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Frequently Asked Questions about Grants

These questions pertain to all grants received through The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC). For information related to specific funding opportunities, please refer to the detailed grant guidelines available on our Web site.

Applying for a grant from TFEC

1. What is the first step in submitting a Grant Application to TFEC? 
Applicants are required to contact TFEC’s Program Officer at 717-236-5040 to discuss the project. Staff will then provide applicants with a password to our online grant applications. Additional information on the process for applying for funding can be accessed by visiting our Web site.

2. Is technical assistance available from TFEC?
Applicants are invited to request a review of their draft program narratives, budget worksheets, and logic model by Program Department staff. These requests should be limited to two reviews before a final proposal is submitted. Applicants are encouraged to contact staff no less than one week prior to the grant submission deadline. Please review the
Step by Step Instructions available for our new online application process which will provide a brief overview of the new system.

3. Can an applicant apply to more than one of the two grant categories (program, capacity building) in a single funding year?
• Yes, you may apply for funding in more than one category within the same year but NOT for the same program or project.
• You may only submit one application per round for consideration.

4. What are the criteria used to evaluate grant proposals?
The criteria are: Collaboration, Capacity, Creativity, Diversity, Relevance, Sustainability and Results. A detailed description of what is meant by each of these criteria is included in the
grant guidelines.

5. What is considered an ineligible activity for grant funding?
Generally, we do not fund individuals, capital campaigns, religious organizations for the propagation of religious doctrine, advertising, direct lobbying to influence legislation, and retroactive projects. Please refer to the
grant guidelines for more detail on what we fund and what we do not fund.

6. What is the grant term for a project?
Most grant terms run for 12 months; however, we encourage applicants to review the specific grant guidelines for each funding opportunity available with TFEC.

7. How much funding may an organization request?
The maximum request is $12,000; however, we encourage applicants to review the specific grant guidelines for each funding opportunity available with TFEC. Additionally, g
rants are frequently awarded at lower levels of funding; refer to the grant guidelines for the average grant amount. TFEC is unable to fund 100% of any project. In addition, funding for retroactive projects (reimbursement of program activities that have occurred prior to the grant application) is not permitted.

8. Does TFEC require a matching funds or award challenge grants?
While we do not require matching funds for a proposed project, the grantmaking committee may choose to conditionally award an application upon the organization’s ability to leverage additional funding from outside sources.

9. How important is the sustainability of my project?
Sustainability is very important. TFEC believes that funding through our grantmaking process should be used as a piece of the puzzle to develop a comprehensive strategy to sustain vital programs and services. We are most interested in organizations that demonstrate the ability to leverage additional community resources and partnerships to ensure continuation of the project after TFEC funding has ended.

10. What could cause my application to be eliminated from consideration?
Applicants are encouraged to follow the grant guidelines for each funding opportunity. An application submitted after the application deadline, does not include all required information and forms, or neglects to supply original signatures on the grant summary form or letters of support will not be forwarded to the grant committee for review.

11. What are the deadlines for applying for a grant?
Each funding opportunity has a unique deadline; please visit our
Web site for more details.

Receiving a grant from TFEC

12. How long does it take to review a proposal?
Please allow up to eight weeks for the initial review of your request. Notification letters will be issued as soon as the review process has been completed.

13. Are grant recipients required to submit a final evaluation?
Yes, all grant recipients are required to submit both 6 month and final evaluation reports; however, beginning with 2014 grantees, a written 6 Month evaluation will not be required. Instead the Program Officer will check-in with each grantee at the 6 Month mark informally via e-mail. A copy of the required evaluation form(s) will be included in your grant award packet. You may also download a copy of the evaluation form(s) on the TFEC
Web site. In addition, grantees are asked to keep foundation staff updated on any changes to the funded projects by contacting the Program Officer.

14. How does TFEC measure a project’s success?
TFEC recognizes and embraces the shift of accountability to challenge organizations to document the outcomes of grant projects. We use a Program Logic Model which is one of the forms that must be completed and included in your grant application. In addition, we provide resources for how to measure outcomes in the grantmaking section of our Web site. TFEC frequently conducts scheduled site visits to supplement the information outlined in grant evaluations relative to the attainment of outcomes.

General information concerning TFEC’s grant categories and structure
15. What are TFEC's funding priorities?
The traditional focus of TFEC's grantmaking is arts & culture, community development, education, environment, and health & human services; however, we encourage applicants to review the specific grant guidelines for each funding opportunity available with TFEC.

16. Must an organization be physically located in the geographic service area that is specified in the grant guidelines?
An applicant organization may be physically located outside TFEC's service area; however, the proposed program or service must serve a quantifiable number of residents in the targeted service area. Also, the applicant must demonstrate a presence in the local community either through collaboration or partnership with area organizations providing the same or complementary services.

17. How does TFEC define collaboration?
Collaboration is a partnership between or among two or more organizations with specific roles and responsibilities for each partner agency. Each partner will have a specific function relating to program design, goals, objectives, and outcomes.

18. What is TFEC’s regional foundation structure?
There are six regional foundations that fall under The Foundation for Enhancing Communities. Each of these regional foundations serve a particular geographic area, have their own grant guidelines, grant deadlines, and grant review committees. Each regional foundation’s grant information is posted on the TFEC Web site. The regional foundations are: Camp Hill, Dillsburg Area, Franklin County, Greater Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg Area, and Perry County.

The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, 200 North Third Street, P. O. Box 678, Harrisburg, PA 17108-0678,
Telephone: (717) 236-5040, Fax: (717) 231-4463