Grant Application Process and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The following information may be helpful as you prepare to submit a grant application to the Foundation. Please review the Foundation's website and areas of interest. Your request should align with the Foundation’s interests and geographical focus.

When are the Foundation’s deadlines?

Applications may be submitted at any time. Trustees typically meet quarterly to consider grant applications. To have your request considered before the end of a calendar year, we highly recommend submitting prior to September 1.

How much should I ask for?

Foundation staff strongly encourage nonprofits to consider their organizational budget and/or project budget, support from other donors, relationship with Foundation and Trustees, and grant history when determining a request amount.

Should I call or meet with the Foundation before submitting a grant application?

Due to the large number of applications the Foundation receives, staff are unable to meet with every potential applicant to review requests prior to submission. If you have specific questions, call 616.643.4700 or email grantsupport@dvfoundations.org.

Eligibility

Charitable organizations that have met the IRS 501(c)(3) requirements, as well as churches and government entities, are eligible to apply to the Foundation.

We have not received our 501(c)(3) ruling. Can we use a fiscal sponsor?

The Foundation does not make pass-through grants to one organization for use by another organization unless a formal relationship has been established between the two organizations that meets the IRS approved guidelines.

May a coalition apply to the Foundation?

Yes, the Foundation respects efforts of organizations working together. The coalition will need to identify a fiscal sponsor, a nonprofit that will serve in a policy-setting role and be responsible for fiscal management and reporting related to the project. The fiscal sponsor should be the applicant and would be the recipient of the grant if one is awarded.

Online Application

How do I apply?

The Foundation accepts grant applications via its online Grant Application Portal. If you have any problems with the portal, please email grantsupport@dvfoundations.org.

  1. Click Apply on the Foundation’s website, then click Create Login Account.
  2. Select organization type: Nonprofit, Church, or Government/Public Sector Agency.
  3. If your organization has received a grant in the past and you are registering as a new user, your completed organization profile will appear to select.
  4. Nonprofits are required to locate their organization by clicking Search the IRS Database.
    1. If you are applying as a church without a 501(c)(3) status, please use the New Organization or Church Registration Form link.
  5. Enter your name and email address and click Submit to register as a new user. Use the link from the email you receive to activate your account and set up a password.
  6. Finalize your Organization Profile and Contact Profile to receive access to a grant application.
  7. To begin a new grant application, click the Available Grant Applications icon.
  8. To submit an application, click the Submit button at the bottom of the application.
  9. The Dashboard describes the status of your applications. Application statuses include Draft, Submitted, Under Review by Trustees, Approved, and Declined.

Returning to an unfinished application:

Log in to the Grant Application Portal and open your application draft, located under My Applications on the Dashboard.

Attaching supporting documents to my online application:

In the application, under Additional Documents, click the Upload button to attach other documentation that will further support your request. (e.g., annual report, campaign brochure, feasibility study, current strategic plan).

How do I know if my grant application was received by the Foundation?

You will receive an email confirmation affirming your application was received by the Foundation.

Problems using the Grant Application Portal? Please contact the Foundation at 616.643.4700 or grantsupport@dvfoundations.org.

Application Content

Cover letter to Trustees:

In the online application, you will be invited to write a personal cover letter to the Foundation’s Trustees. This is an opportunity to share the critical nature of your request and reconnect if you have a personal relationship.

What does the Foundation mean when it asks for measurable outcomes?

Outcomes show achievements toward the organization’s mission and objectives. The Foundation is interested in clear, concise, and quantifiable metrics that demonstrate change and improvement have resulted from the applicant organization’s unique contribution and mission delivery.

Please share the metrics your leadership uses to measure progress and track its success. Rather than focusing on expected future outcomes, please include present outcomes.

Grant Decisions & Reapplying

When and how will grant applicants be notified of the Trustees’ decisions?

Generally, the Foundation notifies applicants in writing within two or three weeks of the Trustees’ decision.

How often can I apply for a grant?

Nonprofits may submit one application for general operating, capital campaign, or program/project support once per calendar year. The Foundation may consider concurrent general operating and capital campaign requests. You are encouraged to contact the Foundation at 616.643.4700 or info@dvfoundations.org to discuss concurrent requests. Event sponsorships will be considered in addition to the operating requests; however, only one event will be considered annually.

If a grant application is not approved, can we apply again?

If your application was not approved, you may apply again in the next calendar year. However, if your organization or program has not changed, it is unlikely a future grant application will be approved.

If a grant application is approved, can we apply again?

Organizations are eligible to reapply when their current grant term ends—typically 12 months or the current calendar year. Most organizations are eligible to reapply the following calendar year.

Last year we applied for a two-year grant but received a one-year grant. Will our application automatically be reviewed again this year?

No, the organization must submit a new online application, including all required materials.

Problems using the Grant Application Portal? Please contact the Foundation at 616.643.4700 or grantsupport@dvfoundations.org.