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


When will The Spruce Foundation grant application be available?

The application for the 2024 grant cycle will go live in late January 2024.

Where can I find the grant application?

Once the application is live, you can find the grant application by visiting 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, March 25, 2024 by 5:00 pm. Please be sure to submit all materials in a timely manner. No exceptions will be made to the 5:00 pm 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 between late April and early May 2024.

Are site visits part of the application process?

No, site visits are not conducted during the application process.

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 our grantee recognition event, including potentially showing a short video for event attendees.
  2. High-resolution logo and high-resolution photos.
  3. Mid-year and final reports. 

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


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

No, however, eligible applicants must serve youth 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 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?

While we accept applications from previous grantees, please note that in an effort to foster growth and reach wider audiences we will be prioritizing applications from organizations that have not received a grant from the Spruce Foundation in the past 3 years (since 2021).

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 current cycle. Applicant organizations do not need to focus exclusively on youth; however, 75% or more of the organization’s operations must be dedicated to youth-serving activities.

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.


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.
  • Program evaluation: specific activities and measures built into the 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.
What makes a strong application?

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

  • A locally focused project directly serving Philadelphia youth.
  • 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 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 with the 2020-2021 grant cycle, these responses are now factored into the scoring process.

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

Information about our grantees can be found here:

How recent must my 990 be?

Your organization’s 990 must be from within 2 years of the application deadline.

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.


Can I save my application progress and return to it?

The application does not have this feature. We strongly recommend downloading the full application here and completing it in a separate document prior to submitting.

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 The Spruce Foundation will not accept applications timestamped after 5:00 pm on March 25, 2024.

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

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

Do I have to use the provided Spruce budget template?

No, you do not have to use the Spruce budget template. Please upload an organizational budget, a budget that clearly outlines how you would spend the $5,000 grant, and a list of any other sources of financial support. If you do not have your own budget documents, please click here to download Spruce Foundation’s Grant budget template. Make sure to fill out all tabs.

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

Please send any application questions to 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 January 29 and February 27, 2024. Find more information and register for a session on our website (