LOI FAQs   Funding FAQs   Renewal FAQs   Match & Challenge FAQs   Portal Toolkit



Who is eligible to apply for a grant?

See the eligibility criteria on the “Strategy” page.

When can my organization submit an LOI?

The Foundation accepts LOIs on a rolling basis; however, organizations can only submit one LOI during The Foundation’s July 1-June 30 fiscal year i.e. we reserve the right to turn down a repeat request for funding made in this time period. Visit the “How to Apply” page of our website to begin the LOI process.

Can my organization meet or talk with a Foundation representative prior to submitting an LOI?

No. Due to the overwhelming volume of requests we receive, Foundation staff do not consult on LOI submissions.

Why are LOIs declined?

Typically, the Foundation declines an LOI submission because an organization is:

  • A start-up and/or requesting funding for a pilot program
  • Not registered as a 501(c)(3)
  • Requesting funding twice for the same project in a given 12-month period
  • Operating outside of the Foundation’s geographic focus
  • Operating outside the Foundation’s mission area focus
  • Experiencing significant leadership turnover
  • Making less impact than other similar programs in the Foundation’s portfolio

Funding FAQs

How are grant decisions made?

Grants are approved only by action of the full Board of Directors following a rigorous internal review process.

How long does it take the Foundation to make a grant decision?

Deadlines and award notification periods are determined by the assigned quarter in which you apply for funding. Our due diligence process lasts approximately four months which is then followed by an internal review and evaluation period which lasts into the following quarter. While it is possible to receive an award notification before the end of the following quarter, the decision may extend an additional period of time. Once awards are determined, Foundation staff will notify applicants.

Will the Foundation provide seed money or start-up grants?

The Foundation rarely provides start-up funding and/or seed money. The Foundation evaluates leadership, sustainability, and track record of success when reviewing grant requests. Per the Foundation’s Board of Directors, a sustainable organization should typically have at least $500,000 in contributed revenue prior to applying for a grant.

What kind of funding does the Foundation provide?

The Foundation awards general operating support, project/program support, and, on occasion, capital campaign support.

What type of funding should we apply for?

If the majority of your organization’s programs are a mission fit, consider applying for general operating support. When the Foundation is confident in the strength of an organization’s leadership, track record of success, and sustainability, it is common for the board to award general operating funds to be used at your discretion. If you feel that just one program is a true mission fit, consider applying specifically for programmatic support.

How much should we ask for?

Ultimately, the amount is up to you. The Foundation does adhere to grant sizing guidelines set forth by its board. The Foundation:

  • Is rarely the largest donor to an organization
  • Is rarely the only funder of a specific program
  • Is typically in the organization’s top 5 private donors

The Foundation’s board also typically sizes grants at or below 10% of the applicant’s contributed revenue (as stated on the organization’s most recent 990). This guideline helps prevent an unhealthy dependence on The Foundation support.

Are naming opportunities attractive to the Foundation?

A naming opportunity does not drive the Foundation’s decision to participate in a project. The Foundation’s board will consider naming opportunities as part of a comprehensive request.

Does your staff conduct site visits?

Yes. If your LOI or renewal request is approved and you are invited to submit a grant application, the Foundation staff will review your application materials and contact you regarding next steps. Typically, we’ll schedule a meeting at your location. These visits last for approximately one hour and should include 2-3 members of your executive leadership team, including board representation. We’ll begin our site visit by sitting down to ask questions and learn more about the mission; we’ll conclude our site visit with a brief tour of your facility.

Renewal FAQs

What are the renewal application deadlines?

Visit the Foundation’s grantee portal through “For Grantees” to view deadlines for your organization.

How does the renewal process work?

After you submit your renewal application materials, staff will schedule a time to further discuss your request and pertinent organization updates. This due diligence process takes approximately one quarter to complete, at which point, your request is given to the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Throughout the subsequent quarter, the board reviews requests in the context of the entire Foundation portfolio. This process can take some time, so we don’t set a specific board meeting date; instead, we give our partners a window of time in which to expect award notification.

Once the board communicates award decisions, the Foundation’s staff contacts each renewal applicant. At this time, we provide further direction on how to formally acknowledge and accept a potential award, when to expect payment, and how to publicly announce the award, should you choose to.

Match & Challenge FAQs

What is the difference between a matching grant and a challenge grant?

A matching grant is a grant intended to encourage and incentivize members of the community to donate to an organization. It requires a specified amount of funds to be raised from other sources on a dollar for dollar basis or another stated matching factor. The matching grant is paid in equal amount(s) to the funds raised from other sources. For example, a matching grant from the Foundation may read: The Foundation will match $1 for $1 up to $______.

A challenge grant is a grant intended to help an organization reach a specific fundraising goal. It requires a specified amount of funds to be raised from other funding sources before the Foundation’s grant is released. If the specified level is not met, the grant is not paid. For example, a challenge grant from the Foundation may read: If (organization name) raises $_____, then the Foundation will give $_____.

What does it mean when a match is for new, increased and lapsed donations?

Matching grants for new, increased and lapsed donations are intended to encourage and incentivize donors to give to your organization for the first time, increase their current donation above the prior year’s donation and return givers after two fiscal years without giving to your organization. Many, but not all of the Foundation’s matches require new, lapsed donations. This information can be found in the terms of your grant agreement.

For new donations, the entire donor’s gift qualifies toward the match total.

For increased donations, only the increased portion of a donor’s gift may be counted toward the match. An example: Last year a donor gave $25 to your organization. This year, as a result of the Foundation’s match, the donor increased his/her gift to $75. In this case, only $50 of the donation would qualify toward the match total.

For lapsed donations, only donors that have not given in the current fiscal year or given in the immediate past fiscal year may be counted. An example: In FY2018, a donor gave your organization $25. He/she did not give any amount to your organization in FY2019, but responded to the match in FY2020 with a gift of $25. In this case, the entire $25 donation would qualify toward the match total.

Can we count pledges towards the match/challenge total?

No, unless otherwise notified by your Program Officer. This will also be specified in the terms of your grant agreement.

How should we track our donations towards a match/challenge grant?

Donations that count towards the match/challenge should be tracked in a separate document preferably on an excel spreadsheet or through your donor management system. Refer to the other questions in this FAQ for additional information.

How do we report our match/challenge grant results?

The Foundation has a match/challenge grantee report that will be assigned to your organization when the grant is awarded. Your organization will be expected to provide a full report of the match/challenge using the Foundation’s grants management system. Please visit the Foundation’s grantee portal through “For Grantees” to upload your match/challenge report and view your due date. Please note that no funds will be released prior to proof of achievement through appropriate documentation.

What type of proof do we need to show that we met the match/challenge?

Proof requirements for your match/challenge gift will be specified by your program officer and reiterated in the terms of your grant agreement. The two most common forms of proof are a detailed list or a campaign summary (if the donor list is exceptionally long).

For a detailed list, the final documentation should be provided in excel spreadsheet format and include the names of donors, their amount credited toward the match and a final total of donations raised towards the match/challenge. Please consult your Program Officer for our preferred campaign summary format.

When is our grant documentation due?

The due date for your match/challenge documentation can be found in the cover email sent to your primary contact along with the Foundation’s grant agreement or you can find it by visiting the Foundation’s grantee portal through “For Grantees”. We encourage your organization to report results of your match/challenge grant to the Foundation as soon as possible following achievement.

How do we know when our match/challenge grant time period is over?

Your match/challenge time period is specified by your Program Officer and reiterated in the terms of your grant agreement.

*Please note that once match/challenge terms have been successfully met, you may no longer leverage (advertise) the grant, regardless of the stated deadline in your grant agreement.*

When can our organization begin publicizing the match/challenge?

Your organization can begin publicizing the match/challenge as soon as it is officially awarded. Please note that your Program Officer must approve the language for all marketing and communication materials (including press releases).

Can we request an extension if we have not met the match/challenge in the original designated time period?

If your organization has not met the match/challenge due to extenuating circumstances, please contact your Program Officer directly to discuss the possibility of an extension. All match/challenge grant extensions are exceptions and must be approved by the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

What happens if we don’t meet the full match or the challenge?

If your organization does not meet the full matching grant, you will receive an equal amount to the funds raised from other funding sources based on a dollar for dollar requirement or other stated matching factor.

If your organization does not meet the full challenge, your organization will not receive funds from the Foundation.

Portal Toolkit

Do you have instructions on how to use the grantee portal?

Yes, please see the TLLF Portal Toolkit.