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Grant FAQs
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1. Who decides what organizations receive a grant? The Grants Committee reviews all the applications and then makes a recommendation on funding to the WCMA Board of Directors. The WCMA Board either approves the recommendations, or if they choose, makes modifications to the grant amounts.

2. What does the committee look at when it evaluates an application? There are several standards that the committee uses to evaluate an application. First we ensure that it is a local 501(c)(3) organization and that the organization meets all the eligibility requirements in our guidelines. We also take into consideration whether any of the funding restrictions that are listed in the guidelines apply to the organization. Next we look at who, and how many, individuals in Western North Carolina will be impacted by the program. If an organization has received a WCMA grant in the prior year, the committee may also take into account the organizations performance executing the previous year’s grant as well as the organization’s responsiveness to WCMA requests such as participating in the annual charity showcase, submission of a progress report in August and submission of photos, videos or media recognition of the WCMS funded project. And finally, we look at how active the sponsor is with the organization; we want our dollars to not only support the organization, but the volunteering member, as well. At the end of the evaluation process, the Committee prioritizes the grants and develops a consensus on final funding recommendations consistent with available funds. They also review the total funding allocation for each focus area to assure the distribution is reasonably close to members priorities as specified in the most recent member survey.

3. How many applications can I submit? We will most likely not have enough funds every year to fully satisfy all requests. Therefore, we ask that members use some discretion in submitting multiple applications. An individual may sponsor multiple grant requests as long as they are an ACTIVE volunteer with each organization. A single organization may submit multiple grant requests for separate projects or package them as a single request but the total grant amount awarded per organization cannot exceed the WCMA grant maximum limit. For this purpose, an organization will be defined by its Employer Identification Number (EIN), i.e. all entities with the same EIN will be treated as a single organization.

4. Does an application have to be for a specific project? The more specific the project or program, the better. This is because it is important for the committee to understand exactly how our dollars will be used and to evaluate how many people will be impacted by our donation. If you would like to sponsor an organization, you should clearly define how the money would be spent, either for a specific project or for a specific program.

5. What is considered active involvement with an organization? There are a variety of ways a member can be active within an organization. A member can serve on a board, serve on a committee, or volunteer their time with the organization. Financially supporting a charity without volunteering in some capacity with the organization does not constitute member involvement. Also, a paid employee of an organization is ineligible to act as a sponsor. 

6. Do all grant requests receive at least partial funding? No. Applicants that do not meet our eligibility requirements will not be considered. However, when a grant request meets all of our criteria, every effort will be made to provide at least partial funding.

7. Why does an organization get funded one year and not the next? It depends upon the project, the amount of funds available, and the number and quality of other grant submissions in any given year.

8. Can I submit a grant request electronically? Yes. The form that is filled out by the sponsor and the form that is filled out by the organization do not need to be returned together as long as they are both submitted by the deadline. Both forms can be found on the website.

9. How and when are we notified of the results of our submission? Members will be notified and checks will be cut by the end of the calendar year. We encourage sponsors to personally deliver the checks to their organization.

10. Can I submit an application on behalf of my church or synagogue? The committee will only consider a request on behalf of a religious institution if it is for a specific outreach program that does not discriminate on the basis of religion or promote specific religious beliefs. For example, we would consider funding a local soup kitchen run by a church if it is open to all members of the community.

11. Can I submit an application for a political candidate or action group? No, the committee will not consider a request for a political candidate or action group. We want our funds to be applied toward causes that the entire membership can support, such as social services. Also, as a 501(c)(3), we are not allowed to support political candidates or action groups.

12. What are capital improvements? This refers to enhancements to the “brick and mortar” of an organization, i.e., an addition to a building. Capital improvements are on our list of potential funding restrictions as stated in the guidelines.