Open Letter from a Foundation Program Officer

Dear Executive Director and Director of Development,

Thank you for taking the time to submit your proposal to our Foundation. As you can imagine, we receive more requests than we can fund. It is a difficult process deciding which organizations to support. However, after review of your proposal we thought we would share with you why we are declining your request.

We have worked very hard to make our grant process transparent. Grant guidelines and funding areas are clearly listed on our website along with the types of organizations we fund. It appears from your grant proposal you didn’t have the time to review this information because it is clear your organization and programs do not fit our guidelines. In addition, you asked for a grant that is twice the amount of our average grant.

Even if you did fit our guidelines, we wanted to point out some other issues with your proposal:

  • You addressed the proposal to a program officer who left over a year ago
  • There were typos throughout the proposal
  • The budget you submitted did not add up correctly
  • Our proposal guidelines require your 990 and audited financial statements – you didn’t include either
  • We ask for three hard copies – you only sent two

We know your organization is doing much needed work in the community. But we are sure your foundation research and grant proposal are not the best representation of your work. It did give us pause – if this is what and how you share your mission, does the organization have good internal capacity to support the need? Are you able to hire and manage the right people to make your mission reality? If we funded your proposal, would the money be used appropriately?

As a representation of your organization, we think the proposal you submitted did a disservice to your agency, its work and those you serve. We thought it was important to share this with you in hopes that it will encourage and empower you to do better so you can continue to make positive change on our community. If we can be of assistance as you review your work and internal capacity to make change, please don’t hesitate to call or write.


Program Director
The Local Community Foundation

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