Open Door Grants FAQs

Looking to learn more about the Open Door Grants program?

Watch the recording of the January 10 webinar for an overview of the Open Door Grant program followed by a Q&A session or, if you have a quick question about the program, see our frequently asked questions below.
Open Door Grants webinar

Click the links below to view the answers to FAQs.


Application Process:

Review Process and Applicant Notifications:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who can apply for a Boston Foundation Open Door Grant?
A: Any nonprofit organization that primarily serves people in the Foundation’s catchment area and is not directly aligned with the strategies, goals and approaches pursued through our five impact areas.  Both existing and new/start-up organizations are eligible to apply.

Q: Do I need to speak with someone about my intent to apply?
A: A pre-conversation is not necessary to apply for an Open Door Grant; however, if you have questions please email TncEqvvNOItnVIyE7IqBPq55XytsXWUMsTz+DX/Ze4GZb7GH4Xg9OioPSLB6ApEvu2LkiUdGA4+FBPENGNEIJLMlxUEsMEnkhMQHcr682yt7ubLqZg/QNm7dyPACGiAeyY3avgT6UxupFHGK013SMvkE9lUg98JC2lhz0iem4G8= and a member of our grants management staff will be happy to assist you.

Q: Do we have to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit?
A: Yes, the Foundation awards grants only to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.  If you have not yet received this designation from the IRS, you may be able to use a fiscal sponsor.  However, you are responsible for having that relationship in place before submitting your application.

Q: I’m not sure if my project is eligible. How can I find out if I should apply for an Open Door Grant?
A: First, read through the eligibility criteria. If you still have questions, please email TncEqvvNOItnVIyE7IqBPq55XytsXWUMsTz+DX/Ze4GZb7GH4Xg9OioPSLB6ApEvu2LkiUdGA4+FBPENGNEIJLMlxUEsMEnkhMQHcr682yt7ubLqZg/QNm7dyPACGiAeyY3avgT6UxupFHGK013SMvkE9lUg98JC2lhz0iem4G8=.

Q: I have a collaborative program that I would like to undertake with a fellow nonprofit organization.  Is that eligible?
A: Absolutely. The Foundation encourages collaboration.  One organization should submit the application as the lead organization on behalf of the collaborative partners.

Q: In the past, I’ve received support from the Foundation through either a Special Opportunity grant, the Vision Fund, the Food and Fuel Fund, or an Elder Funds grant—is that still an option?
A: No. Special Opportunity, Vision Fund, Food and Fuel Fund, and Elder Funds grant making no longer exist as individual grant opportunities.  However, we continue to consider work that would have been supported through any of these grant-making programs through Open Door Grants.

Q:  I’m having technical difficulties with the application.  What should I do?
A: Check your browser. We encourage you to use Internet Explorer when filling out online applications or reports.

Also, be sure to close your internet browser between sessions or it will open a new, blank form rather than your saved form. In order to return to an in progress application, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click “save and return later.” This should bring you to the main application portal with a full listing of your saved applications.

If you continue to encounter technical difficulties, email TncEqvvNOItnVIyE7IqBPq55XytsXWUMsTz+DX/Ze4GZb7GH4Xg9OioPSLB6ApEvu2LkiUdGA4+FBPENGNEIJLMlxUEsMEnkhMQHcr682yt7ubLqZg/QNm7dyPACGiAeyY3avgT6UxupFHGK013SMvkE9lUg98JC2lhz0iem4G8= and a member of our team can assist you.

Q: What are the application deadlines for Open Door Grants?
A: The Foundation accepts applications biannually for Open Door Grants. The upcoming application deadlines are August 1, 2018 and February 1, 2019.

Q: How many applications can we submit?
A: The Foundation will accept one application from an organization in a twelve-month period.

However, if you applied for an Open Door Grant between June 2017 and March 2018, please reference the below eligibility guidelines to learn the best date to reapply.

Original Application Submitted

New Eligible Application Deadline

June 1, 2017

August 1, 2018

September 1, 2017

August 1, 2018

December 1, 2017

February 1, 2019

March 1, 2018

February 1, 2019

If you have any questions regarding when your organization is eligible to resubmit an application for funding, please email us and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.

Q: I am a current Open Door Grants grantee. How do I apply for a second year of funding?
A: Current grantees who have been supported for only one year may reapply for support 12 months after their initial application. To apply for a second year of funding, please complete the online renewal application form. Please also confirm that select fields in your Giving Common profile are up to date, by emailing Giving Common staff.

Given the new biannual decision rounds, the eligibility dates for renewal applications are listed below. If you have any questions regarding when your organization is eligible to apply for a second year of funding, please email us and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.

Year 1 Application Submitted

Renewal Application Deadline

June 1, 2017

August 1, 2018

September 1, 2017

August 1, 2018

December 1, 2017

February 1, 2019

March 1, 2018

February 1, 2019

Please note that you may only apply for renewal funding if your organization is applying for the same project/work as your original funded application.

Q: Can I submit a request for multiple years of support?
A: No. Open Door Grants are provided for one year of support at a time.  We will, however, consider a second-year application.  The limit for consecutive annual support is two years in a row; after which, an organization is required to wait 12 months following the completion of their second year grant period before applying again for additional support. Organizations whose applications are denied funding must also wait 12 months before applying again for Open Door Grants. There is no limit to the total number of Open Door Grants an organization can receive.

Q: Am I allowed to apply for overhead and/or administrative costs related to my project?
A: Yes.  When constructing your application budget, the Foundation encourages you to apply for the true costs associated with your application, including overhead and/or administrative costs. Please be aware that the Foundation may partially fund your request. Partially funded amounts are determined by the breakdown of your budget, so please be specific.

Q: Is it required to create a Giving Common profile to apply for an Open Door Grant?
A: Applicants to the Foundation’s Open Door Grant Program are required to complete select fields, but are not required to complete a full Giving Common profile. Organizations with existing Giving Common profiles must verify with Giving Common staff that the select fields are up-to-date prior to the application deadline.  Applications will not be considered without completing the select fields by the ODG application deadline.

To request a profile, please fill out this form. Giving Common staff can support you throughout the process via email and by phone (617-338-1623).

Q: Can a staff member review a draft of my application prior to submission?
Unfortunately we are not able to review draft applications before they are submitted. While we understand the value in receiving early feedback about an application, due to capacity constraints we are not able to offer this assistance to all applicants. However, if you need assistance with the application, you are welcome to reach out to us via email and we are happy to help resolve any questions.

Q: What is the likelihood my organization will be selected for funding?
A: Due to the open, responsive nature of the program, Open Door Grants is very competitive and demand far outpaces available resources. In the first two years of the program, 21% of applicants received a grant. You can learn more about our staff’s reflections on the program’s previous year of grant making by reading our blog post

Q: What are some of the evaluation criteria the Foundation uses to review applications?
A: This document outlines some of the considerations undertaken when reviewing applications. In addition to these criteria, the Foundation aims to maintain a diverse funding portfolio and considers a variety of other factors such as commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, budget size, geographic area served, service population and mission when determining which applicants are selected for investment.

Q: Will I meet with someone from the Foundation or have a site visit about my application?
A: A site visit or meeting is not required for consideration. However, a member of our grant review team may reach out to your organization to request a phone call or a site visit in the event he/she/they have additional questions about your application.

Q: I submitted a proposal. How and when should I hear back about whether or not it was funded?
A: All applicants will be notified via email from TncEqvvNOItnVIyE7IqBPq55XytsXWUMsTz+DX/Ze4GZb7GH4Xg9OioPSLB6ApEvu2LkiUdGA4+FBPENGNEIJLMlxUEsMEnkhMQHcr682yt7ubLqZg/QNm7dyPACGiAeyY3avgT6UxupFHGK013SMvkE9lUg98JC2lhz0iem4G8=, following the board meeting dates listed below.

Application Deadline

Applicants Notified (via email)

August 1, 2018

Mid- December 2018

February 1, 2019

Mid- June 2019

Q: Where can I find out about past Open Door Grant grantees?
A: Open Door Grants grantees span a diversity of budget sizes, geographies, missions and populations served. To learn more about our past grantees, please see the following: