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GHCF Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund Grant Guidelines


An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest – Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790
Benjamin Franklin’s legacy lives on at The Foundation for Enhancing Community (TFEC) through the Greater Harrisburg Foundation’s (GHF) Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund. In 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote his last will and testament.  In his will, Franklin directed that after 200 years, half of the accumulated funds of his estate go to the State of Pennsylvania to be used for whatever the public officials felt was necessary. The State Legislature split the money among most of the community foundations across the state, of which The Foundation for Enhancing Communities was included.  Counties that do not have a community foundation are, for the purposes of the Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund, covered by an adjacent county with a community foundation.  For purposes of grantmaking from the Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund of the Greater Harrisburg Foundation, a regional foundation of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, the Fund serves Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lebanon, Mifflin, and Perry Counties, and the Dillsburg area of York County.

Funding Priorities

The GHF Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund grant opportunity seeks to support programs and services that work to increase knowledge and/or quality of life or that inspire positive outcomes for individuals and families living in the service area of Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Mifflin, Lebanon, and Perry Counties, and/or the Dillsburg area of York County.

Grant Eligibility

  • Eligible projects must serve individuals, groups, and/or locations within Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Mifflin, Lebanon, and Perry Counties, and the Dillsburg area of York County.
  • Applicants must either be a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, a nonprofit organization as recognized by the IRS as such, or have a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization act as a fiscal sponsor for the proposed project.
  • Grant seekers may apply for any project that best fits their needs, the grant year, and the GHF Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund grant guidelines.

Grant Size

In honor of the period during which Franklin lived, the maximum grant is $1,700; in 2020 grant awards ranged from $750 -$1,700.  In 2021, $4,819 in grant funds will be available through this opportunity. Grants are awarded for one year. This grant opportunity will not fund 100% of any project.

Grant Timeline

  • June 1, 2022: Application available.
  • September 1, 2022: All application materials must be submitted through the online application system by 4:00pm.
  • Applicants will be notified of their status on or before December 1, 2022
  • Proposed projects may take place at any time between January 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023

What We Do Not Fund

  • Advertising
  • Capital campaigns
  • Direct lobbying to influence legislation or funding appropriations
  • Individuals
  • National and statewide umbrella organizations that cannot demonstrate a local presence
  • New staff positions without a substantial plan for sustainability
  • Religious organizations for religious purposes
  • Retroactive projects

Criteria for Evaluating Proposals

The GHF Advisory Committee makes all grantmaking decisions and consists of a dedicated group of individuals committed to the betterment of the GHF service region.  The Grant Review Committee may request additional information about the grant proposal prior to making an award or denial.


Follow Three Simple Steps to Apply

  1. ACCESS, download, and/or print the GHCF Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund Grant Application here:
  2. LOGIN into the TFEC online application system and begin or update your online profile here:
  3. UPLOAD all required materials to the Attachments Tab within the online application system and select submit before 4 pm on the application deadline. This grant opportunity requires attachments. See the Grant Application for full instructions.  All required materials will be uploaded within the Attachments Tab; materials should not be mailed or delivered.

Helpful Hints: Using the Online Application System

  • To begin, you will enter the applicant organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as the Federal Tax Identification Number.  You will not be able to create an Organization Profile without it.
  • You may Save and Finish Later at any time.
  • Some information provided in the online application system is identical to information provided in the grant application; be sure that these answers correspond.
  • The grant application and all attachments, including letters of support if applicable, are to be uploaded and submitted using the online application system.
  • Save a copy of all materials for yourself prior to selecting Submit.
  • Submit all materials prior to the deadline; the online application system will automatically close after 4 pm.
  • TFEC staff cannot access or view your Draft Materials.

Notes to Remember

  • Only projects taking place during the stated grant year will be considered for this round of funding.
  • Applicants with current grant awards from TFEC who are delinquent or non-compliant in grant reporting requirements may have subsequent grant applications denied.

Applicants using a Fiscal Sponsor for this application must also follow the directions below


  • Because your Fiscal Sponsor is the organization who has 501c3 status, you will need to enter the Fiscal Sponsor Organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as the Federal Tax Identification Number, when beginning your work in the online application system.


  • Within the “Application Information” tab of the online application system, you will see a “Fiscal Sponsor” Heading. Within this section, the Organization Name and Contact Information should be for the Organization and Executive Leader of the organization serving as your Fiscal Sponsor.
  • Because your Fiscal Sponsor is the organization who is registered with the Commonwealth, answer all questions about the PA Bureau of Charitable Organizations using your Fiscal Sponsor’s information.
  • For all other elements of the “Organization Contact Information” and “Application Information” tabs, the name of your organization/project is the Applicant Organization and all other questions should be answered using your organization/project information rather than your Fiscal Sponsor.


  • Your application must include a letter signed (digital or original) by the Executive Leader of the organization who is serving as your Fiscal Sponsor stating their agreement to do so. This letter will be uploaded with your application attachments.
  • Upload the IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter of your Fiscal Sponsor.
  • Upload the Board of Directors List for your Fiscal Sponsor AND if your organization/project has its own Leadership Team list, please also upload.
  • Upload the most recent 990 of your Fiscal Sponsor. If your organization/project has a separate budget or financial statement that would assist the grantmaking committee in their review of an application, please also upload.


  • The organization serving as your Fiscal Sponsor will receive notification of whether or not a grant has been awarded. If a grant is awarded the Fiscal Sponsor will be required to execute the Grant Agreement and will be sent the grant funds to be allocated to your organization appropriately. Your Fiscal Sponsor will be responsible for ensuring the funds are used as indicated in the original proposal and/or grant agreement.


All applicants are invited to contact our Community Investment Team, to discuss a proposed project or application.

Applicants may request a draft review of their application materials by our Community Investment Team prior to submission. To submit a draft review, email all materials to be reviewed as an attachment to  Draft review requests are limited to one review of each grant opportunity and submissions must be received at least two weeks prior to the application deadline.

Questions regarding our grant opportunities?

get in touch with us or
view the grantseeker FAQ