FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Grant Writing Tips

Click here for tips for writing LOIs and applications.

 

Application & Process

 

How do I apply for a grant from the Foundation?

Our entire application process is online. Create an online account here. See key deadlines for the next open grant cycle. 

 

What should I do if I misplace my password information?

If you created an account in the past but cannot recall the password, you can reset it by clicking on the “Forgot your Password?” link on our online login page.

 

Can I submit an application via regular mail?

All grant requests must be submitted online. If this creates a significant obstacle, please contact the Cullen Foundation. 

 

What is your timeline for upcoming open grant cycles?

Cullen Foundation will run two open grant cycles each year. The winter grant cycle will begin in January and the summer grant cycle will begin in July. See key deadlines for the next open grant cycle.

 

Does Cullen Foundation fund multi-year grants?

Yes, grant requests may be made for one, two or three years of funding. However, multi-year requests are rare and are only approved when the Foundation believes that the nature of the request is essential to the project's success. See types of support for more information. 

 

What is the maximum amount that can be requested per year?

The maximum amount that can be requested is $100,000 per year. Awards for this amount are rare and only approved if the Foundation feels that there is a strategic alignment between our mission and your program's outcomes. 

 

How can I check on the status of my request?

The timeline of the request cycle, including the estimated notification period, is listed on the key deadlines page on our website.

 

Will I have an advantage by submitting a request sooner than the deadline date?

Submitting a request before the deadline will not guarantee approval but it is beneficial to applicants. LOI’s are accepted on a rolling basis so that once an LOI is approved, the applicant may proceed to the Full Application phase. This will allow the applicant more time to complete the Full Application. In addition, site visits are granted on a rolling basis so applicants who submit their application early will have preference for available site visits.

It's highly recommended that applications are submitted 2-3 days in advance of the deadline in order for staff to review and verfiy that the LOI/application is completed accurately and sufficiently. If information is missing and/or the submission is incomplete, it will be sent back to the applicant to be completed in its entirety prior to the 5pm deadline.

 

 

 

Eligibility & Requirements

 

Are there geographic restrictions for funding eligibility?

Erie County is our primary geographic service area with the following exceptions:

  • Education programs not located in Erie County must serve at least 80% Erie County residents.
  • Performing arts organizations not located in Erie County may explain how the funding will benefit residents of Erie County.

 

Does Cullen Foundation offer individual scholarships?

The only scholarships provided are through our Cullen Scholars program. See Cullen Scholars for more information on the program.

 

How important is it to have audited or reviewed financial statements?

The Cullen Foundation requires that your organization submit audited or reviewed financials prepared by a CPA as part of the Letter of Intent (LOI) and that statements are for the most recently completed fiscal year. Please click here for more information on types/levels of financial reviews (this link will take you to a brochure made available on the website of the American Institute of CPA's).

 

My organization has received support from Cullen in the past. Are we eligible to apply for another grant?

Grantees may not apply for additional grant funding from the Cullen Foundation until all previous grant requirements from the Foundation are fulfilled and the grant is closed.  A grant is closed when all funding is disbursed and all grant requirements, including the Final Report, are fully executed, complete and approved by our staff. The steps to close out a grant are detailed in the Reporting Guidelines which is also sent to grantees with the grant award letter.

Grantees are on an 18-month cycle. For example, if an organization applied in January 2016 and received a one-year grant award in June 2016, the next eligible grant cycle is Summer 2017 (July 2017). If an organization applied in July 2016 and received a one-year award in December 2016, the next eligible grant cycle is Winter 2018 (January 2018). To confirm your eligibility before you begin an LOI, contact Heather Jason at hjason@thecullenfoundation.org.

 

How long will it take my organization to complete your application?

A recent survey of our applicants revealed that 59% of applicant organizations spent 9 hours or more on our grant process (LOI, application and site visit). All respondents spent at least 6 hours.