Below are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to the Community Grantmaking Program of the North Carolina Community Foundation.
The questions are organized into four (4) categories, but we hope you will take time to read all questions and answers which will help with your application.
Click on the category below to go directly to a particular section:
1. Who may apply for a grant from the affiliates of the NC Community Foundation (NCCF)?
Eligible applicants are:
- 501(c)(3) public charity non-profit organizations (see answers to questions 2 and 3 for additional details)
- local governments (including public schools), and
- religious entities (see question 4 for additional details)
Applicants must be seeking funding for an organization, not financial assistance for an individual.
2. My organization has its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status and letter of determination from the IRS. Does that mean my organization is eligible to apply for grant funding?
Yes, as long as the IRS has classified your 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status as a public charity. Your IRS determination letter will speak specifically to whether your organization is also classified as a public charity or not. There are other 501(c)(3) tax-exempt classifications that are not eligible for grant funding from the NCCF such as 501(c)(3) non-operating foundations. The important distinction is that your organization must be classified as a “public charity” by the IRS in order to apply for grant funding from NCCF.
3. My organization has applied to the IRS for our 501(c)(3) public charity tax-exempt status. Does that mean we are eligible to apply for grants from NCCF?
Only if you have already received your determination letter from the IRS. If you have applied and are still awaiting your letter of determination, your organization will not be eligible. You are only eligible at the time you receive the official letter from the IRS. If you received this letter very recently, you may want to attach a copy of the letter to the application.
4. As a church, may I apply for general operating support?
No. The North Carolina Community Foundation and its affiliates recognize the important charitable works of faith-based organizations in our communities. Therefore, religious entities are eligible to apply for funding to support social outreach and charitable service programs to benefit the community-at-large, but they may not apply for general operating support. The Foundation raises funds from a diverse constituency and, as a result, the charitable funding cannot be limited to the promotion of a particular faith.
5. Our organization/program does charitable work in our community. We are affiliated with a church in our community. May we apply for funding and, if so, how would we do that?
If your program is a program/function within your church, the church will need to be listed as the applicant organization. The application proposal may be for the purpose of your specific program/project. (Ex. A church that holds its own after-school program or back-pack buddies program)
Your organization may be a separate entity from the church but not have its own 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, meaning your relationship with the church is what qualifies your organization to receive funding. In this case, the church may be operating as your organization’s fiscal agent, and you would apply under the name of your organization, not the church’s. However, you would also attach a letter from the church that describes the fiscal agent relationship and how long that relationship has been in existence. The letter should also address how funds should be distributed if an award is made. For instance, the letter should note whether a grant check should be made out to the church for the program, or if the check may be made out under the applicant organization’s name.
6. What is the difference between a request for program/project funding and general operating support?
General operating support is funding that an organization uses for its core/general operations which allows the organization to continue to operate and meet its mission. Grants for this purpose may be used for any cost that keeps the organization operating, unless otherwise restricted at the time of the grant, which generally permits some flexibility for the grantee. Please remember, however, that annual fund and capital campaigns are not funded through this grant program. Program/project support is funding for specific, mission related programs or projects/initiatives that the organization is undertaking. Grants for this purpose only cover costs directly related to the program/project for which the application is made.
7. May I apply for more than one grant?
Yes, your organization may apply for grants in any of the affiliate programs, if your organization serves the counties of that affiliate. In addition, your organization may also apply for more than one project within a grant cycle for an individual affiliate; however, in those circumstances, it is best to communicate with the NCCF Regional Director for that affiliate as to which project is your priority in case the board is only able to fund one.
8. I am a teacher and want to apply for funding for one of our after-school programs. May I apply for after-school programs?
Yes, as long as the school is willing to be listed as the applicant. This applies to public, charter and private schools alike. In this situation the school would be the eligible applicant to this grantmaking program. If an award is made, the school would also be the grant recipient. You will want to make sure that the school is willing and able to accept the grant funds and obligations should the application be funded.
9. Our organization just completed a project and we are still working to raise funds to pay for it. May we apply for funding the project which is already completed?
No. Grants are not awarded for reimbursement of costs already incurred. Grants are only available for work/costs which occur after the submission deadline of your application.
Grants are not awarded for the following:
- Annual fund or capital campaigns
- Political purposes or lobbying
- Activities that are restricted to members of a particular faith community or promote a specific religious doctrine
- Reimbursements (This program does not support reimbursement of costs incurred prior to the deadline for submission of your application. Your request may only include costs that will occur in the future, after the submission deadline of the application.)
- Re-granting by the applicant organization
- General operating support for religious entities
10. Why does the application include questions about my organization’s total operating budget when I am applying for funding for a specific project that my organization wants to do?
Operating budget information can be a helpful tool for board members reviewing applications to see how projects fit into the overall operation of an organization. These questions are specific to the interests of the board in learning about your organization’s financial status and management.
11. May I upload our own version of our budget for our application as opposed to using the NCCF’s template?
No. The budget templates provided within the application are required and the only format that will be accepted. Reviewing the same budget format for each application allows our committees to compare “apples to apples” in a consistent manner that benefits everyone involved. Only one budget template is required per application. If you are applying for a specific program/project, use the NCCF Program/Project Budget template and if you are applying for general operating support, use the NCCF Organizational Budget template.
12. Could you explain what you mean by organization fiscal year begin and end dates?
Organizations have fiscal years (for tax filing purposes) that may or may not line up with the calendar year. Organizations establish their budgets based on their fiscal year. Some examples of common fiscal years are:
- July 1 to June 30 (July 1 would be the beginning date and June 30 would be the end date)
- October 1 to September 30 (October 1 would be the beginning date and September 30 would be the end date)
- January 1 to December 31 (January 1 would be the beginning date and December 31 would be the end date)
13. How are the fiscal year begin/end dates different from the program/project begin and end dates?
While the fiscal year dates are those related to your organization’s tax filing year and likely also correspond to your organization’s budget year, the program/project dates are specific to the timeframe/duration of the program/project for which you are applying. For instance, you organization’s fiscal year may run from July 1 to June 30 (a 12 month period). However, you might be applying for funding for a specific program that you operate only during the period from October 1 to December 31. You would enter July 1 and June 30 as your fiscal year dates and October 1 and December 31 as your program/project dates.
14. We are applying for a program that is a regular, ongoing program of our organization. What should I enter as the program/project begin and end dates?
If the program for which you are applying is one that is always ongoing and does not have begin and end dates, then you would enter your organization’s fiscal year dates as the program/project begin and end dates. You will still want to make that schedule clear in your narrative responses within the application.
15. The organization for which I am applying for grant funding is a school. What information would we provide regarding board members?
The best information to provide is that relating to the group of individuals that govern decision making about the organization/government entity and which make financial decisions about its programs. In many cases, this may be the members of the school district’s board of education.
16. If I receive a grant award, how long will I have to spend the money?
Grant recipients have one year from the date of the grant to spend funds awarded by NCCF affiliates.
17. If awarded, will there be forms and reporting required for this grant?
Yes. If an organization receives a grant award, they will be required to complete, sign and return a Terms and Conditions form within 60 days of the date of the grant. This form will be included with the grant check and should be returned upon receipt. An online follow-up report will also be due within 9 months of the date of the grant. Grant recipients will receive information via email with instructions on completing the online grant report prior to the deadline.