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FAQ: African American Unity Fund

What resources are available to help prepare a strong grant proposal?

To enhance your grant proposal, we offer personalized, one-on-one coaching sessions with Deborah Bunting. After submitting a draft of your proposal in Submittable, our online grant portal, you can schedule a coaching session to address specific areas and receive guidance tailored to your needs. Come prepared with questions to make the most of this opportunity.

How much detail do I need to provide in the application draft before a coaching session?

We recommend providing as much information as possible to get the most out of your coaching session. However, if for example, you only want to discuss the budget portion—make sure to complete the budget narrative questions and fill out the budget matrix. You can use an asterisk (*) in required fields you plan to revisit.

When must our grant program conclude or funding be used?

All grant funds must be used in the calendar year they were awarded—so by December 31, 2024. If there is a situation that may impact that timeline, please proactively communicate with the program manager well in advance of any application or reporting deadlines.

How will my proposal be reviewed and scored?

Proposals are scored individually by each committee member; scores are then averaged to get a slate of organizations sorted by score. The committee convenes to discuss all the applications and determine which proposals will receive funding. The 2024 African American Unity Fund rubric asks committee members to score based on the strength of the proposal, budget feasibility, and community engagement. The rubric is subject to change annually.

Can I apply to more than one Community Interest Fund grant program?

Yes, eligible organizations that meet the program requirements may apply to more than one program. If your organization is submitting requests to different programs for the same project, it is most beneficial to state clearly that you are applying to another Community Interest Fund program, what amount you are requesting from each program, and how funds will be used. If your organization is applying to another Community Interest Fund program for a different project, no additional information is needed.

If my proposal is not funded, will I receive feedback?

If your organization’s proposal is not selected for funding, you will have the opportunity to schedule a call to discuss the application and to receive any feedback from the committee regarding why it was not selected and suggestions to make the proposal stronger in the future. There are situations in which great proposals do not get funding because of limited award dollars.

Is the committee looking for established or new organizations and programs?

Both. The intent of Community Interest Funds is to invest in small, emerging, and grassroots organizations that often do not have the same access to resources as larger organizations. The committee seeks established programs and organizations as well as new, innovative ideas.

Who is eligible to apply?

Any eligible 501(c)(3) organization can apply for this grant program. If your organization does not have its 501(c)(3) status from the IRS, you will need a fiscal agent to be eligible to apply. A fiscal agent is an established IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that agrees to accept donations on behalf of a group that does not have IRS tax exemption.

What is the process of using a 501(c)(3) as a fiscal agent?

Your program or organization would need to find a suitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit to work with and determine if there will be any administrative fees, etc. In the application, you will enter the fiscal agent’s tax ID and contact information in the specified fields. All other application fields should refer to the applicant organization—including the operating and project budgets.

Is there an organizational operating budget limit?

Yes, the organization’s annual operating budget may not exceed $500,000.


Questions? We’re here to help.
Dasia Horne

Senior Program Manager

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