What is the Baltimore Community Foundation interested in funding?
BCF focuses its discretionary resources on education and neighborhoods. But BCF provides funding in many other areas, such as human services and the arts, thanks to the diverse interests of our many donors.
To determine whether your organization’s work is eligible for funding from BCF, see How to Apply.
Is my organization or project eligible for funding from BCF?
The Baltimore Community Foundation awards grants to nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status.
To find out if there is a match between your organization or program and one of our grant programs, please answer a few basic questions.
My organization does not have a 501(c)(3), but we do have a fiscal sponsor--do we qualify for a grant?
Yes. Please include your fiscal sponsor's 501(c)(3) documentation when submitting your application.
Does BCF prefer new grants or renewals?
Both. BCF funds new projects that need money to get started as well as existing or on-going efforts that need grant support. We are very interested in receiving a letter of inquiry from you even if you have not been previously funded.
Does BCF fund capital projects?
The Baltimore Community Foundation does not generally fund the following:
- Annual fund campaigns;
- Religious or sectarian purposes;
- Capital campaigns;
- Individuals, excluding scholarships;
- Event sponsorships.
Does BCF give grants to individuals or businesses?
No. The Baltimore Community Foundation awards grants to nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status.
When is the deadline to submit a grant proposal?
Deadlines vary depending upon the grant program to which you are applying. Please see our list of grant programs with complete information on how to apply, including applicable deadlines.
How many copies of my proposal do I need to submit?
Unless otherwise instructed, you should submit only one copy of your proposal according to the instructions outlined on the applicable grant program’s web page.
Do you provide multi-year funding?
Yes. However, the ability to make multi-year grants is dependent upon funds available and is at the discretion of the board committee with oversight of the grant.
Do you provide grants for general operating support?
BCF does provide general operating support to organizations that are very closely aligned with BCF’s funding priorities. If your organization is a first-time grant applicant, we are more likely to fund a specific project.
Can we set up a meeting to speak with you about our program before submitting a letter of inquiry?
We meet with applicants if, after receiving a formal request, we determine that a meeting or site visit is necessary. Please submit a formal request according to the instructions outlined on the applicable grant program’s web page.
Is our organization eligible for a grant if it is not located in Baltimore, but we serve Baltimore residents? What geographic region does BCF serve with its grants?
BCF was created to serve the greater Baltimore region. We use our discretionary resources (competitive grants) to fund organizations that are located in or benefit residents of Baltimore City or Baltimore County. Your headquarters may be located elsewhere, but your program must serve the people of this region in order to be eligible for a grant.
If you are located outside our service area, visit the National Community Foundation Locator to find a community foundation serving your area.
What happens after I submit a letter of inquiry or a proposal?
Once you submit a letter of inquiry, we will review it for eligibility. If we need further information, a program officer will call, and may request a site visit. After confirming that your request is a match for one or more grant programs, the program officer will invite you to submit a proposal.
The program officer will evaluate your proposal, then submit it to a board committee for review and possible approval.
Is there anything I can do to make my proposal more compatible with your guidelines?
Unfortunately, there are requests and needs that do not fit within the guidelines of our grant programs. If your program is not compatible with any of our grant programs, you will not be eligible to receive funding.
How does BCF make its funding decisions?
BCF program committees meet several times each year to review proposals and approve grants. Our committees are comprised of BCF trustees and other volunteers who serve without compensation and for rotating terms. They discuss funding requests in a series of confidential meetings at BCF and weigh the merits of each proposal. The review process, from time of application to time of approval, decline or deferral by our board, takes about three months.
Letters of inquiry are accepted on a rolling basis, but proposal deadlines vary by grant program.
What happens after my organization receives a grant?
Once a grant is awarded, we will mail you (or your fiscal sponsor) a grant agreement and report form. Read the grant agreement carefully to make note of your responsibilities, then sign and return it. Then we will release payment of the grant in accordance with the payment schedule and any special conditions spelled out in the grant agreement.
Please keep us informed about your progress and accomplishments. We may schedule a site visit. This is how we gather the information that we need to provide accountability to our donors and the community, and how we continue building our relationship with you.
Do you perform site visits?
Yes. We have found that nothing compares to a face-to-face meeting with you, at your program site, to help us understand the impact of your work. We meet with potential grantees if, after receiving a formal request, we determine that a meeting or site visit is necessary. If a grant is approved, it is understood that you will be willing to allow us to visit with you afterward wherever your funded project is taking place. The expectations for the visit are that you will talk with us and show us what is happening in your program. The visit should include an opportunity to speak with the principal staff members and volunteers as well as with program participants.
My organization received several grants from donor-advised funds at BCF last year. How should I show those gifts on our list of contributors?
List the name of the fund, followed by “at BCF.” For instance:
Greater Good Fund at BCF
Smith Family Fund at BCF
Will BCF help connect my organization or project to other funding sources through BCF funds or family foundations?
Through our outreach to donors we provide information on organizations and issues in the Baltimore area that are pertinent and timely. Despite our efforts, we are unable to highlight or focus on all of the organizations that serve our area. Unfortunately, we are unable to assist you in setting up an informational meeting with or distributing information about your organization to donors.
Does BCF offer scholarships?
Yes. BCF proudly administers scholarship funds established by generous donors to assist students with their educational needs.
Learn more about BCF's scholarship program.