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Open Door Grants 2021-2022: Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about the Open Door Grants program and application process?

You have come to the right place. Check the Eligibility, Application, and Review Process and Application Notifications FAQs below.

Eligibility:

A pre-conversation is not necessary to apply for an Open Door Grant; however, if you have questions please email +n4fmp3FYJw4RazK85KU6R1C2OqYqAJjFe7Q1/7H/mN0kg6UuDxVOO9bSJdgbyS9jkH+gBYb/Z9pBvBAU8ZW1SPbKZPf+denu6lY00ch7jmNM3CzYDMUcJ8h0WT4O5M2eHF+SUpw2f9HlSzyCt3AmBXkxyfF5XXyjpGXumFBRsg= and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.

An eligible organization has a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit designation from the IRS or operates under the fiscal sponsorship of a tax-exempt nonprofit. If applying under a fiscal sponsor, your organization is responsible for having that relationship in place before applying and will be asked to attach a fiscal sponsorship letter with your application submission.

Absolutely. The Foundation encourages collaboration. One organization should submit the application as the lead organization on behalf of the collaborative partners. Should you have any questions about how to represent both organizations on the application, please reach out to +n4fmp3FYJw4RazK85KU6R1C2OqYqAJjFe7Q1/7H/mN0kg6UuDxVOO9bSJdgbyS9jkH+gBYb/Z9pBvBAU8ZW1SPbKZPf+denu6lY00ch7jmNM3CzYDMUcJ8h0WT4O5M2eHF+SUpw2f9HlSzyCt3AmBXkxyfF5XXyjpGXumFBRsg= and our team can help provide guidance.

Yes, but proposals for funding should serve communities primarily located within our catchment area. If your organization has statewide or national reach, we encourage you to focus your application on your work in the Boston Foundation’s catchment area specifically. 

The Foundation will also fund statewide advocacy or policy research when there is a strong connection with and influence on Greater Boston policy efforts.

Please see our impact areas webpage to help you in determining whether or not your work is better aligned with the current strategies one of our impact areas. We encourage you to reach out directly to a staff member in a relevant area should you have any questions. Should you have any remaining questions around alignment, our team is also happy to assist you at +n4fmp3FYJw4RazK85KU6R1C2OqYqAJjFe7Q1/7H/mN0kg6UuDxVOO9bSJdgbyS9jkH+gBYb/Z9pBvBAU8ZW1SPbKZPf+denu6lY00ch7jmNM3CzYDMUcJ8h0WT4O5M2eHF+SUpw2f9HlSzyCt3AmBXkxyfF5XXyjpGXumFBRsg=.

Applications:

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. If you're experiencing additional issues regarding accessing your saved application, your password, or attaching documents, please see Open Door Grants Application Troubleshooting for solutions. Should you have any further questions, our team is available to assist you at +n4fmp3FYJw4RazK85KU6R1C2OqYqAJjFe7Q1/7H/mN0kg6UuDxVOO9bSJdgbyS9jkH+gBYb/Z9pBvBAU8ZW1SPbKZPf+denu6lY00ch7jmNM3CzYDMUcJ8h0WT4O5M2eHF+SUpw2f9HlSzyCt3AmBXkxyfF5XXyjpGXumFBRsg=.

Applications for our Fall 2021 round are due on September 9, 2021; applications for our winter deadline will be due February 1, 2022.

The Open Door Grants program will accept one application from an organization per 12-month period. Organizations that act as fiscal sponsors are welcome to fiscally sponsor multiple applications and are also permitted to submit their own application once every 12 months. Should you have any questions regarding when your organization is eligible to re-submit an application for funding, please email +n4fmp3FYJw4RazK85KU6R1C2OqYqAJjFe7Q1/7H/mN0kg6UuDxVOO9bSJdgbyS9jkH+gBYb/Z9pBvBAU8ZW1SPbKZPf+denu6lY00ch7jmNM3CzYDMUcJ8h0WT4O5M2eHF+SUpw2f9HlSzyCt3AmBXkxyfF5XXyjpGXumFBRsg= and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.

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.

The organization demographics profile helps us learn about the individuals who work and volunteer with your organization. Demographic data is just one element of our grant review; please see our funding considerations or other key criteria in evaluating applications. The Demographics Form, admittedly imperfect, was heavily informed by the GuideStar and D5 Coalition framework, which was a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy and an opportunity to use data to inform our grantmaking. Please feel free to learn more about the D5 Coalition framework at this link - www.d5coalition.org.

Additional context and tips on data collection and the D5 Coalition are included for your reference on the second sheet of the application’s demographic attachment—labeled "More Info on Demographic Data." We encourage you to view the demographics portion of the application as a tool for sharing whatever data you are able to share, not a survey where you must answer every question, as we understand not every organization currently collects all of this information.

You will also have space on the application to share more about your organization’s connection to and reflection of the community served in the Organization Demographics narrative questions.

While the Open Door Grants team is unable to directly and proactively solicit TBF donors in regards to grant proposals, as we strive to balance both donor education and donor privacy, should a member of our Donor Services team approach us with a donor interested in your area of work, we would then be able to share your application. Our teams continue to collaborate on additional opportunities to elevate applications to our donor community.

Review Process and Applicant Notifications:

Due to the open, responsive nature of the program, Open Door Grants are very competitive, and demand far outpaces available resources. Most recently, in FY21, 14% of applicants received a grant. Given transition to two-year grant commitments, the program is likely to be as competitive, if not more competitive this year. We acknowledge the amount of time and effort it takes to complete an application, before deciding to apply, please review our eligibility requirements and funding considerations to determine if it is a right fit for your organization.

This funding considerations document outlines some of the considerations undertaken when reviewing applications. In utilizing a racial equity lens in our grantmaking, Open Door Grants are especially focused on supporting organizations whose leadership reflects the communities they serve, and organizations engaged in diversity, equity and inclusion practices, programs and/or initiatives. We aim to maintain a diverse funding portfolio and also consider a variety of additional factors when determining which applicants are selected for investment—including but not limited to: budget size, geographic area served, service population, and mission.

Please note funding considerations have been updated from previous years, if you have applied previously, please refer to this updated version.

Site visits are not a part of our review process—this is largely due to our team's capacity and inability to grant site visits to every applicant. That being said, a member of our grant review team may reach out to you via email or phone call should they have questions regarding your application.

Applicants who submitted a proposal for our Fall 2021 deadline will be notified in early January 2022 via email from +n4fmp3FYJw4RazK85KU6R1C2OqYqAJjFe7Q1/7H/mN0kg6UuDxVOO9bSJdgbyS9jkH+gBYb/Z9pBvBAU8ZW1SPbKZPf+denu6lY00ch7jmNM3CzYDMUcJ8h0WT4O5M2eHF+SUpw2f9HlSzyCt3AmBXkxyfF5XXyjpGXumFBRsg=.

For a list of our past grantees, please see links to our press releases below. Please note that as a responsive grantmaking program, Open Door funding priorities shift over time. Please refer to our eligibility requirements and funding considerations rather than past grantees when determining your organization's alignment with the program. If you have further questions about eligibility, our team will be happy to assist you at +n4fmp3FYJw4RazK85KU6R1C2OqYqAJjFe7Q1/7H/mN0kg6UuDxVOO9bSJdgbyS9jkH+gBYb/Z9pBvBAU8ZW1SPbKZPf+denu6lY00ch7jmNM3CzYDMUcJ8h0WT4O5M2eHF+SUpw2f9HlSzyCt3AmBXkxyfF5XXyjpGXumFBRsg=.