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Grants

Grant FAQ

Eligibility

What types of organizations are eligible to apply for funding?

We only fund Montana-based organizations. Montana-based organizations that are eligible to apply for our funding include:

  • Tax-exempt organizations described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (excluding those classified as private foundations or any Type III non-functionally integrated supporting organization under section 509(a) of the Code).
  • Tax-exempt educational institutions.
  • State, tribal, or local government agencies.

Note: Eligible applicants may use a portion of the budget to fund consultants that may not meet these eligibility criteria. 

Under rare circumstances, we may choose to fund organizations based outside of Montana. We will invite these proposals on a case-by-case basis and they must include:

  • A sole focus on improving the health and well-being of Montanans.
  • A strong partnership with Montana-based organizations or communities.
  • Substantial funding to Montana-based organizations included in the grant budget.
  • A strong case for why funding for an organization outside of Montana is needed for successful completion of the project.
  • All applicant organizations must be located in the United States or its territories.

What do you mean by “Montana-based” organization?

The term “Montana-based” means that the organization is organized, incorporated, and has offices in Montana. Independent 501(c)(3) organizations that are “Montana-based” and are controlled by a Montana board but are part of a chain of related non-profits that may also conduct operations outside of Montana may be eligible to apply for funding that is restricted to the Montana-based organization. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if further clarification is needed.

Under rare circumstances, we may choose to fund organizations based outside of Montana. We will invite these proposals on a case-by-case basis, and they must include:

  • A sole focus on improving the health and well-being of Montanans.
  • A strong partnership with Montana-based organizations or communities.
  • Substantial funding to Montana-based organizations is included in the grant budget.
  • A strong case for why funding for an organization outside of Montana is needed to complete the project successfully.
  • All applicant organizations must be located in the United States or its territories.

Are 501(c)(6) organizations eligible?

No. 501(c)(6) organizations are not eligible to apply. We understand, however, that many trade associations also have a sister charitable organization or a state umbrella charity that coordinates charitable programs for local trade associations. If this is the case for your organization, it is possible that the charitable organization could be eligible to apply.

Are organizations that have 501(c)(3) IRS applications submitted and pending approval eligible?

Yes. However, the application will be rejected if IRS approval has not been received by the time that we are due to make a funding decision.

If an organization is not eligible, can a partner organization apply for and receive funds?

We encourage proposals that involve partnerships among two or more organizations. However, one of the partners must serve as the primary applicant. If the proposal is selected for funding, the primary applicant will receive the entire grant.

The primary applicant must meet our eligibility criteria, but the partners do not necessarily need to meet those criteria. For example, while individuals are not eligible for our funding, the primary applicant may propose to contract with an individual consultant to accomplish some specific part of the work.

The primary applicant must not, however, serve as a “pass-through” in which an organization that is not eligible for funding receives a large portion of the grant and leads or controls the project. In general, we expect that the primary applicant will have a substantial role in the work that is being proposed.

If we currently have a MHCF grant, are we eligible to apply again?

Yes, current grantees may apply for a new grant. Your new grant application should either (a) propose an entirely different project from your current project, or (b) if you are seeking additional funds for a project that is related to your current grant, clearly describe specific, separate outcomes and deliverables that would be achieved with your new grant. For example, if you currently have a planning grant, you might consider building on that planning work by submitting a proposal for funding to implement the plan.

In order to be considered for a second grant, you must:

  • Be current with all required grant reporting.
  • Demonstrate that you are making adequate progress on your current project(s).

Selection Criteria

How do you decide which proposals to fund?

All proposals are assessed according to our selection criteria. In addition, we consider the applicant’s finances and capacity for carrying out the proposed work, and the clarity and feasibility of the work plan. On occasion, we may engage external experts to review proposals: external reviewers may make recommendations but do not have final decision-making authority.

How do you define an “at risk” population?

Certain people in our state face particularly difficult challenges to health. “Health disparities” – defined as the higher rates of illness and death that are consistently documented among certain subgroups – are all too common among certain racial and ethnic groups, among those who face social and economic disadvantage, and among young children and older adults. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that health disparities can occur in many demographic subgroups of the population, in relation to age, disability, gender, socio-economic status, geography, gender, and sexual preference. Across all of our work, we place a particular emphasis on reducing health disparities, and ensuring that every Montanan has an opportunity to enjoy a full, productive, and healthy life.

What type of activities are NOT supported?

Please read our selection criteria for more information on what we do and do not fund.

Note that our funds may not be used in any way that might supplant government funding of existing programs. All applicants must read our Guidelines on Supplanting.

Do you support fundraising activities?

As a general practice we do not sponsor fundraising events or capital campaigns. Please read our selection criteria for more information on what we do and don’t fund.

Do you help organizations conduct community health needs assessments?

As we understand it, the IRS requires community health needs assessments (CHNA) of all nonprofit hospitals. As such, the costs of conducting a CHNA can be viewed as part of the general operating costs of the hospital. We do not fund activities that would be considered operating costs (or an operating deficit if not funded; see also our discussion on supplementing versus supplanting).

You may wish to consider, however, whether a small planning grant could allow you to achieve important goals that would not be part of your normal CHNA process. For example, considering our emphasis on creating partnerships, could a grant from us allow you to form new, substantive partnerships with a local health department, community action agency, or other organization that would allow you to more effectively address the needs identified through the CHNA?

Proposal Submission

How many proposals can one organization submit each year? How many grants can it receive?

Each organization may submit up to three distinct applications per year.

Because of the level of interest, it is likely that we will not be able to fund all of the proposals we receive. According to our selection criteria, we will give preference to proposals based on their contribution to the overall diversity and balance of our portfolio, and in particular, to proposals from communities with the greatest demonstrated need. Therefore, it is unlikely but not impossible that we will fund more than a single proposal per organization each year.

If an entity (like a university) has a separate eligible organization (like a foundation), can each eligible organization submit up to three proposals each year?

Yes. We will accept up to three distinct proposals from each eligible organization. Entities such as a major university may house separate organizations, such as a tax-exempt educational institution and a separately organized foundation. Provided that each of those organizations meets our eligibility criteria, we will accept up to three distinct proposals from each organization.

Applicants should bear in mind, however, that we will give preference to proposals based on their contribution to the overall diversity and balance of our portfolio, and in particular, to proposals from communities with the greatest demonstrated need. Therefore, it is unlikely but not impossible that we will fund more than a single proposal per eligible organization each year.

Can multiple organizations submit a joint proposal?

Strong partnerships or coalitions of groups with a stake in the outcome are often very important to the success of a project and are a critically important aspect of our selection criteria. We strongly encourage collaborative proposals from two or more organizations. Only one organization, however, can be designated as the grantee. Collaborative proposals will need to identify the lead project director, the organization that will receive the grant and the relationship between the lead organization and other partners. Other partners may receive funds through sub-contracts or honoraria negotiated and overseen by the grantee.

How do you define “indirect costs” and what percentage is allowable?

We allow 10% of salaries, fringe, and contracts be used for indirect expenses. Indirect costs are expenses of a grantee that are not specifically identifiable to the project but represent overhead costs of grantee operations related to the grant. For example, if you typically charge a general rate for office supplies, this would likely be covered in the indirect line item. However, if you will need to use specific supplies for the training or stakeholder meetings, these should be included in the supplies line item instead. Salaries and benefits of partner organizations should be listed under the consultants line item and do not count towards indirect costs.

Funding Decisions

Will I get comments on my proposal after you make a decision?

Due to the large volume of proposals we receive, we cannot promise to provide individual critiques of or comments on each proposal. We may be able to offer limited feedback on a case-by-case basis, but this is not guaranteed and depends on the volume of request we receive and staff capacity.

Can I resubmit a proposal that didn’t receive funding?

Organizations that are not accepted for funding may not re-apply with the same or similar project in the same year. If an organization is interested in re-applying in a subsequent year with the same project, we recommend discussing the proposal with one of our program staff in order to understand and address any issues that prevented the proposal from being considered for funding initially.

What happens after a proposal is approved for funding?

When a proposal is conditionally approved for funding, and before any funds are released, the prospective grantee and the Foundation must negotiate and sign a grant agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the grant, and the measurable objectives and the frequency of required reporting. Grant decisions are not considered final until the grant agreement is fully executed. No grantee work carried out prior to the date of execution of the grant agreement is considered reimbursable under the grant.

Project Reporting

What reports are required and how often are they due?

Progress reports are due every six months throughout your grant term. A final report is due at the end of your grant term and is required to close-out your project. You can find the deadlines for your reports in your grant agreement and our grants management system.

How do I submit my project report?

Please complete and submit your reports in our grants management system (the same system you used to submit your grant application).

What questions do the reports ask?

The progress reports and the final report include narrative sections for updates on your project’s work plan and outcomes. The reports also include a budget table for tracking grant spending.

What if I can’t submit a report by the deadline?

If you are unable to submit your report by the deadline outlined in your grant agreement, please contact your program officer.

When should I request a budget revision?

Budget revisions must be approved by your program officer if there is a change in a major budget category (Personnel Salaries, Direct Project Expenses, or Indirect Project Expenses) greater than 10% or $5,000. You can request a budget revision in our grants management system.

When should I request a project extension?

Project extensions are required if you will not use all your grant funds or if you will not achieve your key grant outcomes by the time the final grant report is due. If either of these cases applies to you, you can request a project extension in our grants management system.