FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Foundation Basics
Grant Eligibility
Letters of Inquiry
Grant Applications
Expectations for Grantees

Foundation Basics:

  1. Do you accept donations?No, we do not accept donations. Our private family foundation status means that we are solely funded by family members.
  2. Do you give scholarships or grants to individuals?No, we do not give scholarships, fellowships, or grants to individuals. In order to remain IRS-compliant, we only give to appropriate 501(c)(3) and legally equivalent organizations like churches.
  3. Do you buy or accept tickets to events?No, we do not, as a foundation, buy tickets or accept free tickets to events (e.g. fundraisers, performances, dinners, receptions). If you would like to invite board members to your event, please feel free to send along both the invitation and information about how they might purchase tickets on their own.
  4. How much does the foundation give out in grants each year?It varies, but an approximate total of $400,000 for 2020.
  5. How many organizations or projects does the foundation support through grants each year?It varies, but usually between twenty and thirty organizations or projects are supported each year.
  6. Is the foundation open to partnerships and collaborations with other foundations, organizations, or businesses?Yes, very much so. Please see our collaboration page for more details about our openness to partnerships and coalition-building


Grant Eligibility:

  1. Do you have a maximum amount for the grants you offer?No, we do not have a set maximum for our grants. We do not ordinarily provide grants for more than $20,000, but we would much prefer budgets use real, well-researched numbers that align with a compelling project or program. So, if it costs $15,725.00 or $23,453.72 to bring your plan to life, please don’t artificially inflate or chop up your budget to fit it into a $20,000 box.
  2. Do you have a minimum amount for the grants you offer?No, certainly not. We are especially interested in applications and requests for small, but highly targeted grants (e.g. an unexpected furnace repair, a gap in existing funding for a summer math program, winter supplies for an influx of homeless or shelter-based families). Our Rapid Response Grant process is particularly well-suited to smaller grants that address urgent organizational and community needs.
  3. Do you offer multi-year grants?We do not ordinarily offer multi-year grants, especially for organizations and projects that are new to us. Returning applicants are welcome to present their case for the importance of a commitment to multi-year support, but should keep in mind that most positive outcomes will likely be a one-year grant with an invitation to apply again for that same program the following year.
  4. Do you accept grant applications for operating expenses?Yes, absolutely! If your organization is doing quality work in areas and on issues we care about, you do not need to invent a new program to apply for our Rapid Response Grant. We are very open to supporting ongoing community work and understand that it is hard to help anyone if you can’t keep the lights on.
  5. How flexible are you about the geographic focus of the grants you fund?We primarily fund organizations working to address community needs in: the Great Lakes Bay and Washtenaw County regions of Michigan; Lake County, Chicago, and the Quad Cities in Illinois/Iowa; and Memphis, Jackson, and surrounds in Tennessee. We do, however, make grants outside those areas when a program or project is especially compelling and well-aligned with our topics of interest and/or desire to improve the life circumstances of people of color, people with disabilities, and veterans. Our list of past grant recipients includes some examples.
  6. How flexible are you about the topical focus of the grants you fund?Our six key issues (education/literacy, veteran support, emergency relief/hardship, organizational viability/capacity building, faith-based community outreach, and arts/culture) are a good guide to the kinds of programs and projects that will be most compelling to our board, but they are also fairly inclusive categories, encompassing the work of a wide variety of organizations. We are, however, also highly committed to our key localities and to improving the life circumstances of people of color, people with disabilities, and veterans, so if an application offers significant gains or a unique approach to less easily categorized issues in those communities and groups, it may still find support here.
  7. Do you support political organizations?No, we do not, as a foundation, support any political organizations and we are not involved in any form of political advocacy. Any involvement by members of the board in political activities is strictly a part of their individual private lives and does not bear any relevance to the workings of the foundation itself.


Letters of Inquiry:

  1. Do you accept or require letters of inquiry (LOI)?We do NOT require letters of inquiry. Our Rapid Response Grant process is open to any eligible organization that wants to apply.


Grant Applications:

  1. When you say that you accept applications on a “ROLLING” basis, what does that mean?The board meets at varied intervals throughout our grant application cycle, to review new applications and to address other pressing business. In practical terms, this means that if we receive quality applications early in our grant cycle (which we often do!), we have fewer and fewer resources to share toward the end of our grant cycle. Due to the tendency among many applicants to wait until closer to the final deadline to turn things in, the end of our grant cycle is, therefore, also the period during which we are reviewing the largest cluster of applications, intensifying the competition. For these reasons, we have worked to ensure our application is streamlined rather than cumbersome and we strongly recommend that serious applicants complete and submit their application early during our grant cycle. The benefits of an early application always outweigh the risks.
  2. Do you accept phone calls, for clarification purposes or to check the status of an application?No, not usually; we prefer to communicate via e-mail, so that both parties maintain a record of what was said and so that questions can be answered in a timely manner, rather than end up caught in a game of phone tag. As we acknowledge the receipt of the grant application we discourage additional e-mails regarding the status of your application as it delays our process.  Once the receipt is provided – we ask that you please wait (no longer than 120  days) to learn if your request was chosen for funding.
  3. Do you have a grant renewal process for previously funded organizations and projects?No, we do not currently have a specific grant renewal process. Our one-year grants do not confer any future grant obligations on our part, but we certainly like programs that work well and organizations that communicate about that work regularly. So, while there isn’t a specific renewal process, we encourage successful grantees to submit honest and timely reports and to apply again in future years.
  4. Do you have a preferred budget format?No, we encourage applicants to use whatever budget format allows them to present their numbers with visual and mathematical clarity. Simple is just fine.
  5. Why do you ask for a prioritized list of budget items in addition to the budget itself?Many applications are compelling in one way or another, but we do not have infinite resources and we may not feel that all aspects of an application align with the mission of the foundation. A prioritized list of budget items helps us to determine whether or not – and in what way – we might be able to provide an applicant with partial funding.
  6. How quickly will we hear a determination on our grant application?Four months or less – from our receipt of your application.
  7. Do you require site visits or interviews?No, we do not require site visits or interviews, either with applicants or with organizations we choose to fund, however, we may decide to visit at some point. We enact due diligence in other ways and trust our grantees to follow through with their work to the best of their ability – without our interference. If you would like us to come to your space or otherwise meet with you for a specific reason, we would consider the request, but it is unlikely to affect our grantmaking decisions any more than high quality applications, reports, or other relevant communications.
  8. Do you provide feedback on grant applications, especially those that were rejected?If asked, we are willing to provide feedback on submitted applications, whether they were accepted or rejected, and we have worked with some organizations to revise and resubmit applications when needed. But we do not provide feedback on drafts of applications. During grant season, our board convenes primarily to review and determine the standing of recently submitted applications. Drafts would be low priority items on any such agenda. So, please, just go ahead and officially submit your best effort. It is a much better use of your time.


Expectations for Grantees:

  1. If awarded a grant, how quickly will the check arrive?We send the notification letter via e-mail first, but within a few days a hardcopy of that letter should arrive, accompanied by the check. We ask grantees to send us a quick e-mail to let us know they received it.
  2. Would you like us to send you a plaque or other keepsake to show our gratitude?No, we do not accept plaques, certificates, or any other decorative forms of recognition. While we understand the desire of recipients to acknowledge generous donations, we feel very strongly that every dollar possible should be put toward furthering your organization’s programmatic goals. So, we appreciate your continued good works and communications about such efforts far more than any mementos.
  3. Do you require progress reports from your grantees?Yes, we do. We ask for a mid-year progress report and a final report at the end of the grant year. If these reports are not provided in a timely manner (or at all), it will negatively affect the board’s perception of the organization in future. Likewise, while we don’t expect more than these two reports specifically for us, we greatly appreciate receiving newsletters, event announcements, general annual reports, and any other relevant public communications throughout the year. In regards to the mid-year and final reports, it might be worthwhile to refer back to your application. Think about how the grant funds have been used, if anything has changed, how you are tracking your progress, what challenges have presented themselves, and in what ways you are achieving your goals or, in fact, realizing that you are not achieving your goals. Be specific, give examples, and never be afraid to share your struggles or learning experiences. Sometimes programs don’t work the way we intended, but acknowledging that and taking time to think about possible alternatives and next steps is crucial.
  4. Is there a set format for grantees’ applications, mid-year or final reports?No.  Currently, there is no set format these reports, but quality over quantity certainly applies here.  Clear, concisely stated concrete details (e.g. a 2 page letter with a relevant chart) will always be preferred over vague or superfluous information.  And although there are no formal forms/formats, we prefer to receive applications, mid-year and final reports via e-mail: Info@JenkinsStandInTheGap.org (PDF. or DOC. attachments are acceptable).Each open application period we look forward to reviewing applications which include: a description of your organization, proof of your 501(c)3 status or its equivalence, a 2-5 page narrative of the project or need for which the application is being made, the priorities of the project segments or facets and the organization’s budget with a prioritized project budget which covers your actual request.(This is especially important as while we may not be able to fund your entire program, we may be able to assist with a particular needful element that aligns with our mission.) Lastly, we would like your 2-5 page description of your project to address SIX key areas:
    1.) What community concerns are you trying to address?
    2.) How do you plan to address said concerns?
    3.) When and over what time period will you execute your plan?
    4.) How will you evaluate your plans success or lack thereof?
    5.) A list of the funders from which you have requested or received funds.
    6.) How did you hear about us?
  5. What if, after receiving a grant, it turns out that we don’t need the full amount to complete the project or program it was meant to support? Can we use those funds for something else?Grant funds from this foundation are designated solely for the purposes of the programs or projects presented in the application and outlined in the acceptance letter. If there are funds leftover, however, you will not be punished for accomplishing your work well within budget. We understand that nonprofit organizations are often strapped for financial support. So, if you are in this situation, we just ask that you please send us an e-mail, explaining the situation and clearly stating what your preferred new use for the funds would be. We will review your request as soon as we can and get back to you about whether or not we are comfortable with that usage.
  6. Can grantees seek guidance or assistance from the foundation in non-monetary ways?Grantees are always welcome to reach out to the foundation with questions or current challenges or anything else and we will try to help in whatever way we reasonably can. Our board members all have distinct skill sets, areas of expertise and experience, and the foundation itself has access to certain networks and other non-monetary resources that might be beneficial. We will do our best to be effective partners as grantees pursue their goals.