- What areas do you serve?
- What are your funding priorities?
- What is the difference between advocacy and lobbying?
- Is there a dollar limit to how much an applicant may request?
- Where can I find templates for the required proposal attachments?
- What is the difference between letters of commitment and letters of support?
- Our organization has a diversity statement that is more than a page long. Will this be included in the 12-page limit?
- What kind of information should I provide in the diversity section?
- What is a fiscal agent or fiscal sponsor?
- Who is eligible to serve as a fiscal agent or sponsor?
- When is an organization required to use a fiscal agent?
- If my organization needs a fiscal sponsor, how do I find one?
- What steps should an organization take before agreeing to serve as a fiscal sponsor for an HCF grantee?
- Will a Certificate of Corporate Good Standing and/or an Articles of Incorporation satisfy the Certificate of Incorporation Requirement?
- Do governmental organizations have to submit IRS Letters of Determination, IRS 990s, financial audits, or board of directors rosters?
- For governmental organizations, what is the enabling statutes document and where can I find it?
- How can small agencies request grant writing/technical assistance?
- Our organization’s operating budget is an extremely large file. Do you want us to submit all of it, or just the portion that relates to our program?
What areas do you serve?
HCF serves Kansas City, Missouri, including portions of Clay and Platte counties; Cass, Lafayette, and Jackson counties in Missouri; and Allen, Johnson, and Wyandotte counties in Kansas.
What is the difference between advocacy and lobbying?
Advocacy is the process of stakeholders making their voices heard on issues that affect their lives and the lives of others at the local, state and national level. It also means helping policy makers find specific solutions to persistent problems. Examples of advocacy include:
Telling legislators how a state or federal grant your organization received has helped your constituents.
Educating a legislator about the effects of a policy.
Inviting a legislator to visit your organization so that he/she may see firsthand how federal or state funding or policy affects day-to-day operations and the difference it makes.
Providing technical assistance or advice to a legislative body or committee in response to a written request.
Making available nonpartisan analysis, study or research.
Providing examinations and discussions of broad, social, economic and similar problems.
Communicating with a legislative body regarding matters that might affect the existence of the organization, its powers and duties, its tax-exempt status, or the deduction of contributions to the organization.
Updating the members of your own organization on the status of legislation, without a call to action.
Lobbying includes activities that directly support of oppose a specific piece of legislation. There are strict rules about what portion of a budget can go toward these activities. There are also prohibitions on the use of federal funds. Examples of lobbying include:
Asking your legislators to vote for or against, or amend, introduced legislation.
Emailing a “call to action” to your members encouraging them to contact their legislators in support of action on introduced legislation or pending regulations.
Preparing materials or organizing events in support of lobbying activities.
For more information, see the National Council on Aging’s guidance on non-profit activities, or contact HCF Program Officer Jessica Hembree at (816) 241-7006, ext. 123.
When determining how much to request for your program:
- HCF prefers that applicants do not request more than 50% of their organization’s annual budget, and
- HCF prefers that applicants do not request more than 75% of a total project cost.
What is the difference between letters of commitment and letters of support?
Each organization that will receive a portion of the grant funds must provide a letter of commitment on the organization’s official letterhead. Letters of support are not required but may be used to strengthen a proposal.
Letter of Commitment
A letter of commitment must state the organization’s commitment to the project, indicate the specific role it will fulfill, and state its share of the grant proceeds. Note: In-kind resources also require a letter of commitment (e.g. the value — salary and benefit expense — of staff time contributed to the project, the value of office space, equipment or training that is donated, or the value of volunteer time or other forms of direct or indirect support such as the cost of utilities and supplies.
Letter of Support
Letters of support should be from entities that would be affected by the program for which you are requesting funding. We recommend that applicants submit no more than eight letters of support, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Our organization has a diversity statement that is more than a page long. Will this be included in the 12-page limit?
If you include your organization’s diversity statement as an appendix, it will not count toward the 12-page limit; however, attaching your organization’s diversity statement is not a substitute for completing the diversity section of the application. You will still be required to explain specifically how your organization’s mission, governance, staffing and operations reflect a commitment to diversity under the section entitled “Diversity” in your narrative proposal, particularly in relation to the project/program for which you are requesting funding.
What kind of information should I provide in the diversity section?
Grant reviewers are very interested in knowing how your organization’s mission, governance, staffing and operations reflect a commitment to diversity. Do the demographics of your staff members working on this project reflect the demographics of the clients you are serving or who you hope to serve? If your staff or board is not diverse in terms of ethnicity and gender, we recommend using this section to explain why, and to indicate how your organization plans to improve upon that in the future if necessary.
Many applicants also attach their organization’s diversity policy as an appendix to their application to help address this section. Please note that while your organization’s diversity policy will not be included in the page count of your application, it should not be submitted in place of this section, but in addition to it.
What is a fiscal agent or fiscal sponsor?
For HCF purposes, a fiscal agent or fiscal sponsor is an organization that receives, disburses and accounts for grant funds on behalf of another organization. Fiscal agents assume the accounting and financial reporting responsibility for grant funds. As such, they receive grant payments on behalf of, and disburse funds to, the grantee. They also record and document grant-related transactions according to generally accepted accounting principles.
Who is eligible to serve as a fiscal agent or sponsor?
A fiscal agent (1) must be a nonprofit organization, (2) must be designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(1), 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6) or 501(c)(9) designation, and (3) must have annual financial audits.
When is an organization required to use a fiscal agent?
If HCF awards a grant to an organization that meets either condition below, the applicant organization must receive its grant funding through a fiscal agent/sponsor:
If the grantee organization has applied for a 501(c)(1), 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6) or 501(c)(9) designation, but has not yet officially received that designation from the IRS; or
- If the grantee organization’s financial statements are not audited.
If my organization needs a fiscal sponsor, how do I find one?
HCF has an agreement with Support Kansas City, Inc. (SKC), a nonprofit outsourcing firm, to provide fiscal agent services for HCF grantees. HCF covers the cost of the services and refers applicants to SKC once they have a pending grant award. SKC reviews the applicants’ financial record-keeping procedures to determine whether the firm can expect timely, accurate and appropriate information about grant expenditures from the grantee.
Applicants may also pursue other sources for these services. Sometimes an affiliate organization of the applicant can serve as a fiscal agent. Occasionally small, grassroots organizations find a fiscal sponsor among the larger partner organizations that they work with. The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation also provides fee-based fiscal agent services.
What steps should an organization take before agreeing to serve as a fiscal sponsor for an HCF grantee?
The organization should make sure it meets HCF eligibility requirements for fiscal sponsor organizations:
- Assess the grantee organization’s financial records and practices to ensure that the grantee can provide the fiscal sponsor with timely, accurate information supported by appropriate documentation (payroll records, receipts, invoices, etc.).
- Review the grantee’s pending grant agreement with HCF to learn what is expected of the grantee and funding and reporting schedules.
- Review HCF budget report forms to ensure that grant receipts and expenditures can be reported in the requested formats.
- Arrive at a clear, and preferably written, understanding with the grantee organization about each party’s rights and responsibilities.
Will a Certificate of Corporate Good Standing and/or an Articles of Incorporation satisfy the Certificate of Incorporation Requirement?
- Online application portion
- Proposal narrative
- Budget narrative
- Any setters of commitment/support
- Enabling statute
- Authorized budget
- List of elected/appointed officials (diversity information is encouraged, but not required)
For governmental organizations, what is the enabling statutes document and where can I find it?
This is the law passed to specify the name, purposes, functions, and powers of a governmental administrative agency. Most organizations have this document in their archives; it can also be found on the Secretary of State website for the state in which the organization is legally formed.
How can small agencies request grant writing/technical assistance?
HCF will pay for up to eight hours with a grant writing consultant for eligible applicants. Please contact Andres Dominguez at (816) 241-7006 or via email.
Our organization’s operating budget is an extremely large file. Do you want us to submit all of it, or just the portion that relates to our program?
For government organizations, cities, schools, hospitals and universities, the portion of the operating budget that pertains to your department is sufficient.