Thomas J. Gray Foundation
Marjorie S.
Developing today's youth into tomorrow's leaders.


If you don't find the answer to your question here, please use the Contact Us form to ask for assistance.

1 - Questions about Applying for Funding

  1. How do I Apply? - Application is simple, quick, and all on-line. Just go to our Grant Application and enter the information. You don’t have to do it all at once, you can save your application as a DRAFT and come back later. Just make sure you write down the Grant Application Number to come back to your work! PLEASE NOTE: Your draft Application is a pre-application to guide our decision regarding an invitation to apply. Make sure you have a fairly complete draft before ask, we expect it may be adjusted or changed, but we need a good sense of what you are planning.

  2. Do I need to contact the Foundation before I submit an Application? - YES - all applications require an INVITATION to submit. If you submit an Application without being invited to do so, your application will be rejected without review. After you've started your Draft and put your ideas down in the system we can help you review your plan to make sure it fits our current criteria and that the information is there for the best review. We don't help you write it, but the feedback can help you focus your narrative and make sure we have all of the information we need to review. Our experience has shown that your chances of success are much lower if we don't discuss your plan in advance.

  3. Why do I have to Register? - We ask you to register so that we know who you are. We need this information for your application as well, and this allows you to come back and check your application(s) and will make it easier if you want to submit for multiple projects.

  4. Are there instructions somewhere so I know what I need to complete? - Yes, we have created a line-by-line description description of the Application Form, but we think it is mostly self-explanatory.  You can find the information later in this FAQ.

  5. I have a question about our application, how can I get help? - It would be helpful if you’d start the Application with as much information as you can, then use our “Contact Us” form on the website to ask your question. Just remember to include your Grant Application Number so we can see what you’ve got so far.

  6. How can I find out where we stand? - You can come back to the website at any time to check the status of your application. There are different levels as we go through in the review process, so you can watch it proceed. You’ll be contacted toward the end of the process – either way. If the news isn’t good we’ll let you know why in case you’d like to resubmit. If it is good news, we’ll coordinate funding.

  7. How long does the review process take? - The review process normally takes about 60 days, but may be up to 90 days. You may find out sooner – but not later than that schedule. Depending on a lot of factors, we might have a decision within a few weeks of your application. We urge you to consider that the actual funding may take up to 90 days after the submission deadline!

  8. Does my project have to start right away? - No, but we’ll probably hold off any funding decision if you’re not scheduled to start within several months. We understand that you might not be able to get everything moving until you have the funding commitment, so we’ll work with you on your timing requirements. But if you’re applying 6-12 months or more in advance we might hold off our decision until it is more critical.

  9. Will we have to do more paperwork if we’re funded? - We do ask for two more things for all funded projects.
    • First, you’ll have to sign a Grant Distribution Agreement, basically it is just an agreement that you’ll use the funds for the project, you’ll keep us posted on your progress, you’ll give us a short report of your results, and that you’ll adequately protect any youth associated with your organization.
    • Second, you’ll have to submit a project summary when you’re done. It’s just a short statement of how well your project went, lessons learned, and any future plans. This helps us understand how well our programs are working AND if you want to come back for future funding it will help us help you better.

  10. Will we get the funding all at once? - Typically yes, we provide the funded at about the date you specify (or as close as we can) based upon your application as approved. But, if your project is large or spans several years, we may divide the funding according to your project milestones.

  11. Will you fund the amount we ask for? - Probably yes. We’ll certainly contact you directly during the review process if our ideas of your funding need are different than the amount you requested. And be forewarned, that number can go UP or DOWN! PLEASE NOTE: the process is getting more competitive for funding, the greater the match from sources outside your organization, the higher priority you have for funding. So, for example, we might ask for more outside match to lower our total percentage of the project. Or we might want to talk with you about additional funding if our review indicates that your budget is inadequate to ensure success.

  12. Will Site Visits be required? - Maybe. The more you ask for, the larger the project, or multiple applications will increase the chance we’ll ask to come by. But don’t worry, we’re very informal about it – it is more because we want to work with you to ensure your success.

  13. Can I (or my organization) submit multiple applications at once? - Yes, but they will be reviewed independently – each has to stand on its own

  14. Can we submit a new Application if we already have a Grant Project active that isn’t completed yet? - Absolutely, but again it will be reviewed independently

  15. Can we ask for more funding if our project runs into trouble? - Maybe, but we’d ask that you contact us as soon as possible if this happens. Asking us to cover expenses after the fact isn’t likely to be supported. And we don’t do “Emergency Funding”. So if you have a problem with your project and are up-front with us just as soon as you know of the issues, we might (or may not) be able to work with you. We ultimately want you to be successful.

  16. Can I provide information that I think might be important that is not on the form? - Yes, you can submit supportive documents with your Application, BUT your application must stand on its own. Only the information on the on-line form will be used by the review process to priority rank your application. You may also be asked to submit other documents, depending upon your project, but they’ll be used in the review only if we request them.

  17. Why do I need to identify several different people? - We want to know that this is a team effort and that you’ve got internal management in place to ensure that the project succeeds. So we want to know who’s actually leading the charge (the Project/Program Manager), who provides oversight to them (the Officer), and who handles the money (the Fiscal Manager). We understand that in smaller organizations you may wear many hats – so someone can do two of those roles. But not all three.

  18. Can we print off the form and apply by mail? - No. You can print off the form to guide your completing it if you want. But our entire review process works through our website, so we need you to complete the on-line form.

2 - Questions about Eligible Projects

  1. Do we have to have a project that fits within the defined programs? - Not really, but we do ask that you identify how your project aligns with our mission and programs, so you'll at least have to identify where you think your project fits within the activities we fund.

  2. Can we ask for funding for something we’ve never done before? - ABSOLUTELY YES! We hope people will be creative in their ideas. Just remember, the further something is from your organization’s core competencies the more you may have to demonstrate how you will succeed doing it!

  3. Can we ask for funding for a Pilot Project that is linked to a larger Project? - YES! We’ll work with you on the milestones for the Pilot Project but can review the entire project to help ensure your success.

  4. Can we ask for funding for something we normally do? - Typically we’re not likely to fund your normal programs. But it depends, so you might want to fill out the application and ask for guidance. If you’re expanding your reach, trying to involve more youth, or something different that would increase your chances.

  5. Can we ask for Capital Improvement Funding? - Generally, no. We don’t do “brick-and-mortar” projects, but if there is a capital improvement component to your project that is a bigger effort then that’s OK. For example, if you’re going to be launching a new program but need to repair some walls and paint the room where it will be performed that’s probably OK. But a Grant Application to rehabilitate or build facilities is not likely to be supported.

  6. Can we ask for General Operating Funding? - Generally, no. We typically do not provide general “overhead” support for an organization. However, if part of your resources would otherwise be “administrative” doesn’t mean we won’t support them. For example, if an administrator will lead a new program as the program manager their support for their effort on the project/program is eligible. But not if it’s “10% overhead for general administrative oversight”. And not if it’s a general request for your general operating fund. Just keep in mind that we typically fund projects or programs.

  7. Can we apply for a multi-year project? - Yes, but that’s not our preferred model. And we’ll probably work with you on the timing and milestones to spread out the cash-flow to match your needs.

  8. Is there a limit to what we can ask for? - Yes and no. Don’t ask for more than you need – it will come out in your application review and may jeopardize your entire application. The more you ask for, the more we’re also going to ask to see matching funds from outside sources – so plan accordingly. But do ask for what you need. The more our funds are leveraged, the greater your chances of success. The more youth you serve, the greater your chances of success.

3 - The Application Form - Line-by-Line

  1. Project Title - Think of it as the nick-name for your project. It's probably what you call it internally. But please be specific enough that we don't get it confused with others. The Title doesn't need to be unique (we'll always refer to it with your organization's name), but what if you called it "Summer Leadership Academy" and then next year submitted for additional funding?

  2. Project Type - This is where you'll tell us with which of our funding programs you think your project most closely aligns. It doesn't need to be an exact fit, but it will help us understand what you are trying to accomplish.

  3. Project Description - This will be the public description of your project. We don't share your project proposal, narrative, budget, or any of the other materials you send to us as a part of your Application. But we do publically announce projects and provide information to others about what we do - so that's the "Project Description". Please do NOT include people's names, contact information, or any private/sensitive information - it will be used exactly as you enter it here. You should include a basic profile of your organization and a general description of this project and what you will achieve.

  4. Project Narrative - This is the core of your Application. We want it to be clear and concise, but this is your change to tell us what you need and why we should support you. You really need to answer these questions in the Narrative!! Your proposal is NOT likely to be recommended for funding without these explanations.
    1. Tell us who you are (generally). If you are affiliated with a larger well-known organization make sure that is clear.
    2. Tell us (generally) what problem/issue you are facing and how you intend to address it. Basically, this is what you need the money for.
    3. You need to be specific in the project background and why this is important. (a) Have you ever done anything like this before, (b) are you expanding a program you already have, (c) are you trying to import an idea/program from another organization that has been successful with it, or (d) is this a brand new idea?
    4. Tell us what programmatic activities, curriculum, or other structure you will be using to accomplish your program goals
    5. We will need a budget, but you do NOT need to include a detailed budget (just saying $500 for supplies is enough, we don't need itemized lists here). Please upload a spreadsheet file with your budget - you can include a breakdown in the narrative, but a simple budget table would be more informative - including a breakdown of all revenue by source
    6. Sources of outside funds - just a list is OK, but how much from what sources (by name).
    7. We need to know if/how you are qualified to do what you are asking us to support. Just a short explanation is sufficient, you do NOT need to include resumes, profiles, or CVs of your key people (just saying 20 years in the field is enough here). If we need more information, we'll ask. Since we're trying to make the initial Application process easy, please don't be concerned if we ask for more information.

  5. Total Cost - This is just what it says - the TOTAL cost of this project, not just what you're asking us to support. We need this to understand the magnitude of what you're doing and, frankly, whether we think your going to succeed.

  6. Amount from other sources - How much of the total are you getting from third parties? Not your resources, not your request to us, but others. This would include cash and in-kind support, a short description of what this is should be in your Narrative! HINT - Total Cost = Amount from other Sources + Total Request from us. If it does not, please explain WHY in the narrative.

  7. Total Request - Bottom line - this is amount you'd like to see on our check!

  8. Number of Youth Served / Average Age - One of the measures of our success is the total number of youth served by our funding. We're asking this of you to help us achieve our goals.

  9. Dates - We encourage you to apply well in advance of your project. Especially if you may be using our Grant Award as a matching amount or a challenge amount for other funding. So we anticipate that you may want a decision from us in advance (and a letter of commitment) but don't actually need the money until a later time. And maybe you can start the project but don't need our money until you're into the project. What we're looking for here is the expected Start and End dates of your project, and the approximate date you would need our funding. We realize things may change - but we need this information for our planning purposes.

  10. Description of Outcome Measures - This is very important to us - if you're going to be successful we'd like to know what that means to you. For this project, we'd like you to describe how you will measure your success, where those measures come from, and what level of performance you define as successful. If you need help with this area, just ask and we can advise you. Ideally, your measures of success will define three levels of performance -
    1. a minimum acceptable (below which is considered failure),
    2. a realistic target (what you really want to do), and
    3. an overachiever or best possible outcome (your highest expectation, without overwhelming your organization)

    VERY IMPORTANT - the measures you chose will help us understand what you are trying to accomplish. So this isn't just to know how well you achieve your goals at the end - it defines exactly what you are trying to accomplish!

  11. Uploaded Files - We allow you to upload documents (Word documents, spreadsheets, powerpoint presentations, PDF files, etc.) in support of your Application. HOWEVER, your Application Narrative (see above) must stand on its own. Do not just refer to the supporting documents and expect to get a good review. We will perform an initial review on your application WITHOUT looking at any of these documents (except the brief budget requested in the narrative)!!! You can think ahead about your Application and anticipate additional information that we may need - and submit it with your application. It will help expedite the review process. A few of the things that are normal are listed below. (This is not a complete list, use your judgment if you think you should include something - but remember that the more you submit the longer it will take for us to review it!)
    1. Detailed Budgets - If your project has any complexity or has several components, we're likely to ask for a detailed budget
    2. Resumes - If your project depends upon the expertise of some key individuals, we're likely to ask for their resume/CV
    3. Organizational Profile - If you're a new organization, not affiliated with a known national organization (like Boy Scouts, 4H, YMCA, etc.), or have unique characteristics relative to your proposal, it would help to know more about you.

4 - Questions about Reporting Requirements

  1. Do we have to write a Final Report? - Yes, at the end of your project or the period of your grant you will be required to complete a short report. It is only two short narratives and we ask for only two measurements. It is very easy to complete and the form to fill out will appear at the bottom of your Application after your project has been funded.

  2. Can we provide our own reports? - You can still upload any documents in PDF or Word format that you may have created that describe the results. We'd love to have pictures of your team in action as well. But we're still going to ask you to complete our simple "Final Report" form.

  3. Are there any requirements for Photos? - As noted above, we'd love to have any pictures you can share that show your program in action. We may ask if we can use some of them in our materials as well.

    NOTE: Any picture you provide for us we consider to be a part of the Publically Available reporting on your project. So PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE PROPER PERMISSIONS TO SEND THEM TO US. Photos by professional photographers may be copyrighted - please don't send them unless you have permission. Photos of minors should include permission of their parents/guardians to share them publicly!!

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