A PDF version of all the FAQs can be found HERE.
GENERAL:Can I get help if something in the guidelines is unclear?
Yes – we’re here to help you. We are more than happy to explain and clarify eligibility requirements, review criteria, application forms, etc. Please review all application materials before contacting us and do not wait to the last minute. You can reach SE Uplift’s Community Resource Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-232-0010 x 312.
Can I get the application forms in a different format?
Yes. If you need the application forms in an alternative format, please contact SE Uplift’s Community Resource Manager at email@example.com or call 503-232-0010 x 312.
Do I have to use the forms you provide?
No. However if you create your own form, please answer all questions in the order they are listed.
Yes. The Neighborhood Small Grant program is specifically design to help people who have never applied for a grant before to take the next steps. No prior grant experience is required. In fact, many first time grant recipients are funded every year. An important thing to keep in mind though is that the selection committee will want to see that you have the capacity and dedication to make your project work. So make sure you have a clear and practical implementation plan to go with your good idea, and the ability to adjust and persevere when things inevitably don’t go exactly as planned.
How many applications can I submit?
Applicants may submit more than one application for different projects; however, no more than one project per applicant will be funded.
My organization does not have its own nonprofit status. Can we still apply?
Yes, however you will need to obtain fiscal sponsorship from a non-profit, federal tax exempt organization or government entity. Don’t let this deter you from applying.
What is fiscal sponsorship?
A fiscal sponsor is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, such as SE Uplift, which acts as a sponsor for a project organized by a group that does not have its own tax-exempt status. The fiscal sponsor will receive the grant funds on behalf of the group and disburse payments to cover the grant project expenses. Fiscal sponsorship is a contractual arrangement between a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, such as SE Uplift, and a project without its own tax-exempt status that allows the project to receive grant funding and solicit tax-deductible donations. The organization providing fiscal sponsorship accepts financial donations on behalf of the project and is responsible for providing appropriate financial oversight.
How do I find a fiscal sponsor?
SE Uplift can provide fiscal sponsorship for neighborhood small grant projects that fit within our mission, “To assist the citizens and neighborhood associations of SE Portland to create communities which are livable, socially diverse, safe and vital. Southeast Uplift provides an organizational structure and forum to empower citizens to effectively resolve issues of livability and community development.” SE Uplift charges a 7.5% administrative fee for management of all projects that are not projects of one of our neighborhood associations. Please budget accordingly. Applicants seeking fiscal sponsorship from SE Uplift must submit a fiscal sponsorship request form with their grant application to be considered. More information on fiscal sponsorship and the application form can be found on SE Uplift’s website here.
If you are already working closely with a 501(c)(3) organization, we recommend asking them to be your project’s fiscal sponsor. For help finding a fiscal sponsor, the Nonprofit Association of Oregon is a great resource. They can be contacted at 503-239-4001 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do neighborhood associations have to include a fiscal sponsorship application with the Neighborhood Small Grant application?
Yes. Neighborhood associations that do not have 501(c)3 status must submit a fiscal sponsorship application form along with their grant application to be considered for funding. Neighborhood association will not be charged an administrative fee. The application form can be found on SE Uplift’s website here.
In order to qualify as a neighborhood association project, for the purpose of fiscal sponsorship, projects must have their scope, project coordinator, and draft budget formally voted on and approved by the board.* They must also provide frequent updates to the neighborhood association board, self-recognize as a project of the neighborhood association on all outreach materials, thank all donors on behalf of the neighborhood association, and be listed as a project of the neighborhood association in all applicable neighborhood association communications.
*If a neighborhood association is unable to vote on the subject prior to the application due date (January 10, 2017), they can instead do so at their January meeting.
We have received a Neighborhood Small Grant from SE Uplift for our project twice before. Can we apply again for this project?
No. If you have received funding from SE Uplift grants two or more times, you cannot reapply for the same project. However, past grant recipients may apply for a distinctly different project or a distinctly different phase of a previously funded project.
We are an organization physically located outside of the coalition area, but our project will take place within the boundaries. Can we still apply?
Yes, you may apply as long as the project activities will take place in and benefit the residents of the coalition.
Does my project have to be original? Does it have to be big?
No. Projects do not need to be original or big. The key is to have a project that is compelling and inspiring. We encourage you to think of new, creative ways your organization can meet the goals of the grant program. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and push the boundaries.
Grant requests may range from $300 to $4,000. You may apply for any amount within this range. However, it is important that the amount you request is consistent with and appropriate for the scope of your project. Provide a clear budget so that the committee can plainly see how funds will be used. Additionally, leveraging volunteer time and donations will increase the competitiveness of your proposal.
What can I not receive funds for?
- Costs that may be incurred in preparing the application or evaluating the project
- Direct social services such as food baskets, health clinic services
- Ongoing general organizational support such as rent, utilities, or staff
- Direct grants, scholarships or loans for the benefit of specific individuals
- Fundraising activities or community events that cost money to attend*
- Capital improvements, unless built by volunteers
- Items intended for sale
*Events may have suggested donations
What counts as direct social services?
Generally, direct social services are not eligible for Neighborhood Small Grant funding because they do not meet the intent of the grant program. “Direct social services” include, but are not limited to; clothing, food, shelter, counseling, utility bill assistance, rent assistance, child care, medical assistance, and other life resources need by individuals. Projects that meet the goals of the grant program and have a social service element may be eligible. Applicants should contact SE Uplift’s Community Resource Manager for guidance at email@example.com or call 503-232-0010 x 312.
What counts as capital improvements?
Generally, capital improvement projects are not eligible for Neighborhood Small Grant funding because they do not meet the intent of the grant program. Capital improvements are defined as permanent improvements or additions to the project site, building, grounds, etc. Capital projects that meet the goals of the grant program may be eligible. For instance, a community work-party that brings residents together to build a community kiosk could be funded if there is strong hands-on involvement of community members in the actual work and the kiosk helps achieve one or more of the grant goals. Applicants should contact SE Uplift’s Community Resource Manager for guidance at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-232-0010 x 312.
Is there a chance that you will only fund part of my proposal?
Yes. The committee may choose to only partially fund your project if they determine that it would still be possible with reduced funding and/or if they feel that particular budget items could be cut or funded through alternative sources.