 page document, you will be asked to describe your organization and summarize the need for your program, as well as its expected outcomes and activities. Further details about the contents of your LOI can be found in Section I of our Grant Application Instructions. LOIs may be submitted at any time and are reviewed on a rolling basis at our weekly staff meetings. You should be notified within two to four weeks whether we are able to invite a Proposal.
A Proposal may be invited based upon your LOI. The information you will be asked to include in the Proposal is specified in our Grant Application Instructions. Grants are approved at our board meetings, generally in January, May, and September. A grant request typically should take three to five months to process from the time that the Letter of Inquiry is submitted, though certain requests may take longer.
Please Note: email and paper inquiries will not be accepted. Our requirement for an online application is not intended to minimize communication, but is simply one way for us to exercise environmental stewardship by reducing the amount of paper we generate.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions about how to complete the application, if you need assistance with Internet access, or if you would like to discuss your program ideas before you submit your application. Foundation staff may also contact you for additional information or a site visit at any point in the review process.
If a grant is awarded, you will be asked to sign a Grant Agreement Letter.
Progress reports will generally be due every six months. We have attempted to develop a practical approach to program evaluation. While most programs likely will not require an outside, formal evaluation, we do expect a thoughtful evaluative process and useful product.
The purpose of our Reporting Requirements are three-fold:
- Grant monitoring – to assure that funds are being spent as planned
- Measurement – to help assess the impact of the grant
- Organizational learning – careful collection and use of data should help inform ongoing program development and refinement
For more information, please see our Grant Application Instructions and Reporting Requirements. To submit requirements, click here to log in to your account.