Grant Making Guidelines

(Last updated on 05/22/17)

This page includes
The Foundation’s Purposes
Eligibility for Grants,
Submission of Grant Applications,
Grant Review Procedure,
Post-Grant Reporting Requirements,
Matching Grant Program, and
Relationship with Grant Recipients

The Foundation’s Purposes

The Karl Kirchgessner Foundation (“Foundation”) is a private foundation qualified under Internal Revenue Code §501(c)(3) whose purposes are exclusively charitable.  The Foundation supports tax exempt institutions located primarily in the Southern California area which are actively engaged in the provision of services in the field of vision.  The Foundation seeks to assist economically disadvantaged persons, especially those among the young, the elderly, and the disabled.  While the Foundation supports a limited amount of eye research, its emphasis is to support activities in the area of vision care, and to help those with sight problems to be self-sufficient.

The Foundation places the highest priority on the grant proposals of nonprofits serving communities in the five-county region of Greater Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties).  Agencies who serve the Greater LA region but are headquartered elsewhere may also apply for a grant.  It is highly unlikely that funding will be offered to an organization, initiative or project that falls outside of this area.  By restricting grantees in this manner, Foundation assets are preserved by reducing miles driven and expenses for site visits, as well as making it more feasible and cost effective for grantees to make presentations at board meetings.

Eligibility for Grants

A. APPLICANTS.  The Foundation makes grants only to organizations which are currently qualified as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (c)(3) and are not private foundations or supporting organizations.  Typical applicants are organizations which seek to help the blind and other vision-impaired individuals to become self-sufficient.  Particular consideration is given to applicants from the Southern California area, as outlined in the Foundation’s Mission Statement.

B. TYPES OF GRANTS. The Foundation makes the following types of grants:

  1. Grants to support a specific project or program, or the acquisition by purchase or otherwise of one or more specific items of equipment needed for a project or program.
  2. Grants for seed money to assist in establishing a new project, program or organization, including salary and other operating expenses. Such grants are determined on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Grants to provide operating or general support. Such grants will be limited and will generally be acted upon only after one of the first two types of grants above.

Each type of grant described above, and any others actually made by the Foundation, are collectively referred to in these Guidelines as a “Grant”.

C. LENGTH OF GRANT.  The Foundation considers each year’s applicants carefully on the merits of the current applications; accordingly, the fact that the Foundation makes a Grant in one year does not in any way imply that similar Grants will be made in ensuing years.  On occasion, the Foundation does make a Grant which can only be completely utilized over more than one fiscal year of the Foundation.  Any such Grant will likely require the approval of interim reports before further installment(s) are paid on the Grant.

D. MATCHING GRANTS.  The Foundation encourages applications which incorporate funding through matching grants.  The Foundation’s Matching Grant Program is described in detail in Section 6 below.

E. NON-DISCRIMINATION.  There are no restrictions on the granting of or use of Grants with respect to race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin.

F. OVERHEAD RESTRICTIONS.  Grants are restricted to organizations whose projected overhead (indirect expenses) expenses allocable to the Grant being funded are deemed reasonable by the Foundation.  In that regard, complete information is required before an application will be approved.

G. EXCLUDED GRANTS.  The Foundation does not consider requests from:  individuals; private foundations, private operating foundations, or supporting organizations; political or business lobbying organizations or campaigns; or fund-raising campaigns, dinners, banquets, etc.  Moreover, the Foundation neither supports nor engages in political activity.  It does not attempt to influence legislation or provide support for organizations engaged in such activities.

Submission of Grant Applications

A. LETTER OF INTENT.

  1. An organization or institution desiring to apply for a Grant should first determine, after a careful study of these Guidelines, whether or not its proposal falls within the stated Guidelines and priorities of this Foundation.  If so, a brief scanned, executed Letter of Intent containing all contact information, including email address but not accompanied by any supporting materials, should be sent via email to the Grants Coordinator of the Foundation at grantscoordinator@kirchgessnerfoundation.org. This Letter of Intent shall state:
    1. The description of the project or program for which funding is desired;
    2. The amount of funding requested;
    3. The time or times when funds are to be provided by the Foundation; and
    4. If any matching or challenge grants will be available or sought by the applicant.

    The Letter of Intent should also include a statement that the applicant does and will comply with the requirements set forth in these Guidelines. Applications for research grants are not solicited and, if received by the Foundation, will be evaluated by its Scientific Advisory Board.

  2. The Foundation’s fiscal year ends June 30th and Grants are normally funded in June. In order for grant applications to receive adequate consideration, Letters of Intent to apply for funding must be received by the Foundation by November 1st. After receipt of such a Letter, the Foundation will advise the applicant whether there is an interest in pursuing the matter and, if so, will request submission of a formal Application, as outlined below.

B. GRANT APPLICATION. If the Foundation requests the submission of a formal and detailed Application, the following information will be required on or before February 1st of the applicable year:

  1. The general history and description of the applicant;
  2. The purpose(s) for which the grant is being requested and the manner in which specified goals and tasks will be accomplished (including the qualifications of the applicant’s personnel to accomplish its intended objectives, with particular regard to the capabilities and experience of the persons responsible for implementation of the proposal);
  3. The total amount requested from the Foundation; the total budget; an explanation of the specific uses to which Foundation funds would be put; and a statement of the estimated overhead expenses expressed as a percentage of the total direct expenses allocable to the Grant;
  4. If practicable, a breakdown of the grant request into appropriate components, with dollars allocated to each component, and a prioritization of these components.  This information will assist our Foundation in determining whether and to what extent a Grant of less than the full amount will be effective for and helpful to the applicant;
  5. A list of other sources of funding for the request detailing amounts received or committed;
  6. The applicant’s federal tax identification number;
  7. A copy of the Internal Revenue Service Determination Letter stating that (a) the applicant has Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, and (b) it is not a private foundation.  Applicant is to certify that it has no knowledge or notice that these determinations are not still applicable; and
  8. A current financial statement of the applicant, including a copy of the latest balance sheet showing assets and liabilities and the latest income statement showing income and expenses.  A copy of the applicant’s last federal information return (Form 990) is also required.
  9. The scanned, executed Formal Grant Application and accompanying documents should be sent via email to the Grants Coordinator of the Foundation at grantscoordinator@kirchgessnerfoundation.org.

Grant Review Procedure

A. CRITERIA. The Foundation utilizes and weighs the following criteria, among others, in examining grant applications:

  1. The stability and integrity of the applicant;
  2. The focus of the Grant, including its significance relative to the operations of the applicant;
  3. The capabilities and experience of the persons responsible for the implementation of the proposed Grant;
  4. Whether the proposed Grant will duplicate or work in conjunction with similar Grants the Foundation is considering, or currently supports, and whether the proposal will meet a demonstrated need;
  5. The extent of governmental, public or private support, if any;
  6. The anticipated short- and long-term results of the Grant request; and
  7. Whether there is a need for future financial support, including consideration of continued support from the Foundation, the community or other funding sources.

B. NOTICE TO APPLICANTS.  The proposal will first be analyzed by the Grants Committee which will then make its recommendations to the Board of Directors of the Foundation.  The Foundation may propose that an on-site visit be scheduled.  Applicants whose proposals are accepted will be notified, and receive their funding, in June.  When an application has been acted upon by the Foundation, such action is final.  If an application has been rejected, it will not be carried over for future consideration.  The applicant may later make a new application which must not be merely a request to reinstate the prior application.

Post-Grant Reporting Requirements

A. GENERALLY.  After a Grant has been made, the Foundation requires interim evaluation/progress reports at intervals of not less than every six months during the period that Grant funds are being utilized, and a final report when the Grant funds have been completely expended or the purposes for which the Grant was made have been accomplished, whichever is later. The Foundation will supply forms for these reports.  Scanned, executed copies of these Reports should be sent via email to the Grants Coordinator of the Foundation at grantscoordinator@kirchgessnerfoundation.org. Please note that failure to provide the Foundation with all requisite Post-Grant Reports may result in ineligibility to apply for a grant during the Foundation’s subsequent year’s grant cycle.

B. NOTICE OF CHANGES.  It is a condition of each Grant that the Foundation be immediately notified in writing should circumstances change regarding the Grant or its purposes.

C. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.  After any report has been received and reviewed, the Foundation reserves the right to request additional information of specific interest and concern.  In some cases, an on-site visit may be requested.

Matching Grant Program

A. GENERALLY.  The Foundation has made a commitment to a Matching Grant Program which allows it to better utilize its limited resources to provide support to the greatest number of worthy organizations.  In addition, the Foundation believes that its promise of a matching grant will empower its Grantee organizations to successfully secure grant commitments from other grant organizations.  If an organization indicates a desire to be considered for a matching grant in its Letter of Intent, it will likely increase its chances of receiving a grant award from the Foundation.  In some cases, the Foundation may award both a regular grant and a matching grant to an organization.

B. MATCHING GRANTS.

A “Matching Grant” is an offer to a grantee organization to pay a stated amount to the grantee organization on the condition that the grantee organization is able to provide evidence that it has raised matching funds of the full amount requested from fresh sources within a specified period of time.  If the grantee organization fails to raise the full amount requested, it will not receive any matching funds from the Foundation.

  1. INDICATION OF INTEREST IN MATCHING GRANT PROGRAM.  An organization desiring to apply for a matching grant should so indicate in its Letter of Intent.  The Letter of Intent should include the amount of the matching grant request.
  2. SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION IN GRANT APPLICATION.  If an organization is invited to submit a Grant Application for a matching grant, then in addition to the information requested in Paragraph 3.2. above, the organization will also be asked to provide (i) a brief description of how the organization expects to secure the matching funds from fresh sources in an amount equal to the matching grant, and (ii) a statement that the organization expects that it will be able to provide evidence of the procurement of such matching funds prior to April 30 of the current grant year.
  3. REVIEW OF MATCHING GRANT REQUEST.  The Foundation will review matching grant requests as part of its general review of grant proposals.  In addition to the criteria used to review regular grants, as set forth in Paragraph 4.1 above, the Foundation will also consider any evidence that the organization has provided which indicates a likelihood that the organization will be successful in procuring matching funds from fresh sources prior to April 30.
  4. CONDITIONS OF MATCHING GRANT.  Except as otherwise indicated, an organization which receives a matching grant will be subject to all of the terms and conditions applicable to Grantees as set forth in these Guidelines.

 

Relationship with Grant Recipients

The Foundation desires to keep up with the activities of its grantees.  Accordingly, Grant recipients are encouraged to send the Grants Coordinator of the Foundation, 1525 Aviation Boulevard #168, Redondo Beach, California 90278, newsletters and other mailings of interest on a regular basis so that the Foundation may better monitor the valuable work carried on by its Grantees.

This document constitutes grant making policies and procedures which are subject to periodic review and modification by the Foundation.