Frequently Asked Questions
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Please note that many applicant questions regarding eligibility, the application process, and funding timelines can be answered by thoroughly reviewing The Clowes Fund’s competitive grant guidelines (PDF).
How do you pronounce Clowes?
Sounds like Clews.
Are there two "Clowes" foundations?
Yes! You are currently on the website of The Clowes Fund. The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation was established independently by Allen Whitehill Clowes, a leading philanthropist in Indianapolis, Indiana; learn more by visiting www.awclowescf.org.
What is the best means of initial contact with The Clowes Fund?
First, read our guidelines carefully and peruse our website. If you have a request that you believe is compatible with the Fund’s interests, then please introduce your organization by submitting a Preliminary Proposal, generally by Nov. 1 each year.
Do you foresee any changes among The Clowes Fund's regional priorities?
Led by a Futures Task Force appointed in 2018, the board affirmed its commitment to grantmaking in Indiana and New England for at least the next 10 years. Meanwhile, the Fund announced a five-year exit strategy for Seattle in 2017, and final grants will conclude in 2021.
What is meant by "socioeconomically disadvantaged" individuals?
The Fund uses this term because it fully captures our interests: "Socioeconomic status is the social standing or class of an individual group. It is often measured as a combination of education, income or occupation. Examinations of socioeconomic status often reveal inequities in access to resources, plus issues related to privilege, power and control" (from the American Psychological Association).
What is the difference between a Preliminary Proposal, a Letter of Inquiry and a Statement of Intent?
A Preliminary Proposal or "prelim" is required of organizations that have not received a grant in the past five years. Its purpose is to introduce your organization to the Fund before you invest in a full proposal. Other foundations might refer to the prelim narrative summary of up to three pages as a "letter of inquiry" or LOI. Prelims must be submitted via eGrant (accessible via the "Apply" webpage) by Nov. 1.
A Statement of Intent (SOI) is required of organizations seeking renewed funding after having received a grant from the Fund within the past five years. An SOI may be as simple as a few paragraphs e-mailed to your primary program officer (if in doubt, simply e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). The purpose of the SOI is to have a conversation with a Fund program officer about an appropriate new proposal. You increase your likelihood of receiving useful guidance if you connect with staff by mid-December, well in advance of the Feb. 1 deadline for Final Proposals.
What is meant by full time equivalent (FTE) staff?
FTE means the number of full time equivalents. Examples: two 1/2-time employees equals 1 FTE; one full-time employee, plus one 3/4-time employee and one 1/2-time employee equals 2.25 FTE.
eGrant applications are due by what time of day?
eGrant online applications are due by 11:59 PM in your respective time zone on the due date regardless of day of the week. If November 1 is a Sunday, your application is still due online by 11:59 PM that day. Each online application is time-stamped upon submission and is auto-acknowledged via e-mail. eGrant is accessible via the "Apply" webpage.
My organization is a subsidiary that is responsible for its own fundraising within a much larger entity - for the purposes of this discussion, subsidiary is defined as a local chapter of a larger or national organization, or a department of a larger institution. How should I answer the application questions related to organizational budget, staff size, etc.?
In the application, provide information pertaining to the legal fiduciary; i.e., the organization whose legal name appears on the IRS determination letter. If the proposed project will be executed by the subsidiary, then use the proposal narrative to describe the relationship between the two entities including information about the size (budget, staffing level) and scope (mission, programs, number of individuals served) of the subsidiary entity. Note, this guidance does not apply to fiscal sponsor relationships; see instructions for fiscal sponsors on the proposed application.
I’m ready to submit my Final Proposal; do you need my IRS Form 990 including all schedules?
No, The Clowes Fund does not require the IRS Form 990 as an attachment for any part of the application process. We review your 990 using Guidestar.
What financial statements do you require from grant applicants?
The Fund prefers audited statements though we recognize this is not always possible for smaller organizations. If your organization does not have an audit, then provide a review or complilation, or a statement of financial position (balance sheet) and statements of activities (profit and loss and budget versus actual) that have been accepted by your board of directors.
What is the Fund's practice regarding multi-year grants?
The Clowes Fund recognizes that multi-year grant commitments can yield higher impact by providing a higher degree of financial stability for a non-profit organization. The Fund will invite a multi-year proposal from an organization when deemed appropriate. Rather than adopting a policy that automatically or arbitrarily limits the number of grants an organization can receive within a certain time period--i.e. no more than three grants in any five-year period--the Fund has a more subjective policy. Each one of our geograhpically based grants review committees is required to review multi-year grants in its respective region upon payment of the final installment to determine whether a new proposal is appropriate. The determinations are based on a variety of factors--our overall grants portfolio in a given geographic region, the grantee's progress toward proposed goals or at least candid communication regarding goals, the grantee organization's life cycle and sustainability plan, just to name a few. The determinations are made early each fall and are communicated to the grantee upon receipt of its e-mailed statement of intent to re-apply.
I am having trouble uploading required attachments; what can I do?
Your application must be completed online. However, if you are not able to upload the narrative and other required attachments in eGrant, you may submit them electronically to email@example.com. If absolutely necessary, you may mail required attachments; please ensure that documents are postmarked by the deadline date and alert Fund staff if sending via mail.
What happens if our organization’s request for funding is declined?
The Clowes Fund will send written notification of all decisions. If your organization is declined, you are welcome to contact Fund program staff for information about reviewers’ comments regarding your proposal. If you do not have the program officer’s direct contact information, you may contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not re-apply unless you have followed up to learn why your previous request was declined.
How do I submit a report to the Fund?
Submit all reports by e-mail to email@example.com. Due dates are generally one year and 30 days following the initial grant payment; specific dates are stated in your grant agreement. Use the Grant Self-Evaluation Form in the Grantseekers tab. Detail progress to date towards the quantified, measurable results you proposed in the application.
What is the difference between interim, final and status reports?
Interim Reports are due for multi-year grants to trigger annual payment; include progress to date toward quantified measurable results; state revised goals for upcoming year.
Final Reports are due within 30 days of project completion; generally one year following grant award; refer to the date stated in your grant agreement.
Status Reports are due with a new proposal unless a final report already has been submitted or an interim report has been submitted within eight months of the proposal deadline (i.e., since June 1) for a prior Clowes Fund grant; report progress to date by completing at least Section I, Section II (questions 1 and 5) and Section III (question 7).
What sort of measurable results does the Fund expect us to report?
The Fund does not prescribe outcomes; instead, we ask you – the grantee, the expert – to determine how to measure success. List at least three quantified, measurable results in your application.
Expand upon the methodology for measurement in your proposal narrative. Tell us why the proposed measurable results listed on the application are important, and how you intend to measure and track them (and then be sure to report on the outcomes as proposed and as stated in the cover message accompanying your grant agreement).
What sort of financial information is required with my report?
Refer to the budget submitted with your proposal, note any changes in actual versus proposed budget and indicate how the grant was expended.
What can I do if I can’t find a copy of our application or proposal?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of your application or proposal.