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Grant FAQ's


Do you have a question you don't see answered here? Or do you have a suggestion for a Frequently Asked Question we should add to this list? Email us at etf@etf.org or call us at (865) 524-1223, or toll free at (877) 524-1223.

How much does the Foundation grant each year to nonprofit organizations?
In 2016, the Foundation and its supporting organizations made $12.7 million in grants to hundreds of nonprofit organizations.

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I'm not a nonprofit organization; I'm just a person who needs some extra help. Can I apply for a grant?
The Foundation is prohibited by law from making grants to individuals, except in the case of scholarships. Scholarship awards are paid directly to the college/university for the benefit of the recipient. The Foundation only makes grants to qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations within our service area.

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I'm starting a small business – does the Foundation make grants or loans to help?
The Foundation is prohibited by law from making grants or loans to small businesses. All grants must be used for charitable purposes.

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What is a 501(c)(3)? How can I get one?
501(c)(3) refers to the specific section of the Internal Revenue Code that defines a nonprofit organization. For more information on the Code and obtaining a 501(c)(3) designation, contact the East Tennessee Foundation or Internal Revenue Service.

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What is your service area?
The Foundation only makes grants from its competitive grantmaking programs in the following 25 counties in East Tennessee: Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Loudon, McMinn, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi, Union, and Washington.

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My organization isn't located in your service area - can I still apply for a grant?
Mostly, no.  There are a very limited number of funds that focus on a specific field of interest or cause that award grants nationally.   We encourage you to visit the National Council on Foundations website to determine the community foundation serving your area.

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Do I apply for all grants using the online system?
Yes, all of our grants programs are only accepting online applications. 

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If I've applied for one of the Foundation's online grants in the past, do I use the same email address and password?
Any organization that applied in the past is active in the online application database.  You will need to use the email address and password that you last used.  If you do not have that information, you can easily retrieve that information.  On the logon page, click on "Forgot your Password?" which appears in blue ink.  Your password reminder will be sent to you after you enter your email address and click the "Send Reminder" button.

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Can I create more than one online account for my organization?
Please DO NOT create more than one account for your organization.  In other words, do not create more than one email address and password for your organization.

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The person who worked on/submitted our online application(s) is no longer with our organization - we do not have his/her email address and password.  Do we need to create a new account?
Please DO NOT create a new organizational account. Use the "Forgot your Password?" link in blue ink on the logon page to get started retrieving/editing your organizational information.  We recommend that organizations create their account using the primary staff person responsible for submitting applications and reports.

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If I submit more than one grant application, do I create a new account each time I apply?
NO. Your organizational account has been created once you entered your email address and password. You can use the same account every time you apply for one of our grants.

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Can I make changes to my online application before I submit it?
Yes, prior to submitting your application, you can edit your answers as often as you like.  However, once you submit your application, you cannot change your answers.

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For online applications, how do I upload required supplemental documents, such as financial information, list of Board members, and letters of support?
If the documents are already saved on your computer, you can click the "browse" button on the application and select the document to upload.  If you have access to a scanner, you can scan the document and then upload it.  In order for you to see that the documents have successfully uploaded, you must "save" your work..

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How do I upload documents if the documents are not saved on my computer and I don't have access to a scanner?
There is a tool called "Fax to File" that helps you convert documents from hard copy to a digital format to that they may be uploaded into the grant application.  Once you have signed in, select the "Fax to File" option on the left  hand menu, under the "Tools" heading.  Click on the "Fax to File" option and a new window will open that provides directions on how to use this tool.  You will need access to a fax machine. 

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Will I know if I have errors on my online application before I submit it?
Yes, you will receive an error message if a required question has not been answered or if you try to submit an incomplete application. Fields that are required are indicated with an asterisk "*".  However, there is no spell check feature, so please proof your answers for spelling and grammatical errors before you click on the "Submit" button.

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How can I apply for a grant from one of the Foundation's Regional Affiliates?
If you are a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization operating in the Foundation's 25-county service area, click here for a table which provides an overview of the Foundation's Affiliate Fund grantmaking programs.  Visit each Affiliate Fund page on this website for more details, including eligibility and deadline information.

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What does the Foundation NOT fund?
The Foundation generally does not fund requests from outside our service area, from non-qualified charities, or from individuals; or for ongoing operating budgets; capital and endowment-building campaigns; debt retirement; small businesses, business start-up or advertising.

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Can I fax or email my grant application?
The Foundation does not accept applications by fax or email.

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If my application is declined, can you tell me why?
When an application is declined, the Foundation welcomes applicants to call the program staff for feedback. Please remember, the Foundation's grants panels and staff review hundreds of applications each year. It is advised to contact the staff, regarding declined applications, soon after the denial letter is received. 

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Does the Foundation offer grant-writing assistance and/or workshops?
Applicant workshops are offered at no charge to assist with the preparation of proposals. Dates are posted on this website or you may call the Foundation to obtain more information.

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How and when will I be notified if I receive a grant? Can I call to follow up?
Final decisions are announced approximately six months after the application deadline. You will receive written notification. If additional information is needed during the screening and decision process, the Foundation staff or a member of the grants panel will contact you.

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Can I apply for more than one grant program at a time?
Applications may be submitted for multiple grantmaking programs, but only ONE application may be submitted by the same organization to a specific grant-making program. EXAMPLE: An organization may submit a request to the Arts Fund for East Tennessee AND the Youth Endowment Grants Program. However, one single organization may NOT submit two or more applications for the Arts Fund for East Tennessee OR two or more applications for the Youth Endowment Grants Program.

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How often can I apply for a grant?
Nonprofit organizations may apply for funding from every grant program for which it is eligible. Please look at each grant program's eligibility requirements to determine whether your organization qualifies for a grant.

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Can I apply for a grant from any of your donors' funds?
Grants from the Foundation's Charitable Gift Funds are recommended directly by our donors. Due to privacy concerns, the Foundation does not provide contact information or information about donors' interests or grant distribution histories.

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