FAQ

We have had a long history of funding from the Carolyn Foundation.  We are now outside of your geographic and/or priority focus.  Can we be funded on an exception basis based on our prior relationship? No, the board carefully considered the implications for past grantees running excellent organizations in the Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain States and Northeast where we have done considerable funding in the past. This is not a reflection on the work being done but rather an honest and difficult decision based on our available resources. If you fall in this category, we wish you the very best for your continued success.

The Grant Deadline falls on a holiday or weekend when do you need to receive the application?  Applications are due no later than midnight the day after the weekend or holiday that is the deadline date. We encourage you to begin your application earlier so you have time to review your file before submitting it.

How many funding cycles does the Carolyn Foundation have each year? 
There are two funding cycles per year beginning in February and August. A cycle consists of receipt of application prior to deadline; processing and review of proposals; and Board of Trustees approval and award. This is approximately five months. The online deadlines for our grant cycles are February 1 and August 1. Grants are paid in June and January.

If I’ve received a grant from the Carolyn Foundation, when can I apply again? What is the 36 month funding bar about? How does it impact the grant review process?
 You may apply three years after your successful application was submitted. If you successfully applied in August of 2012 for a grant made in January 2013 you may apply again in August of 2015 for potential funding in January 2016. If you applied in February 2014 and received a grant in June 2014, you may apply again in February 2017 for a potential grant in June of 2017. This restriction is based on organization not program. Given the three year funding bar, the foundation is often most interested in situations where our one-time funds can fill a unique niche without creating an ongoing funding need. We will also be very interested in how a program will be sustained after our funding is completed. This is particularly true if the request is to add new staff.

Do you make 3-year grants every three years? 

No, all of our responsive grants are one year grants. Our goal is to respond to current community needs with one-year grants. We do not intend to provide ongoing annual support for organizations. Our typical grant size is based on a one year funding commitment.

If my proposal was rejected last cycle may I apply again this cycle? 
That depends on why your request was rejected. If you received a declination stating that your proposal fell outside of our current priorities, please do not apply again for the same program. If you have a different program that fits our priorities you may apply in the next cycle. If the declination said we were constrained by limited resources, you may apply again. Each cycle is different and your proposal will be compared to a different set of proposals. However, understand that the same foundation grant review committee reviews all the proposals submitted in a calendar year. If you have specific questions regarding your request, please contact Becky Erdahl, Executive Director, at 612.596.3279.

When will I know about your funding decision? 
You will be notified as soon as a decision is made regarding your proposal; either at the time we decide to no longer consider your proposal or when we decide to make a grant. Typically the first declinations are sent six to eight weeks after the application deadline. The foundation grant review committees work through requests in batches throughout the cycle with declinations communicated as decisions are made. Grants for all three program areas will be posted in Grant Search on our website following our board meetings in June and December.

Do you want or accept letters of inquiries or meetings before an application is submitted?
 No, letters of inquiry and in person meetings before submissions are NOT a part of our application process. If you have questions about the appropriateness of a project idea, we encourage you to contact Becky Erdahl, Executive Director, at 612.596.3279 to discuss the proposal you are considering. If you submit a letter of inquiry or email, we will respond informally with a phone call or email.

Who decides on what grants are made? 

The Environmental Grant Review Committee is made up of family volunteers. Committee members are thoughtful, intelligent, dedicated and thorough in their review. Committee members are from across the country. Most are active environmental volunteers.   Please avoid buzz words and jargon. The best proposals are those that clearly explain the need and your proposed response to that need.

May we add the Carolyn Foundation to our email or other mailing lists? 
Please DO NOT add us to your email or mailing list. Especially in these tight economic times, it is not a good use of your time, money or natural resources. We simply do not have time to read all of the paper that comes through our office. Please include your web address on your proposal so if we need additional information we can find it. If you receive a grant, be sure to submit us a final grant report at the end of the year specifically outlining your use of foundation funds.

I think I know someone connected with the family.  Should I give the proposal to them? Will that increase my chances of funding? 

No, this family prides itself on the professionalism of our grant review process. The review committees have clear responsibility to recommend grantmaking decisions based on the quality of the proposal submitted, grant review criteria and current foundation focus areas. Ensuring the independence of the grant review committees is a foundation priority.  If a family member is involved and knowledgeable about your program, you may mention that in the application and we will seek their feedback as part of the review process.

What is the typical size of grants? 

Recently most environmental grants have been in the $15,000 – $25,000 range.

How much money do you have available? 

In 2014, our environmental grant pools have been approximately $180,000 per cycle.