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Grant Program FAQs

Browse frequently asked questions about our grant programs and our grantmaking policies.

Please note that we have transitioned to a new grant application system. Resources to help guide users through the new system may be found here.

If you require additional assistance, contact Ian Ross at Si tiene preguntas o prefiere ayuda en espaƱol, por favor de comunicarse con Zaida Hernandez

For more information, please review the frequently asked questions about our grant programs and our grantmaking policies below, and visit our Applicant Login page here.

Are there general guidelines for each grant program? Each of the Foundation's grant programs has a different purpose, application requirements, and deadline - please remember to carefully review the information provided, or linked, via the grants directory.

That said, there is one common guideline: Grants will not be made to organizations that owe the Foundation a grant report.

How does the Foundation decide who to make grants to? Most importantly, we believe that Rhode Islanders can best be helped by organizations that both reflect and serve our diverse community. The Foundation does not fund any applicant or program with a discriminatory policy that is unlawful or inconsistent with either our mission or values.

And, we work with our generous donors, volunteer committee members, and among our own staff to develop criteria by which we evaluate applicants. You'll be able to find out more about the specifics for each grant program using our grants directory.

We owe you a grant report - what should we do? Reports for grants awarded prior to 2024 can be accessed by logging into your account in our old online grant system. Reports for grants awarded in 2024 can be accessed by logging into your account in the new system. If you are unable to access your report through the portal, please contact for assistance.

Do I need to talk to a member of your team before applying or will I need to have a pre-application meeting? It depends. In most cases, our advice is to check the specifics for each grant program using our grants directory. That said, we welcome your inquiry in advance of applying. Please feel free to reach out to us at (401) 427-4041 or by emailing

When are applications accepted? Some of our programs have rolling deadlines, others have more specific application timelines. Please check the specifics for each program using our grants directory.

Will my organization be able to apply for continued funding? Organizations can apply for subsequent funding, but we recommend that you read through the criteria for the grant program to which you are applying to confirm any guidelines that apply to this question. Also, please keep in mind that it is unlikely our grant funds can sustain an organization or program over time. We will want to learn more about your work from the first grant before awarding subsequent funding.

I am having technical difficulties with the application. What should I do? Contact Ian Ross at (401) 427-4012 or email with any technical difficulties, and we will make sure to get you the assistance you need.

My organization would like to undertake a collaborative program with another nonprofit organization, is that eligible? Yes. We encourage collaboration. One organization should submit the application as the lead organization on behalf of the collaborative partners.

We are not a 501(c)3 but we have a fiscal sponsor. Can we still apply for funding? Yes. Here's a resource for you to review as you consider applying to one of our grant programs.

Can my organization apply for overhead and/or administrative costs? We wish to understand the real costs of the project, so we encourage you to describe your administrative costs in the proposal budget.

We expect to do lobbying and advocacy work as part of our project. Do you fund that? Yes. Making positive community change often requires systems-change and policy work, and nonprofits play an important role in policy-making and advocacy. The Foundation is permitted within relevant limits to support these activities.

For programmatic grants, for reporting purposes, we must ask if any of your grant funds will be spent on lobbying activities.

Nonprofits are required to track and report both direct and grassroots lobbying activities separately:

  • Direct lobbying is communication with any member or employee of a legislative body or similar body or any government official or employee who may participate in the formulation of legislation, if the purpose of the communication is to influence legislation.
  • Grassroots lobbying is attempting to affect the opinions of the general public by referring to specific legislation, reflecting a view on that legislation, and encouraging the public to take action about the specific legislation.

Please note that advocacy includes a wide range of activities, including public education, messaging and communications, coalition-building, grassroots organizing, and policy analysis.

For more information on lobbying and advocacy, we encourage you to consult with the Bolder Advocacy initiative of the Alliance for Justice.