Frequently Asked Questions

Our FAQ page is currently separated into three sections: 

1) Frequently asked questions in relation to COVID-19

2) Frequently asked questions in relation to General Considerations including priorities, eligibility, and feedback.

3) Frequently asked questions in relation to the Application Portal 

The Foundation's staff is currently working from home as much as possible during the pandemic. If you have any questions that are not addressed below please email info@mvdreyfusfoundation.org.

COVID-19 FAQ 

A) Will the Foundation make emergency grants in response to the COVID-19 crisis? 

Unfortunately, the Foundation cannot make emergency grants. 

B) Will the pandemic affect the Foundation's timeline for notifications or consideration? 

No, the Foundation is operating under its usual timeline.

D) Have the Foundation's funding priorities changed in light of the COVID-19 crisis? 

The Foundation has never established specific funding priorities, instead aiming to support any worthwhile cause for which an organization has made a compelling case for funding. However, the impact and extent to which COVID-19 has affected people and organizations nationally and around the world is very much on the mind of the board and will continue to be.   

E) Our programming cannot be run under the stay-at-home orders currently in place/ anticipated to be in place locally, can we still apply for funding for these programs? 

Yes, the Foundation will take into consideration the unprecedented affect the crisis has had on all  program and operation areas and can consider requests for programming that will resume once operations begin to return to normal. 

General FAQ

1. Are your grants limited to a particular geographic area?

The Foundation makes grants to non-profit organizations across the United States. The Foundation does not establish geographical preferences within the United States. The Foundation can also consider requests for organizations based in the United States but whose programming takes place abroad, as well as requests from organizations located in U.S. Territories. The Foundation cannot consider requests from organizations that are not based in the United States. 

2. Does the Foundation give grants for operating support?

The Foundation does award funding for operating support, as well as for specific projects or activities of an organization. The Foundation does not have a preference between program and operating support. 

3. What are the Foundation's funding priorities for this year?

The Foundation does not establish funding priorities on an annual basis, but rather supports worthwhile activities for which an organization has made a compelling case to receive funding. As a result, Foundation staff cannot advise applicants on the appropriateness of one potential submission over another. Instead, we generally suggest that organizations select programs for which they can make their best case for support, and for which a small amount of money can have a large impact.

Examples of the Foundation's general areas of interest may be found on the Application Page however, the Foundation will consider applications from any 501(c)3 based in the United States of America for which a relatively small amount of funding might make a large difference.

4. Is it possible to meet with someone with the Foundation, in order to introduce my organization and to make a stronger case for Foundation support?

Unfortunately, no. Due to the large number of requests for such meetings and the small size of the Foundation staff, it is not possible to accommodate all of these requests. As a result, in fairness to all applicants, we suggest that organizations make their best case for support in their application.

5. Can we receive feedback on our application?

Unfortunately, no. Due to the number of requests received for each round of grants, we are unable to provide feedback on individual requests. 

6. If our application is accepted, will we be asked to submit a full proposal/Do you require a Letter of Interest?

No. All narrative information in regard to your Foundation and its programs are collected in the initial application. Organizations selected for further consideration will be required to submit additional financial information, including copies of (up-to) four most recent 990s filed with the IRS over the past four years. 

The Foundation does not require, or consider letters of interest or letters of introduction. Due to the amount of communications the Foundation receives, we may not be able to respond to letters of interest/letters of introduction. 

7. Can my organization submit an application under a fiscal sponsor? 

Yes.  Applicants applying through a fiscal sponsor should mark "No"  to the question "Is your organization a 501c3 organization?" on the application. Select "applying through a fiscal sponsor" and enter the name of your fiscal sponsor. You will also need to attach the 501c3 determination letter for your fiscal sponsor. 

8. Can publicly supported organizations, such as schools or local government institutions, for which a 501(c)3 determination is not appropriate apply for funding?

Yes, requests from publicly supported organizations can be considered. Mark "No"  to the question "Is your organization a 501c3 organization?" on the application. Select "on behalf of a publicly-supported organization such as a school university or government entity". In lieu of a 501(c)3 determination letter we require a signed statement from a senior administrator as to the organization's means of support.

9. Can my application include indirect costs and if so, up to what percentage? 

The Foundation does not have a specific policy regarding indirect costs or their percentage. Requests containing indirect costs will be considered on a case-by-base basis. Because the vast majority of organizations applying for funding are not required to include indirect costs in their request, we recommend keeping any required indirect costs as low as possible. 

10. My organization is new and has not yet filed a 990, can we still apply? 

No. The Foundation requires organizations to have filed at least one 990 to apply. 

11. Are 990-N/postcard 990s acceptable? 

Yes.

12. Your guidelines state an organization may be required to submit up to an additional four 990s; our organization is relatively new and has less than four 990s, can we still apply? 

Yes. The Foundation only requires one 990 to have been filed for an organization to be considered for support.  

13. My organization is not required to file 990s, can we still apply? 

Yes. Publicly support organizations, such as school or local government institutions and faith-based organizations that are not required to file 990s can still apply. 

14. How much funding do you recommend a first-time applicant apply for? 

The Foundation does not recommend a specific amount for first-time, or any other, applicant. However, we do expect the requested amount fall within our typical giving range ($1,000-$20,000) and relate sensibly to the grants' intended purpose, as well as the organization's budget/s. Be aware that in an effort to support as many  worthwhile organizations and programs as possible, the Foundation may choose to award an amount less than the amount requested by an organization.

15. What are some common problems with grant requests received by the Foundation?

a. Missing or incorrect information or attachments. 

b. Providing single income and expense totals instead of itemized budgets. Excluding information on income in the organization budget. Providing an operating budget from a year that has not been completed and/or including projected income/expenses in the operating budget. 

c. The nature of the organization and/ or request is unclear and obscured by jargon. The Foundation should have a clear idea of what, specifically, your organization does and who your organization serves and- when applying for program support- what, specifically, the program does and who the program serves. While the goals of an organization are important, the Foundation is equally interested in learning what the organization is doing to accomplish them. 

d. Timing. The Foundation's deadline dates fall well before decisions are made and funding is awarded. The Foundation prefers to consider requests for current/ future programs and projects rather than retroactively. 

e. The requested grant amount is not realistic for the Foundation or is intended to be used over multiple years. The Foundation typically awards between $1,000-$20,000 and expects any award to be used within one year (365 days) upon receipt.  Requests over $20,000 may indicate an organization has not properly reviewed the information on our website or does not understand the Foundation's mission. Requests that propose spending over multiple years will not be considered. 

Application Portal FAQ

1. To whom can I address the Letter of Request? 

Your LOR may be addressed to Mary P. Surrey, the Foundation's President. 

2. Can I submit a report through the portal? 

Yes and no. Reports submitted through the portal must be connected to an application received through the portal. Grantees funded prior to Fall 2021 award round will need to submit their report in hard copy. 

3. How do I change our organization's login email address?

This change cannot be made by the user. Please contact the Foundation at info@mvdreyfusfoundation.org with a request to change your login email. Evidence you are affiliated with the organization will be required. 

The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation