NONPROFIT FAQS

501(c)(3) refers to the specific section of the Internal Revenue Code that defines a nonprofit organization. For more information on the Code and obtaining a 501(c)(3) designation, contact the Internal Revenue Service.

Generally, the Foundation only makes grants from its competitive grant programs in the following 25 counties in East Tennessee: Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Loudon, McMinn, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi, Union, and Washington. Please visit each grant program’s page for more specific information and qualifications, as a very limited number of the Foundation’s funds serve a broader area.

Mostly, no. There are a very limited number of funds that focus on a specific field of interest or cause that award grants nationally. We encourage you to visit the National Council on Foundations website to determine the community foundation serving your area.

Yes, all of our grant programs only accept online applications. Please see Apply for Grants to learn more.

The Foundation does not accept applications by fax or email.

Any organization that applied in the past is active in the online application system. You will need to use the email address and password that you last used. If you have forgotten or do not have access to your password, click on “Forgot your Password?” on the logon page. A password reset email will be sent to you after you enter your email address and click the “Send Reminder” button.

Please do not create a new organizational account. Contact Ashley Siferd Butler, Director of Competitive Grants, at ab*****@et*.org or Rachel Schott, Director of Scholarships, at rs*****@et*.org for assistance.

We recommend that organizations create their account using the primary staff person responsible for submitting applications and reports.

Yes, prior to submitting your application, you can edit your answers as often as you like. However, once you submit your application, you cannot change your answers.

If the documents are already saved on your computer, you can click the “Upload a file” button on the application and select the document to upload. If you have access to a scanner, you can scan the document and then upload it. If you do not have access to a scanner, you can take a high quality photo of the document and upload the photo. Please note that each document upload question allows only one file, so if you have multiple documents or photos, you will need to save them as one file and then upload it.

Yes, you will receive an error message if a required question has not been answered or if you try to submit an incomplete application. Fields that are required are indicated with an asterisk “*”. However, there is no spell check feature, so please proof your answers for spelling and grammatical errors before you click on the “Submit” button.

The Foundation generally does not fund requests from outside our service area, from non-qualified charities, or from individuals; or for ongoing operating budgets; capital and endowment-building campaigns; debt retirement; small businesses, business start-up, or advertising.

Final decisions are announced approximately three to four months after the application deadline. You will receive written notification via letter or email. If additional information is needed during the application and decision process, Foundation staff or a member of the grant panel will contact you.

When an application is declined, the Foundation welcomes applicants to call the program staff for feedback. Please remember, the Foundation’s grant panels and staff review hundreds of applications each year. It is advised to contact the staff soon after the denial letter is received.

Applicant workshops are offered at no charge to assist with the preparation of proposals. Dates are posted on this website or you may call the Foundation to obtain more information.

Applications may be submitted for multiple grant programs, but only one application may be submitted by the same organization to a specific grant program.

Example: An organization may submit a request to the Arts Fund for East Tennessee and submit a request to the Youth Endowment Fund. However, one single organization may not submit two or more applications for the Arts Fund for East Tennessee OR two or more applications for the Youth Endowment Fund.

Eligible applicants may apply for funding from every fund when it is accepting new requests. Please look at each grant program’s eligibility requirements to determine whether your organization qualifies for a grant.

If you are a qualified 501(c)(3) public charity, unit of government, or public educational institution operating in the Foundation’s 25-county service area, click here for a list which provides an overview of the Foundation’s grant programs, including our regional affiliates. Visit the county’s page on this website for more details, including eligibility and deadline information.

Grants from the Foundation’s donor advised funds are recommended directly by our fundholders. Due to privacy concerns, the Foundation does not provide contact information or information about fundholders’ interests or grant distribution histories.