Samuel S. Fels Fund


applying for a grant

Here are some things you need to know and links to relevant details.

funding guidelines

The ideal proposal focuses on systems change work in the City of Philadelphia and uses the movement building strategies. Every grantee partner awarded a general operating grant will automatically receive an additional grant for Leadership Development and Wellness.

Who is eligible?

Organizations must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Have a tax-exempt 501c3 designation OR a not-for-profit mission and use a fiscal sponsor OR a parent organization that is a tax-exempt 501c3.
    • Fels Fund will only consider local offices of national organizations that have a local Advisory Board.
  • Serve the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Be actively engaged in movement building and systems change work.
  • Understand and acknowledge the racial history of the United States and Philadelphia.
  • Have a racial and class analysis of the inequities that continue to harm communities served and use this analysis as grounding for the design of their work.

When is the deadline?

The 2024 Funding Inquiry deadline is June 18, 2024 at 5:00 PM EST. For more information, visit the grant deadline page. Prepare by learning what you will need to apply.

Who is a strong fit for funding?

Organizations that are a strong fit will be led by individuals impacted by social, racial, or economic injustice and/or members of the unique community they serve, and be able to:

  • Identify communities served.
  • Describe the movement building strategies used in the work.
  • Explain how the racial history of the United States and Philadelphia impacted and continues to impact the work and communities served.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of race and class in the work.
  • Describe how the organization actively shares power amongst staff and with the community served.
  • Share details of work done collaboratively or in coalition with local nonprofits.
  • Show an unwavering commitment to cultural competency and a culture of care for staff, volunteers, and communities served.

What does Fels Fund not fund?

As a general rule, Fels does not fund:

  • Activities or services taking place outside of Philadelphia, PA (unless it has a significant impact on Philadelphia)
  • Organizations not involved in social justice, movement building and/or systems change work
  • Grants to individuals
  • National or umbrella organizations except those with Philadelphia offices
  • Endowments
  • Major programs of large institutions
  • Capital programs and or equipment
  • Deficit financing
  • Direct service only, including but not limited to:
    • Drug and alcohol addiction programs
    • Healthcare and health research
    • Support groups for individuals
    • Summer recreation programs
    • Individual daycare or after school programs
    • Programs for animals
    • Routine social services
    • Community computer programs
  • Purchase of tickets, tables, ads or sponsorships
  • Parties, conferences, fairs, fundraising and one-time events
  • Religious and private education
  • Individual public or charter schools
  • Higher education
  • Scholarships, fellowships, grants-in-aid of travel or research
  • Publications or university presses

more questions?

See our FAQ page for more information

how it works

The grant application process


Review the full grantmaking timeline on the grant deadline page.

  1. Eligibility and Deadline: Read about Fels’ funding focus and review eligibility requirements, above, to determine whether your organization is eligible and is a fit.

    Deadline: June 18, 2024 @ 5:00 PM EST

  2. Prepare: Download the funding inquiry worksheet for an overview of the funding inquiry, stage one of the application process. The worksheet will outline information and documentation needed to complete and submit the funding inquiry by the submission deadline. If you have accessibility needs or questions about the funding inquiry, contact Michelle Currica Hernandez, Grants & Operations Manager, at 215-731-9455 or by email.

  3. Submit Your Funding Inquiry: Click here to begin your funding inquiry.

  4. Funding Inquiry Review: Your funding inquiry will be reviewed by staff after the submission deadline. You will find out whether your funding inquiry is declined or invited to stage two within 4 to 6 weeks after the submission deadline.

  5. Funding Proposal (invitation only): If your funding inquiry is invited to stage two your organization will complete a full proposal for funding which includes a conversation with program staff, some additional written questions, organizational demographics, and financial statement or 990 tax return. Please note an invitation to submit a proposal does not guarantee funding.

  6. Proposal Review and Decision: Your proposal will be reviewed by staff. If more information is required, staff may reach out to request additional documentation or ask for a follow-up conversation. The proposal is then reviewed by the Board during the autumn meeting. Organizations will be notified by staff about the funding decision.

  7. Grant Payment: If your proposal is approved, a grant agreement packet will be sent electronically within two weeks of the Board decision date. Grantee partners should complete and return the packet which includes a grant agreement letter, grant terms and conditions, and a payment election form. Once the grant agreement packet is returned and payment information is verified your payment will be released.

  8. Grant Reports: Reports are required each year of the three-year grant term, and these reports can be verbal or written. The grant reports are focused on learning, deepening your relationship with Fels Fund, and updates on your work. Grant payments will be released upon completion of the grant report, organizational demographics, and payment election form.

  9. Post-Grant Requirements: At the end of the three-year grant term a final report, either written or oral, is due.

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