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FAQs

General Foundation Information

 
Who does the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation fund?
The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation supports 501(c)3 organizations in Greater Boston (roughly defined as within Route 128) and select Gateway Cities in Massachusetts addressing issues in health, urban education, and economic mobility. Lists of current and past Foundation grantees can be found on the Areas of Giving pages. For additional information on who is eligible to apply for a grant, please visit Eligibility and Guidelines.
 
In which Gateway Cities does the Foundation fund?
The Foundation funds organizations in Greater Boston and the Eastern Massachusetts Gateway Cities of Brockton, Chelsea, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, and New Bedford.
 
Do you fund organizations with fiscal sponsors?
Yes, the Foundation will consider support for organizations who have not yet received their own 501(c)3 designation from the IRS but currently have a fiscal sponsor that is a 501(c)3 public charity.
 
Does the Foundation make multi-year commitments?
Yes, many of the Foundation’s grants are structured as multi-year commitments that are contingent upon agreed upon performance benchmarks. The Foundation has learned that this approach allows highly-effective leaders to focus their time and attention on long-range planning, innovation, and quality improvement in addition to fundraising.
 
Does the Foundation provide emergency funding?
The Foundation does not typically provide emergency funding. In general, grants are awarded several times a year as part of larger strategic initiatives.
 
Does the Foundation sponsor events/conferences/meetings/etc. or buy tables at events?
No, the Foundation does not support organizations in these ways.

For All Foundation Program Areas

 
How do I apply?
Due to the volume of requests the Foundation receives in any given year and the finite number of grants the Foundation is able to make, applications for all grants, except Small Capital Grants and Mid-Sized Capital Grants, are by invitation only. Unsolicited proposals will not be accepted. If you are applying for a Small Capital Grant or Mid-Sized Capital Grant, please review the Eligibility and Guidelines and the FAQs below related to the Foundation’s open application programs. For programs which accept applications by invitation only, please see the next question.
 
How can my organization be considered for an invitation-only grant?
Foundation staff engage in research and relationship building with nonprofits, community leaders, experts, and peer funders related to their areas of focus. This enables staff to invite proposals from strong and well-aligned organizations that are likely to deliver on the Trustees’ strategic goals for the Foundation. That said, we do not want to miss out on promising opportunities for impact we might not otherwise be aware of. If you believe your organization could be a fit for one of the invitation-only grant areas (Health, Urban Education, or Economic Mobility), please send a brief introductory email to info@smithfamilyfoundation.net including the following information: organization name, location, website, a brief description of the organization and population served, your contact information, and the grant area for which you would like to be considered. Please note that this email is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a formal letter of inquiry or an application which will be evaluated for funding. We will do our best to respond to your email in a timely manner.
 
Can I speak with a staff member from the Foundation about my organization/project?
If you are considering applying for the Small Capital Grants program or the Mid-Sized Capital Grants program, please contact Amy Hampe at 857-404-0705 or ahampe@smithfamilyfoundation.net to schedule a brief call about your organization/project. For programs which accept applications by invitation only, please refer to the previous question. All other inquiries should be directed to info@smithfamilyfoundation.net or 857-404-0700.
 
Can a staff member from the Foundation come out to visit my organization?
All organizations being considered for funding will be visited by a staff member from the Foundation. Unfortunately, staff are not able to accommodate requests for site visits from organizations not actively being considered for funding.
 
Will Foundation staff provide feedback on my application, especially if it was turned down?
The Foundation strives to be transparent in its processes and is happy to share feedback on applications and award decisions. Please note that many worthy proposals are ultimately turned down due to limited resources, so there may not be specific feedback that would have made a request more likely to receive funding. Please reach out to your staff contact for feedback or email info@smithfamilyfoundation.net. We will do our best to respond to your inquiry in a timely manner.

For the Foundation’s Open Application Programs

 
When is the next application deadline?
This differs by program area. The Small Capital Grants program has a spring and fall deadline each year. Please see the program page for specific information on the next application deadline and when award decisions are expected. The Mid-Sized Capital Grants program has a rolling deadline. Typically organizations receive a decision within six-months. Please see the program page for further information on the process for consideration.
 
What is the waiting period between grants or applications?
Organizations that receive a Small Capital Grant from the Foundation will not be eligible to apply for another Small Capital Grant for a period of at least two years from the date of the previous application. They would then be eligible to apply for a subsequent Small Capital Grant if the project for which they previously received funds has been successfully completed and a final report concerning the project has been received by the Foundation. There is no waiting period for organizations whose applications were not selected for funding. There are no waiting periods for any of the Foundation’s other program areas.
 
How many applications does the Foundation receive and how many are funded?
There are only two open application programs at the Foundation. For the Small Capital Grants program, due to the volume of applications received (can range from 100-200 per year), on average only 10-15% of project requests are selected for funding at each deadline. The Mid-Sized Capital Grants are the most competitive at the Foundation, with at most one to two grants awarded annually from among 40 or more inquiries.
 
What should I do if I am having trouble with my online application or have forgotten my password?
Please contact Amy Hampe at 857-404-0705 or ahampe@smithfamilyfoundation.net or send an email to info@smithfamilyfoundation.net.

Other Questions and Feedback

For questions not answered here or elsewhere on the website, or if you have feedback you would like to share with the Foundation about our work, please email info@smithfamilyfoundation.net or call 857-404-0700. We will do our best to respond in a timely manner.