Below please find a list of the most frequently asked application questions. Do not hesitate to contact grants@sprucefoundation.org at any time if you need additional guidance or information.

Logistics

When will The Spruce Foundation grant application be available?

The application for the 2020-21 grant cycle will go live on Tuesday, October 13th, 2020.

Where can I find the grant application?

Once the application is live, you can find the grant application by visiting https://www.sprucefoundation.org/ and clicking the “Apply for a Grant” button at the top of the page.

When is the application due?

All applications and supplemental materials are due on Monday, December 14th by 5:00 pm. Please be sure to submit all materials in a timely manner. No exceptions will be made to the 5pm deadline.

When will I find out if I receive a grant from The Spruce Foundation?

The Spruce Foundation will send out announcements about the status of your application in March 2021.

Are there word limits?

There are word limits for each question, which can be found on the prompt for each question. There are no word limits for supplemental application materials.

Are site visits part of the application process?

No, site visits are not conducted during the application process. However, if you are selected as a grantee we will expect to see your site and programs in person during the funding cycle.

What are the Spruce Foundation’s expectations of grantees?

If your organization receives a grant from the Spruce Foundation, we anticipate that our partnership will include:

  1. Attendance at the Spruce Gala (usually in April/May), including potentially showing a short video for Gala
  2. Attendance at other Spruce Foundation events throughout the year
  3. High-resolution logo and high-resolution photos
  4. Mid-year and final reports
  5. Site visit and brief interview
  6. Promotion of The Spruce Foundation’s engagement events and Gala on all active social media platforms
  7. Invitations for Spruce to partner with grantees through events and day of service opportunities (if applicable)

The exact expectations of our partnership will be outlined in the grant agreement.

Eligibility

Does my organization have to be located in Philadelphia to apply for a grant?

Yes. Eligible applicants must have an office located within Philadelphia County.

Can I apply if my local chapter/organization is part of a national organization?

Yes, you may apply for a Spruce Foundation grant if you have a Philadelphia office and provide services to youth in Philadelphia. The budget for the local Philadelphia chapter/office should be  included with your application, and must meet our budget requirements. You must demonstrate in your application and budget that services and funding will support ONLY Philadelphia programming/operations.

If I previously applied for or was awarded a Spruce Foundation grant, can I reapply?

Previous awardees and prior applicants are welcome to reapply for a Spruce Foundation grant.

Are there any budget requirements for applicants?

As a general requirement, all applicants must have a total organizational budget of $800,000 or less. This change was first instituted in the 2017-2018 grantmaking cycle, and will continue in the 2020-2021 cycle. The Spruce Foundation awards two types of grants – operational and programmatic. While all organizations must still have a total organizational budget under $800,000, new this year, all organizations are eligible for either an operational grant or a programmatic grant.

Can I apply if I have a fiscal sponsor?

Yes, an organization can apply for a grant if it does not have 501(c)3 status but is supported by a fiscal sponsor. You will be asked to share information about your fiscal sponsor on the application.  The budget limitations apply to the fiscally-sponsored organization, not to the fiscal sponsor.  Make sure to include your budget, not that of the fiscal sponsor, with your application.  The DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) information should also be reported for the fiscally-sponsored organization; it is not necessary to include this information for the fiscal sponsor. Note: A fiscal sponsor is a nonprofit organization that provides fiduciary oversight, financial management, and other administrative services to help build the capacity of charitable projects.

We expect all applicants (and/or their fiscal sponsors) to maintain appropriate statuses with relevant federal, state and local entities. This expectation includes IRS status and filings, as well as ALL state-mandated clearances for youth-serving employees and volunteers.

Content

Is there a separate application for each grant category?

There is only one application, and you will be asked to select the category for which you are applying on the application.

What are the Spruce Foundation grant categories?

The Spruce Foundation awards grants in the following categories:

  • Arts:  Organizations and/or programs that provide arts & culture services for Philadelphia youth.
  • Education – Career and Technical Education (CTE): Organizations and/or programs that provide CTE services for Philadelphia youth.  See below for a more comprehensive explanation of Education – CTE.
  • Health & Wellness: Organizations and/or programs that provide health & wellness services for Philadelphia youth.
  • LGBTQ: Organizations and/or programs that provide services for Philadelphia youth identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer.

For examples of the type of organizations falling within these program areas, see our grants page (https://www.sprucefoundation.org/grants/grantees/) for previous years’ grantees.

Note that your organization does not need to focus exclusively on youth, or exclusively on one of these categories, but you can only apply for programming relevant to youth in the above categories.

What does CTE stand for in the Education grant category?

CTE stands for Career and Technical Education. The Spruce Foundation supports education programs that work with Philadelphia youth in the space of Career and Technical Education and prepare students with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary for career readiness.

How will my application be scored?

The Spruce Foundation trains a committee of board members and volunteers to review each application. Applications are evaluated according to a comprehensive rubric that covers the following:

  • Serving Philadelphia youth directly
  • Community need: clearly defined, using concrete examples and in alignment with strategies/program objectives
  • Community impact: examples of long-lasting impact and a vision for use of grant funds for sustainability
  • Idea viability: evidence of utilization of best practices and potential success
  • Innovative: next generation, novel services and/or an inventive service delivery platform
  • Program evaluation: specific activities and measures built into program
  • Financial sustainability: clear plans to sustain organization beyond Spruce grant
  • Volunteer culture: multiple, diverse opportunities
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: how your organization incorporates the diversity of the Philadelphia community
What makes a strong application?

A strong application will outline a proposal that includes the following:

  • A locally focused project directly serving youth
  • An innovative project or initiative focused on a strong community need
  • Clear strategy for engaging your community
  • Long-term impact on beneficiaries, including quantitative and qualitative data as available
  • Clear, specific evaluation approach, including quantitative and qualitative measures as available
  • Detailed line item budget, with additional sources of support outlined
How do you define “innovative?”

The Spruce Foundation looks to support organizations that implement or execute programs and services in a new or different way, or a way that has not been implemented regionally. This could also include serving a need that has not been met before.

How does Spruce consider Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

The Spruce Foundation has an organizational commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).  Throughout the application process, we will ask questions that require you to think honestly and engage meaningfully about disparities that exist in your organization and community and how your work addresses those disparities.

DEI responses are intended to foster thought and engagement around the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. These responses were first collected in 2019-2020, and at that time were not scored, but instead used to provide valuable insight about our potential grantees’ capacity to address the issues of DEI in our community. Beginning this year in 2020-2021, these responses will be factored into the scoring process.

Where can I find information on past and current Spruce grantees?

Information about our grantees can be found here: https://www.sprucefoundation.org/grants/grantees/

How recent must my 990 be?

Your organization’s 990 must be from within 2 years of the application deadline (i.e. December 14, 2018).

Do you have a maximum overhead percentage for programmatic budgets?

The Spruce Foundation does not have a maximum overhead percentage for programmatic grant budgets.

What kind of information are you looking for regarding evaluation?

The Spruce Foundation is interested in both quantitative and qualitative data, as available, when reviewing both the impact of programming and future evaluation plans. For example, a strong application may include that according to test scores, 75% of youth served increased literacy skills, as well as anecdotes that they started to enjoy reading more.

Technical

Can I save my application progress and return to it?

The application does not have a “save” feature. We strongly recommend that you download a copy of the questions (available on our website) and type your answers there. Then you can copy and paste your answers into the appropriate boxes on the application and attach supplementary materials.

What if I have uploading issues with my application?

We recommend downloading a local copy of the application and completing your application in a separate Word document. When you are ready to submit, you can copy and paste your answers into the appropriate places on the application. We recommend using Google Chrome to submit your application. Please ensure that you have the most recent version of Chrome installed on your computer. Additionally, please review the file size limits for supplemental material. We strongly encourage applicants to apply before the deadline in order to avoid technical difficulties.

If you continue to have technical issues with your application, please email grants@sprucefoundation.org. The Spruce Foundation will not accept applications timestamped after 5 pm on December 14th, 2020.

I am having trouble accessing the budget template in the application. What should I do?

You can access the template here. Please email grants@sprucefoundation.org if you continue to have issues accessing the document.

Do I have to use the provided Spruce budget template?

Yes, please use the provided budget template, as this standardization will help us expedite the review process.

To whom can I reach out with questions about the grant application?

Please send any application questions to grants@sprucefoundation.org. Please note, we are an all volunteer organization and will make every effort to respond to inquiries within 48 hours. We appreciate your patience, especially as the grant application deadline approaches.

You can also bring your questions to one of our scheduled virtual information sessions on December 2nd and December 8th. Find more information and register for a session on our website (https://www.sprucefoundation.org/events/).