Below please find a list of the most frequently asked application questions. Do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org at any time if you need additional guidance or information.
The application for the 2021-22 grant cycle will go live on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021.
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.
All applications and supplemental materials are due on Thursday, December 16th by 5:00 pm. Please be sure to submit all materials in a timely manner. No exceptions will be made to the 5pm deadline.
The Spruce Foundation will send out announcements about the status of your application in March 2022.
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.
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.
If your organization receives a grant from the Spruce Foundation, we anticipate that our partnership will include:
- Attendance at the Spruce Gala (usually in April/May), including potentially showing a short video for Gala
- Attendance at other Spruce Foundation events throughout the year
- High-resolution logo and high-resolution photos
- Mid-year and final reports
- Site visit and brief interview
- Promotion of The Spruce Foundation’s engagement events and Gala on all active social media platforms
- 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.
No. Eligible applicants do not need to have an office located within Philadelphia County. However, eligible applicants must be able to demonstrate that they/their programs directly impact Philadelphia youth. This is a change effective the 2021-2022 cycle.
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.
Previous awardees and prior applicants are welcome to reapply for a Spruce Foundation grant.
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.
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.
There is only one application, and you will be asked to select the category for which you are applying on the application.
The Spruce Foundation awards grants in the following categories:
- Arts: Organizations and/or programs that provide arts & culture services for Philadelphia youth.
- Education: Organizations and/or programs that provide educational services for Philadelphia youth. See below for a more comprehensive explanation of Education.
- 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.
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
- Program evaluation: specific activities and measures built into program
- Financial sustainability: clear plans to sustain organization beyond Spruce grant
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: how your organization incorporates the diversity of the Philadelphia community
A strong application will outline a proposal that includes the following:
- A locally focused project directly serving youth
- A 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
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.
Information about our grantees can be found here: https://www.sprucefoundation.org/grants/grantees/
Your organization’s 990 must be from within 2 years of the application deadline (i.e. December 16, 2019).
The Spruce Foundation does not have a maximum overhead percentage for programmatic grant budgets.
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.
Yes! As of the 2021-2022 grant cycle, the application does have a “save” feature. We still 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.
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 email@example.com. The Spruce Foundation will not accept applications timestamped after 5 pm on December 16th, 2021.
No, you are not required to use please the provided budget template. However, all budgets uploaded must clearly outline how you would spend the grant, and a list of any other sources of financial support.
Please send any application questions to firstname.lastname@example.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 7th. Find more information and register for a session on our website (https://www.sprucefoundation.org/events/).