Samuel S. Fels Fund

 

Grant FAQ

Answers to commonly-asked questions about grant eligibility and process. Also see Additional Grant Resources for more information about available grants in the region.

Eligibility

Is my organization eligible to apply?

Fels Fund accepts requests only from organizations who meet all the following criteria:

  • Has a designated tax-exempt 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Code OR have a not-for-profit mission and use a fiscal sponsor OR are a Philadelphia office of a national organization.
    • Fels Fund will only consider local offices of national organizations that have a local Advisory Board.
  • Serves the City of Philadelphia.
  • Is actively engaged in movement building and systems change work.
  • Understands and acknowledges the racial history of the United States and Philadelphia.
  • Has 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.

I use a fiscal sponsor or I am a local office of a national organization. Can I still apply?

Yes. Organizations who use a fiscal sponsor or are a Philadelphia office of a national organization and meet all other eligibility criteria may apply. Fels Fund will only consider local offices of national organizations that have a local Advisory Board.

What are Fels Fund’s grantmaking priorities?

Please visit the funding focus page.

WHAT IS A COMMUNITY THAT IS HISTORICALLY EXCLUDED?

Communities that have systematically been denied access to economic, political and cultural participation, power and privileges due to one or more aspects of identity. (Also referred to as “communities that are marginalized”)

I AM NOT CERTAIN ABOUT THE TERMS FELS FUND IS USING; WHERE CAN I GO TO GET DEFINITIONS?

Fels Fund has a glossary that defines key terms, which can accessed here.

What type of requests does the Fels Fund not support?

As a general rule, the Fels Fund does not support:

  • 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

Can I meet with Fels Fund to discuss eligibility or the application process?

Yes. The grantmaking timeline including application process and submission deadline will be announced in Spring 2024. In the meantime, if you have questions about organizational fit, you can schedule a call with Shanell Ransom, Program Officer.

If you have questions about the application process or online proposal system, please contact Michelle Currica Hernandez, Grants & Operations Manager, at 215-731-9455 or by email.

I HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE APPLICATION PROCESS AND I AM HAVING TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY WITH THE SYSTEM. WHO DO I CONTACT?

If you have questions about the application process or are having difficulty with Calendly or any Fels Fund forms please contact Michelle Currica Hernandez, Grants & Operations Manager, at 215-731-9455 or by email.

I HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FELS FUND’S MISSION-ALIGNED INVESTMENTS STRATEGY AND/OR FUNDER ADVOCACY. WHO DO I CONTACT?

If you have questions about Fels’ investment strategy or funder advocacy, schedule a call with Sarah Martinez-Helfman, President.

Grant Process and Deadlines

CAN I BE ALERTED WHEN THE GRANT APPLICATION IS LIVE?

Yes, sign up for the Fels Fund mailing list to get updates to your inbox.

Can I apply for a grant in 2024?

Yes, if you meet the eligibility criteria listed here. The grantmaking timeline including application process and submission deadline will be announced in Spring 2024. In the meantime check out the funding focus page.

How does my organization apply for a grant?

Application details will be announced in Spring 2024.

IS THERE A DEADLINE FOR APPLYING FOR A GRANT?

Yes, Fels Fund has one deadline in 2024. The grantmaking timeline including the application process and submission deadline will be announced in Spring 2024. Learn more on the grant deadline page.

I missed the deadline. Can I still apply?

Once the 2024 deadline has passed no additional proposals will be accepted until the next grant cycle in 2027.

My grant report is due after a deadline. Can I still apply?

Yes, we waived grant reporting for all 2023 grantee partners.

I PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED A GRANT FROM FELS BUT IT WAS FOR A SPECIFIC FOCUS AREA (EX., ARTS & CULTURE, IMMIGRANTS & REFUGEES OR SOCIAL, RACIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE). CAN I STILL APPLY?

The Fels Fund has combined its three previous grantmaking areas into one, focusing on movement building strategies to support coordinated efforts for systems change. Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria and be engaged in two of the listed movement building strategies.

Is there a minimum or maximum request amount?

Fels Fund provides three-year general operating grants in the range of $25,000-$30,000 per year, totaling $75,000 – $90,000 for the three-year grant term. Once grants are made in 2024, the next grant cycle will open in 2027.

Does Fels Fund award multi-year grants?

Yes, Fels Fund awards three-year grants.

CAN I APPLY FOR A LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT/WELLNESS GRANT?

No. Fels Fund does not accept applications for Leadership Development and Wellness. These grants are automatically awarded in addition to general operating grants for every grantee partner.

WHAT IS THE GRANT AMOUNT FOR A LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND WELLNESS GRANT?

Fels Fund provides $10,000 per year, totaling $30,000 for the three-year grant term, to grantee partners. Do note, you cannot directly apply for a Leadership Development and Wellness grant.

Can I meet with foundation staff to discuss my organization/project?

If you have questions about organizational fit, you can schedule a call with Shanell Ransom, Program Officer.

What should I do if I have a question that is not addressed here or from the website?

We encourage you to contact the Fels Fund at 215-731-9455 or email staff.

Can I give feedback to the Fels Fund?

Yes. We ask for feedback on each funding inquiry and proposal and welcome feedback calls or emails. If you prefer an anonymous feedback channel, feel free to use Grant Advisor to provide your comments/suggestions. Thank you in advance for helping us better serve you.

Using the Online Proposal System

I received a grant from the Fels Fund in the past. What is my login information?

The grant portal is accessible however the grant application will be available later this year. If your organization has not applied for a grant since July 2017, you must create an account to access the online proposal system. At that time you may click here to create an account. If you applied in July 2017 or after and do not know your login information, see the next question and answer.

I FORGOT MY PASSWORD I CREATED WHEN I SAVED MY FUNDING INQUIRY OR PROPOSAL. HOW CAN I FIND IT?

Go to your sign-in page, click on “Forgot your password,” enter the e-mail address associated with the account, click on “Send Password.” Password will be sent to that email.

What should I do if my organization has an account but I do not have the login information?

Try to determine the email address that was used to create the account. Go to your sign-in page, click on “Forgot your password,” enter the e-mail address associated with the account, click on “Send Password.” Password will be sent to that email. If you continue to have difficulty signing in please contact the Fels Fund at 215-731-9455 or email staff.

If you are seeking access to previous applications submitted to Fels Fund, please reach out.

How do I create an account and what can I do with it?

Organizations submitting a funding inquiry or proposal for funding must have or create an account within Fels’ online proposal system. Fels staff recommend that your organization establish one account to be used by the person responsible for submitting grant requests. (i.e.info@yourorganization.org). Please only create one account per organization. Once the account is created, organizations can:

  • Access saved, but not yet submitted funding inquiries and proposals.
  • Submit saved funding inquiries and proposals.
  • View copies and dates of submitted funding inquiries and proposals.
  • Access your existing account, click here.

I HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE APPLICATION PROCESS AND AM HAVING TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY WITH THE SYSTEM. WHO DO I CONTACT?

Michelle Currica Hernandez, Grants & Operations Manager, via phone 215-731-9455 or by email.

Additional Grant Resources

The Regional Foundation Center informs the local nonprofit sector through research, resources, and workshops. The RFC houses Philadelphia’s largest publicly accessible collection of print and electronic resources on fundraising, nonprofit management, general philanthropy, and institutional advancement. The RFC also provides free access to the Foundation Directory Online—the most comprehensive database of U.S. grantmakers and their grants. Through its comprehensive collection and professionally certified staff librarians, the RFC promotes responsible nonprofit management and successful fundraising by nonprofit groups at all levels—from grassroots startups to established institutions.

For more information visit the Regional Foundation Center website.

Click here to make a research appointment with the Regional Foundation Center.

Click here to see the workshop calendar.

GrantProposal.info: Free resource for valuable information on fundraising, grant writing and other nonprofit supports.

GuideStar: Create a free account to update your organization’s page and gain access a searchable database with information on every IRS registered nonprofit (foundations included). Learn about an organization’s mission, impact, finances, reputation, programs, governance and more.

Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO): PANO is the statewide membership organization serving the nonprofit sector through advocacy, collaboration, education and other services.

The Nonprofit Center at La Salle University: The Nonprofit Center offers leadership development, educational programs, consulting services, networking opportunities and job listings to help nonprofits strengthen their management, governance and operations.

Tell Us How We Are Doing

At the Fels Fund, we are always learning and appreciate any feedback. We ask for feedback on each funding inquiry and proposal but realize having an anonymous feedback channel may be preferred. Feel free to use Grant Advisor to give us anonymous feedback on our application process. We welcome your suggestions to help strengthen and simplify this process. Thank you in advance for helping us better serve you.

Let us know how we are doing.

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