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Community Partnership Grant FAQ

Q:  Who can apply for and what areas are served by LVCF’s Community Partnership grants?
A: 
The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation awards Community Partnership grants on an annual, competitive basis to publicly supported organizations with 501(c)(3) exempt status located in Lehigh and Northampton Counties for programs provided in those counties.

Additionally, the Ben Franklin Trust Fund provides limited funding for non-profit organizations located in Monroe County.  For more information about grants to Monroe County please contact the Foundation.

Q:  How does the Foundation award Community Partnership grants?
A:
  The Foundation alternates its Community Partnership grants focus each year based on six specific areas of grantmaking. 

In odd-numbered calendar years, applications will be accepted from non-profits whose missions are focused on:

  • Arts, Culture, and Heritage
  • Education
  • Environment

In even-numbered calendar years, applications will be accepted from non-profits whose missions are focused on:

  • Healthcare
  • Human Services
  • Community Development

Applications for Community Partnership grants will be accepted only from organizations with a mission that is within one of the areas being funded that year. If the program for which funding is sought is in one of the areas being funded that year, but the organization's mission is not, the application will not be considered.

Once an organization is placed in an even year or an odd year cycle, it will remain in that cycle.

Q:  How is an organization’s mission determined?
A:
  In determining an organization’s grantmaking area, the Foundation uses the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) Classification System. An organization’s mission (as reflected in its NTEE code), not the program for which it is seeking funding, determines how it is classified. An initial NTEE code is assigned when the IRS grants tax-exempt status.

LVCF has matched NTEE codes to its six grantmaking areas as follows:

  • Arts, Culture and Heritage – A
  • Education – B
  • Environment  – C, D
  • Healthcare – E, F, G, H
  • Human Services – I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P
  • Community Development – Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y

Eligibility of an organization with an NTEE code of Z (unclassified) will be determined at the discretion of the Community Foundation.

Q: How does an organization determine its NTEE code?
A:
  An organization’s NTEE code can be determined by:

  • The organization’s original 501(C)(3) Determination Letter from the IRS
  • The organization’s Guidestar profile
  • The IRS Exempt Organizations Business Master File

Q:  Are there limits on how much an organization can request?  
A:
  There are no limits to how much an organization can request, however, in the 2016 grants cycle, the grant amounts awarded were $5,000.  LVCF is celebrating its 50th Anniversary during the 2017 grant cycle and will be making special celebration grants.  It is expected that the average Community Partnership grant amount during the 2017 cycle will be $5,000.

Q:  Are there restrictions on the use of Community Partnership grants?
A:
  Community Partnership grants cannot be used for:

  • Educational scholarships for pre-K, primary, secondary or post-secondary education.
  • Individuals
  • Capital campaigns

Q:  How is funding determined?
A:  
All applications are given consideration by the Discretionary Grants Committee. With the organizations’ permission, all unfunded applications will be shared with LVCF’s donor-advisors for consideration.

Q:  What is required of an organization that receives a Community Partnership grant?
A:
  An organization that receives a Community Partnership grant must:

  • Announce the grant on the organization’s website and social media and include a link to the LVCF website within 30 days of receipt of the grant.  Also, adequately and appropriately publicize the grant through other means.
  • Use the grant for the program or purpose for which it is granted
  • Submit a final report

Q:  What is the Foundation’s timeline for processing Community Partnership grants?
A:
   All applicants will be notified of the result of the process in December.  Other key dates for the Community Partnership grants process are:

June 30 at noon                           Deadline for submitting application to LVCF
November                                    LVCF’s Discretionary Grants Committee makes its recommendations to the LVCF Board for approval
December/January                      All applicants are notified and grant checks are processed

Q:  How do I apply for a Community Partnership grant?
A:
  To apply for a one-time 2017-2018 Community grant from the Community Partnership Fund, visit our new online grant management system Foundant.  To access the online grant application visit  https://www.grantinterface.com/Home/Logon?urlkey=lehighvalley.

Q:  What internet browser do you recommend I use?
A:  Google Chrome 14 or higher, or Safari 4 or higher. You may use Internet Explorer or Firefox, but you may experience some technical issues.

Q:  How do I know if I need to create new account?
A:
   If your organization applied for a grant from one of our SPARK grant cycles or the Area of Interest grant cycle, you will not need to create a new account and will log in to the system by entering your organization’s existing log–in credentials. 

Q:  I need to add a new staff member to my existing account.  Should they just create a new account?
A:
   If you have a new staff member and have an existing organization profile on Foundant, do not create a new account.  This will create a duplicate organization profile in the system. Please contact Janis Strohl, Accounting and Operations Assistant, at (610) 351-53-53, ext. 16 or email janis@lvcfoundation.org to add a new staff member to an existing profile.

Q:  What information do I need to create a new account?
A:
   You will need the following to get started:

  • A username that is an email address
  • Your contact information
  • Your organization’s information, including the EIN/Tax ID number (required)
  • Contact information for any other organization representatives who may apply on behalf of the organization

Q: Do I have to complete my application all at once?
A:
  No. At the bottom of the application is a “Save as Draft” button. We recommend you save your application often and before logging out. You can log in at a later time to continue working on your application.

Q:  Why am I losing my application edits?
A:
  There are a few common reasons why this can happen:

  • If you stay on one page for an extended period of time without saving, your account may “time out” without warning.
  • A weak internet connection may momentarily disconnect your computer while you are working on the application

As a safeguard, we recommend that you:

  • Save your application often
  • Copy and paste your application answers after each question into a Word document to save as backup.

To restore your edits, try:

  • Re-loading your internet page, as sometimes the browser will cache an older version of your page.
  • Logging out, wait a few minutes, and then log in again and re-open your application.

Q:  What file formats will be accepted for attachments?
A:
  All files that are required to be uploaded during the application process must be in a PDF format (.pdf).  Each upload field in the application will only allow for a single upload.

Q:  If I do not have the required attachments in the required format, can I deliver them to you?
A:  No. The online system will not allow you to submit your application unless you attach the required materials.

In the past few years, versions of Microsoft Office have included the ability to freely convert documents in Word, Excel and Publisher to a PDF file. To convert a document to PDF, click File/Share/Email/Send as PDF. The new PDF document will appear attached to an email, but you can right click on the frame to save it to your computer.

Additionally, the system provides a ‘Fax to File’ option located under the ‘Tools’ section to the left of your application.  This can be used to convert documents from hard copy format to digital format so that they may be uploaded in the system.

Q:  I received an error message that my file upload is too large. Any suggestions?
A:
  If you receive the error message with any PDF document and you have Adobe software, you can save the file as a reduced size PDF.  Another option, especially for the 990 document, is to download the copy from your GuideStar profile*. Those files are usually condensed in size and will upload easily to the Foundant system.

If you continue to experience errors, contact the Foundation.

*Please make sure that the GuideStar copy is your most recent copy of said document.

Q:  How do I print my application for my records?
A:
  To print or save a paper copy of your application for your own records, log in to the application portal and choose the Application Packet link. This will create a PDF of your application. You can print or save this document. You will always have access to your application in the Foundant system even after you submit it.

Download a copy of this FAQ.

Questions:
If you have specific questions concerning the application, please contact Janis Strohl, Accounting and Operations Assistant, at (610) 351-53-53, ext. 16 or email janis@lvcfoundation.org