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The grant application process for the Fund’s 2017 cycles are now available. Our next grant application deadline is July 15, 2017.

You can start the application process for the active grant cycle by clicking on the “Begin The Application” button at the button of this page. Please review all of the information and instructions on this page before starting the application process. From that date forward, if you have already started an application during the period for the active year’s application process and are returning to work on a saved draft, you may click on the “Begin The Application” button below to continue the application. Applications begun but not submitted in 2016 cannot be resumed in future years.

Beginning in 2017, the Fund will review applications and makes grant decisions on a new schedule:

  • Applications due March 15th at 5 p.m. for the Fund’s cycle for June decisions;
  • Applications due July 15th at 5 p.m. for the Fund’s cycle for September decisions; and
  • Application due November 15th for the Fund’s cycle for January decisions.

Permitted frequency of applications. In general, the Betterment Fund allows an applicant to make application only once every 12 months, measured from the previous application date to the current application date. During 2017, the Betterment Fund is making the following one-time exceptions because the change in our application cycles may not match well with your organization’s fiscal year:

  • If your most recent previous application was submitted for the April 30, 2016 deadline, then you may apply again no earlier than the March 15, 2017 deadline.
  • If your most recent previous application was submitted for the September 30, 2016 deadline, then you may apply again no earlier than the July 15, 2017 deadline.
  • Note, however, that we are not as likely to give favorable consideration for a grant request for your organization’s same fiscal year as your previous application, whether or not successful.

* This special rule should not be interpreted as encouragement to apply as early as possible.

Please note, however, that if you received a grant in the previous year you still have to meet the requirements of having filed your grant report before filing an application.

The benefits of applying early. The Betterment Fund assures every applicant whose application is submitted at least seven (7) days before the applicable deadline that the application will be reviewed for technical compliance and, if any technical issues exist, the applicant will be given an opportunity to correct them. Because of the disproportionately large number of applications that are submitted shortly before deadline, the Betterment Fund reserves the right, in its absolute discretion, to refuse to consider any application not in full compliance with all technical requirements submitted within seven (7) days before the applicable deadline.

Grant decision notifications. After all grant applications for a cycle have been received, the trustees review the applications for adherence to the guidelines and suitability under the stated priorities. Each cycle a number of applications are determined to fail to meet all of the requirements for funding, or to be less appropriate for funding than other applications already funded or received for consideration in that cycle. In such cases, the applicant will be so advised within a few weeks after the application due date.

Final grant decisions are usually made within eight weeks of the application due date. Notifications will go out promptly by email to the registered email addresses.

If an application is not funded, the applicant may request an explanation of the decision, which may or may not be granted in the sole discretion of the trustees.

Before proceeding with the online application, please be sure to review the details in our Grant Guidelines. Please note that our grant priorities are restated from time to time and your application will be evaluated in light of the current stated grant priorities.

Online Application Instructions

First Time Users: The Betterment Fund uses the Foundant system for its online application process. If you are using our online system for the first time we suggest that you watch this 5 minute video on how to use the system.

Creating Your Account: The first time you use the system, you will not enter an email and password on the Logon page, but instead, you will have to create an account by clicking the “Create New Account” button. Please note that on the second half of the account creation screen, when you are asked for the Email/Login for the Chief Executive of the organization, all you need to enter there is the email for the Chief Executive – a login will not be created.

SAVE Your Application As You Go: Just like working on any important document, we recommend that you save your online application frequently to decrease the chances that information might get lost while you are working on it. Foundant recommends saving the application each time you complete the uploading of a document as well. Please note that the “Save” button is located at the bottom of the application form. It is also a good practice not to hit the “back button” on your browser while working on the application.

Printable List of Questions: Some applicants will find it useful to have a printed list of the application form questions for reference purposes. Applicants can generate a list of question by starting the application process, and then clicking on the link at the top of the application form that reads “Question List.”

Character Limits: Character limits are given for each response. Please do not feel compelled to use all of the characters allowed. Succinctness and clarity are good. 3,300 characters = 1 page generally speaking. Please note for those of you who are building a word document and uploading, the character count of Foundant counts spaces as characters.

Acronyms: If you are going to use an acronym in your grant application, please explain it.

File Uploads: The online application requires that you upload files as part of the process. You may upload PDF files, Word Documents, or Excel Spreadsheets as long as they adhere to the file size requirements. In some cases more than one document may be required to be combined into a single upload, or you have paper documents that you would like to attach to the application. The simplest method is to convert them into a single PDF. If you don’t have a method for scanning or converting to PDF, you may use Foundant’s Fax-to-file system. Here are the instructions for converting a paper document into a single PDF file that you can then attach to your application in the appropriate location.

  1. To start, click the Fax to File link on the left hand side of the screen.
  2. Then click the Request a Fax # button and you will be presented with a toll-free fax number.
    • You have this number for 20 minutes.
  3. Fax your document to the number provided.
    • Send a separate fax for each document and do not include a cover sheet.
    • All faxed documents will be automatically converted to .pdf format.
    • You have 20 minutes to fax your documents before the number expires.
  4. After you have faxed each separate document click the Finished Faxing button to see your list of files.
  5. Download your converted documents to your computer and save them.
  6. Upload the documents to the appropriate questions on the online form.

Tax Exemption Requirements: An application will be accepted from an organization only if, at the time of application, it is either:

  • publicly supported and exempt from taxation under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) and not a private foundation;
  • exempt as a government agency or body; or
  • if not itself tax exempt, relying on fiscal agency or sponsorship by a separate publicly supported tax-exempt organization or government agency (please see additional application requirements below).

Additional Application Requirements for Fiscal Agency: An organization which is not itself tax exempt may rely on fiscal agency by a separate publicly supported tax-exempt organization or government agency. Any organization that is applying using a fiscal agent must register under their own name followed by “f/a” and the fiscal agent’s name.  For example, Betty’s Great Organization should register as “Betty’s Great Organization, f/a The Land Trust.” Please supply the fiscal agent’s employer identification number when asked on the registration form. Any organization relying on fiscal agency or sponsorship must upload the following additional information in the part of its grant application captioned “Fiscal Agent Information,” under “SECTION 1: “Qualifying Information.” Please combine the following documents below into one file under 2MB in size.

  1. A brief statement addressing the following:
    1. Why your organization is not itself recognized as a public charity
    2. Whether your organization has filed an application for recognition of its tax exemption (Form 1023) with the IRS
    3. For the organization serving as fiscal sponsor
      1. Name of organization
      2. Contact name, email and address
  2. A copy of fiscal sponsorship agreement between your organization and the organization serving as fiscal sponsor. The fiscal sponsorship agreement must reflect dedication of grant funds to a tax-exempt purpose and the administrative charge, if any. If you are in doubt about what should be included in the agreement, you may download here a sample form of fiscal agency agreement.
  3. A copy of the sponsoring organization’s board resolution authorizing it to serve as your fiscal sponsor.
  4. A copy of the Balance Sheet for the sponsoring organization’s most recently completed fiscal year. This should include total assets and total liabilities. If applicable, please explain any changes that would affect the sponsoring organization’s financial position.

Note: if your fiscal agent changes at any time after you have registered, you must notify your assigned trustee (if applicable) and Grant Administrator via email.

Begin The Application