The funding we need for our proposal is less than the amount of the grant Impact Austin offers. Can we submit a proposal for less than the full amount of our grant?

No. The grant application guidelines stipulate that the organization must expend the full amount of the Impact Austin grant.  We will not consider grants for lesser amounts.

Can you give us guidance on which focus area is appropriate for our program proposal?

No. We can’t look at your proposal and advise you on selecting a focus area. Each organization must make that decision. Often, a proposal can fall into more than one focus area. For example, a project related to an after-school music program for underprivileged students could fit into the culture and education focus areas. It would also fit within the definition of the family focus area, since such a program would "strengthen and enhance the lives of children and families" by providing a quality after-school activity for children with fewer options in this area. And if the proposal also emphasized how such a program positively impacts the mental health of the children, it could be construed to appropriately fit within the health and wellness focus area.

Every year the number and quality of proposals submitted to any given focus area varies. Because of that, it would be unfair, or could be perceived to be unfair, for Impact Austin to help any individual applicant choose a focus area.

In making your selection of the focus area, we recommend you consider which aspect of your proposal has the strongest impact.

If we’re not sure which focus area applies to us for our Letter of Inquiry, can we leave it blank and allow you to select one for us?

No. As an applicant, you must choose one focus area for the letter of inquiry based on the descriptions provided in the grant guidelines. We will not consider a letter of inquiry without a selected focus area.

Can our organization submit grant applications in more than one category?

No. Each organization may submit only one grant application each year, either to one focus area for a program grant or one catalyst grant. 

My organization is faith-based. What restrictions apply regarding your grants for an organization like ours?

Our grant guidelines state that we will not fund grants that are intended for "inherently religious activities." A faith-based organization should take steps to ensure that any inherently religious activities, such as worship, religious instruction or proselytization, are separate, in time or location, from the services that would be funded, wholly or in part, by an Impact Austin grant. Additionally, our grantees may not require program participants to attend or take part in any religious activities and may not discriminate against a current or prospective program beneficiary on the basis of religion or religious belief. Any participation in religious activities or events by recipients of Impact Austin’s grant-funded services must be completely voluntary.

Will you consider a proposal from a group of organizations collaborating on a project or program?

Yes. However, one of the collaborating organizations must be the "lead organization," applying as if it were an individual organization on behalf of the collaboration. The lead organization must be willing to take on all the potential rights, responsibilities, restrictions and liabilities of the grant if it wins the award. Please note: this means the lead organization will not be able to submit a proposal outside of the collaborative proposal, and if this collaboration is selected to receive a grant, the lead organization will not be able to reapply in the following two years.

Your guidelines indicate you will not fund capital campaigns. Will you fund capital expenditures as part of a proposal?

Yes. We will fund capital expenditures that are clearly related to the proposed project or program.

Your guidelines indicate you will not fund general construction or renovation. Will you fund construction or renovation as part of a proposal?

Yes. We will fund construction or renovation expenditures that are clearly related to the proposed project or program.

Once an organization receives a grant from Impact Austin, can it re-apply the following year?

No. A grant recipient, or Community Partner, cannot submit another proposal in the following two years. For example, a Community Partner selected in 2014 must wait until 2017 to apply again.

If we submit a proposal this year that is NOT funded, how soon can we submit another proposal?

You may apply again the following year. Impact Austin accepts proposals every year in January.

If you reject our proposal for a specific problem, will you give us a chance to fix the problem?

No. A rejection is final.

May I fax my Letter of Inquiry or grant application to Impact Austin?

No. The Letter of Inquiry and grant application must be submitted online via our grants management system using the forms provided by Impact Austin. To access our grants management system, please create an AGENCY PROFILE to include your organization in future communications. Your contact email and password will allow you to enter the system for Letter of Inquiry (LOI) or grant application input.

Can I send additional materials with the Letter of Inquiry, like one of our brochures or newsletters?

No. Any additional materials will be discarded.

Do you give grants to programs or projects that expend the funds over an extended period of years?

No. As stated in our grant guidelines, the programs or projects we fund must use the entire amount of the grant within 24 months.

Are we required to use the sample financial forms attached to the grant application?

Yes. Wherever a requested attachment says, "use the attached form," that’s what we want you to do. We understand you may have the same information in another format, but putting the financial information in a format common for all proposals helps our committees review the information more efficiently and effectively.

What do we do if we do not have one of the attachments requested in the grant application, for example, a certificate of insurance?

Include an explanation of why you do not have the attachment. The committee will take that explanation into consideration as they review the application.

What kind of communication can we expect from Impact Austin during this process?

Until semifinalists are selected for site visits, all communication between grant applicants and Impact Austin is via the Nonprofit Coordinator by email or phone: (512) 335-5540. After we select the semifinalists, most of the contact is through the appropriate committee chair. 

Impact Austin sends email notifications to each applicant confirming receipt of its Letter of Inquiry and grant application.

Impact Austin will send an accept or decline notification of letters of inquiry and grant applications by email to all applicants. To obtain this year’s grant cycle dates, click HERE for program grants and HERE for catalyst grants. 

Impact Austin contacts applicants by phone or email if questions arise about the proposal. This communication is channeled through with the Nonprofit Coordinator until we select semifinalists, and then communication comes from the committee chair.

Impact Austin will send notifications by email to all applicants declined before semifinalists are determined. Semifinalists who are declined will be notified by a phone call from the chair.

How do we know if Impact Austin will make a site visit?

Site visits occur after each committee has selected semifinalists. The chair of the respective committee reviewing your grant application will contact you should you be selected for the site visit phase.

What is the Impact Austin process for deciding who gets the grants?

We accept program grant applications in focus areas selected from culture, education, environment, family, and health and wellness. Each year, the number of program grants and the focus areas in which they will be awarded are announced prior to the annual Impact Austin Non-profit Workshop in the Fall. Committees are established every year for each focus area, consisting of Impact Austin members who review and evaluate the applications. The due diligence process includes research as well as site visits to three semifinalists in each focus area with the final goal of selecting two outstanding finalists.

Impact Austin holds training sessions for our committees regarding the Impact Austin grant review process and on evaluating grant proposals.

After each of the Focus Area Committees and the Catalyst Grant Review Committee selects its two finalists, all Impact Austin members are sent a packet of information on the finalists for their review. At our annual meeting, the finalists each give a five-minute presentation on their organization and the proposed project or program. Then our members vote for the finalists of their choice in each grant area. We award the grant money based on a simple majority vote.

Can we get a list of the members of Impact Austin?

No. We do not publish a list of our members.

Who can we contact to discuss our Grant Application after we submit it?

For questions regarding the grant guidelines, process or forms, you may email or call us at (512)335-5540. If Impact Austin has questions about your Letter of Inquiry or grant application, we will contact you.   

Impact Austin is committed to a fair, unbiased process. While we believe in treating every grant applicant respectfully, we will not entertain even a hint of any unfair influence. We reject any and all unsolicited communication related to topics other than questions about the guidelines, process or forms. We do not accept unsolicited phone calls for the purpose of clarifying information submitted in the letter of inquiry or grant application. Applicants must not contact members of Impact Austin, or the Impact Austin board, in any way unless and until Impact Austin contacts you for additional information. Applicants must not make any attempt to lobby for their proposal. Any attempt to unfairly influence the process is grounds for elimination from consideration. 

Why are there four program focus areas in 2017 vs. five in prior years?

The focus of Impact Austin has always been to provide high-impact grants. We want to maximize our funding impact to the nonprofit community by providing high-impact program grants while recognizing the importance of nonprofit capacity building with the Catalyst Grant.

In 2017 we will award an $80,600 Catalyst Grant, with the remaining funds allocated to program grants at the same high-impact level. Awarding the remaining funds to four program grants instead of five supports our mission of making an extraordinary impact.

How will Impact Austin choose focus areas going forward and what are the criteria?

We will be rotating the traditional five focus areas annually. Health and Wellness is not a focus area in 2016 but will return in 2017.

Are there other changes to the Impact Austin program grant application process?

We are broadening our program grants to include any project or program, so program grants will not be restricted to only new or expanded programs. 

In addition, program grant proposals will now include a line item for funding for general operating needs. Non-profits require general operating funds in order to maximize success of programs and sustain the overall organization.

Why do program grant requests have to include a line item for generating operating funds equal to 20% of the total grant?

Non-profits require general operating funds in order to maximize success of programs and sustain the overall organization. Including a general operating fund line item also promotes a more accurate and realistic cost of the implementation of programs and on-going support needs of the organization.

All program grant requests must include this line item so that all applications can be evaluated fairly. We want to ensure grant review committee members understand the importance of general operating funding and that all non-profits are on a level playing field. For example, if one non-profit submitted zero or some percentage less than 20%, and another non-profit submitted 20%, committee members may not assess the applications equally, preferring that 100% go to the program.

Will Impact Austin be requiring grant recipients to document how the 20% operating funds have been used?

No, we will not be asking the grant recipients to document and report how the funds have been used.