Program Grants and Committees policies and procedures

__________ Foundation Policies and Procedures
Program Grants and Committees

The original policies and procedures (articles 1 – 18) for program grants and committees were approved individually by each program committee (i.e., the Community Development, Environment, and Youth Violence Prevention program committees) prior to their presentation to Trustees at the November 2000 meeting. It was noted at that meeting that each committee had adopted identical policies and procedures. No motion was made at the November 2000 meeting to accept or approve the policies and procedures by which each committee had elected to be governed.

As part of its charge to develop various governing policies, the Ad Hoc Policy Committee was asked in the spring of 2003 to review the Policies and Procedures for Program Grants and Committees. In 2007, the Executive Committee agreed that program grants should be evaluated by committees on an ongoing basis in addition to periodic retrospective reviews as prescribed in the original policy.

The purpose of the Policies and Procedures for Program Grants and Committees is to
establish administrative policies by which all program grants (referred to as Special
Initiatives on the Foundation’s website) and the committees overseeing them would

1. Generally, the committee process will include two or possibly three conference
calls prior to presentation of the slate of recommended grants to the Board. During
an initial call, committee members may discuss their individual rankings of the
inquiries or proposals received to date (5=high interest, 0=no interest.) During
another call, using any site visit information to amplify the proposal, votes again
may be taken. Much of how the process unfolds will depend on the volume and
the timing of proposals received. In time, the conference call process may become
more predictable and uniform.
2. Generally, preference will be given to proposals requesting support of specific
projects or programs over those requesting general operating support. Stronger
applications will mention the proposed project as an objective in the applying
organization’s strategic plan.
3. While there may be no stated or published geographic restrictions, certain areas
may be selected by certain committees for focus.
4. Generally, larger grants–in the range of $25,000 and higher–will be considered.
This is not to say that a smaller grant request would be disqualified for consideration, particularly if the applying organization has been a Trusteesponsored
organization or if the proposal is particularly substantive.
5. A site visit should have been made to all program grant applicants prior to the
awarding of the grant. An established, long-term relationship between a Trustee
and an applying organization may suffice for a site visit, particularly in cases where
the feasibility of making a site visit is minimal due to timing or logistics. At
minimum, due diligence is required of organizations whose proposals are being
considered within the committee process.
6. Staff should be involved in site visits to program initiative applicants, preferably
with another committee member.
7. Proposals that outline collaborations, partnerships or joint ventures will be most
welcome. Rationale: the more committed stakeholders there are, the more likely
the project or program will succeed due to value added, additional resources to
apply toward the project, and synergy. In this case, collaboration (partnership or
joint venture) may be defined as a commitment to fund a project jointly with
another foundation. It does not include engaging in a new legally sanctioned
entity, such as a new joint board of directors or ad hoc advisory or oversight
committee. Such collaborations would require the approval of the Foundation’s
8. All proposals should outline a funding strategy for the proposed program or
project, including amounts committed or pending from various sources of funding
(other foundations, the applicant’s board, government sources, etc.). Rationale:
the funding strategy is an indication of the priority and seriousness of the proposed
project or program. Commitments from other sources are an indication of how
others evaluate the proposal.
9. Proposals requesting a grant for a start-up program should provide a strategy for
long-term funding after the initial start up period. If long-term support will
depend solely on foundations, the committees should consider the implications of
initiating this type of program (i.e., whether or not they would ask the
Foundation, or other foundations, to continue to provide ongoing program
10. All proposals should include an evaluation component, a section that outlines how
the results of the proposed project would be evaluated. Rationale: programs or
projects that receive larger grant amounts should be evaluated.
11. All grant recipients will be required to submit an evaluation report prior to
consideration of any further funding.
12. A Trustee may sponsor a general grant to a program grant recipient. However, in
most cases, such a sponsorship may be initiated only at the conclusion of the
program grant period. In general, a program grant recipient may not also receive a
Trustee-sponsored general grant during the same year. Old Grantees that are
awarded a program grant may, in some cases, continue to receive a Trusteesponsored
general grant.
13. Organizations previously sponsored by Trustees, i.e., Old Grantees, are eligible for
program grants. Unsolicited inquiries or proposals that have no prior Trustee
sponsorship or connection may be given consideration, as well. The establishment
of the ______ Foundation website as well as increased public access to electronic
databases and paper publications of foundation data makes the Foundation’s data
more accessible to grant seekers at worthy organizations.
14. New organizations receiving a program grant will not automatically rotate onto
the Foundation’s next cycle as an Old Grantee. However, a program grant
recipient may submit a request for a continuation grant, and each program grant
committee may choose to fund it or not.
15. Pledges or multi-year payouts may be made, but more selectively. Rationale:
lump sum payouts promote administrative efficiency in managing grants and allow
for more straightforward amounts allowable for subsequent yearly allocations.
Multi-year program grant pledge payments may not exceed two years.
16. Minutes of conference calls should be issued by staff to all committee members for approval within the following week. Approval of minutes by committee members
will be tacit, i.e., only points of disagreement should be called in to staff for
17. Letters declining proposals or announcing grant awards should be sent within one
month of the semi-annual meeting of the Board at which the funding decision was
approved and recorded in the minutes.
18. Each program committee may refine its program guidelines to meet its particular
business needs. However, the administrative policies and procedures governing
program grant committees should be uniform across all committees. These
“Policies and Procedures for Program Grants and Committees” should be
submitted periodically to the Board for review and approval.
19. Program committees must apply multi-year payments against the budget of the year in which the payment will be made. Program committees may not pre-commit
more than half of the expected budget for the following year.
20. In addition to approving program budgets for the next fiscal year at the November meeting, the Board of Directors also should establish tentative program budgets for the fiscal year following. The two-year horizon will provide ceilings to multi-year commitments, which may not exceed one half the budget. The tentative budget amount will be reassessed the following November and confirmed.
21. The consideration process of program grants and all related documentation is
considered confidential and is for the internal use of the Foundation and Trustees
22. Communications to program grant applicants regarding the status of their proposals should not precede the approval of committee recommendations by the Board and should be done via formal communication by the Foundation office. Execution of decline or deferral letters should not precede a committee’s approval of the minutes recording the committee’s decisions.
23. Program committee chairs rotate yearly prior to the start of a new fiscal year unless the members of the committee unanimously recommend an additional term for the current chair. The chairmanship may rotate according to Trustee age or
seniority on a committee. A committee member must have served on the
committee for two years with regular attendance at meetings in order to be eligible
for chairmanship.
24. Program committees may have no fewer than three members and no more than
seven. An attempt will be made to represent family branches and generations across
committees. The Board will approve committee membership.
25. Program committee meetings are open to any Trustees who may wish to observe.
26. Unless circumstances suggest otherwise, program committees must evaluate the
effectiveness of their grants on an ongoing basis, and every four years a
retrospective review of a grants program must be conducted according to a Board approved evaluation plan, schedule and process. A program committee may
recommend to the Board that the program be discontinued. The Board has the
authority to create or discontinue a program at any time. Appropriate advance
notice of the decision to discontinue a program must be made to affected
applicants or grantees and be appropriately posted on the Foundation’s website.
27. Because program committees are charged by the Board to address collective
program grantmaking interests on behalf of the Foundation, attendance is
important. A program committee member who misses more than two consecutive
meetings or conference calls may be asked to step down unless the committee
votes to excuse that member’s absence. An absent member may submit his or her
votes to a committee in advance of a meeting. Absent committee members may
request a committee to reconsider a decision.
28. New program committee members are expected to read background papers,
program guidelines, application procedures, proposal review criteria, and other
materials designed to bring them up to speed with current members.
29. Consideration of program grant proposals may be deferred to the next 6-month
grant consideration cycle only once. Proposals should not be deferred due to
indecision unless additional information is required to complete the application
30. Program committee decisions on proposal recommendations must be by consensus (80%). The results of committee votes (i.e., unanimous or consensus) should be indicated on the slate of grants a committee recommends to the Board for
31. Program committees may not defer decisions to the Board.
32. Trustees or program committee members who wish to invite a proposal from a
particular organization for a program grant should request the Foundation staff to
extend the invitation after conducting a preliminary or qualifying background
search. The Foundation staff should serve as the Foundation’s main contact with
program grant applicants in order to avoid confusion or miscommunications.
Trustees who directly invite a program proposal should notify the Foundation
office of the invitation as soon as possible afterward. This will prevent proposals
that do not refer to the invitation or the Trustee who extended it from
inadvertently being declined.

Exceptions to this policy as applied to a single program grant may be approved by an 80 percent consensus vote of the members of the program committee. The Board should be advised of any such approved exceptions when the grant is presented for Board approval.

This policy is confidential and for internal use by Trustees only. It may not be distributed by Trustees or Foundation staff in any part or form to potential applicants. Distribution to consultants or other foundations must be approved by the Foundation office.