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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Bethany Fund Home

1. What if our organization is not a government entity, a 501(c) (3) organization or a Type 1 supporting organization? Can our organization still apply for a grant?

No. If your organization is not a government entity, a 501(c) (3) organization or a Type 1 supporting organization, you are not eligible to apply for a grant. However, your organization may be eligible to provide services under the grant and receive grant funds if you partner with an organization that meets the above criteria, as well as the other funding requirements as outlined in the Letter of Intent (LOI). Click on LOI for more details. The organization that meets the criteria can apply as the grantee with your organization as a partner. Your ability as an organization to provide services under these guidelines is possible only if, of course, your partnering organization is granted an award. However, the Bethany Fund Board is not responsible for payments to any partners. All contracts, payment arrangements, etc., must be negotiated by you, the partnering agency, with the proposed grantee.

2. What if our organization provides services in one or more of the Bethany Fund Communities, but our organization's main office is not located in any of the Bethany Fund Communities? Can we still apply for a grant?

No. An organization's main office must be located in one of the Bethany Fund Communities in order to be considered eligible for an award. The boundaries for of the Fund Communities that are used by the Bethany Fund are defined by the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development. Please note, however, that the boundaries for Humboldt Park have been extended by the Bethany Fund Board to include the area East to Western Avenue, to encompass East Humboldt Park. Click on The Bethany Fund Communities for more details about the geographic areas we fund.

3. Does our organization have to complete a Letter or Intent (LOI) in order to be considered for a grant?

Yes. Submitting an LOI is the first step in the grant request process. Click on LOI for an application.

4. If our organization has received a grant from the Bethany Fund in the past, but is not currently a grantee, do we still have to submit a LOI?

Yes. Only organizations that are current grantees are exempt from the LOI process. If your organization was a previous grantee and is not receiving grant dollars from the Bethany Fund, you must submit an LOI in order to be considered for an award.

5. If our organization is a current grantee, are we required to submit an LOI?

No. Grantees who have been awarded grants for the current fiscal year are exempt from the LOI process.

6. If our organization is in a time crunch, is it possible to submit a partial LOI application by the deadline and send all other documents at a later date?

No. In order to remain fair to all applicants and in an effort to deliver grant decisions efficiently and effectively, all requested information and documents as required in the LOI packet must be submitted by the deadline. Click on LOI for information about all supporting documents that must be submitted with the LOI application.

7. Can our organization submit our LOI or full proposal electronically or by facsimile (fax)?

No. All LOIs and proposals must be submitted via commercial carrier or through U.S. mail by the deadline date with all copies. Neither electronic applications nor faxes can be considered for an award.

8. If our organization misses the LOI deadline and is not currently a Bethany Fund grantee, can we still submit a full proposal to apply for funding?

No. Only new organizations that have successfully completed an LOI and have received approval from the Bethany Fund may submit a full proposal. No LOI applications will be accepted after the deadline. Click on the How to Apply link for an application for details about the deadlines regarding the steps for a grant request. The LOI application is released in February of each year.

9. Can our organization submit more than one LOI?

No. Your organization is allowed to submit only one LOI for each funding cycle. In general, separate entities from the same organization will be treated as having been submitted by a single entity; thus, the organization will be allowed to submit only one LOI for review.

10. What happens after our organization submits our LOI?

Your organization will receive notification by email that your LOI has been received for review. The Bethany Fund staff will screen each proposal to ensure that all program requirements are met and that all forms are included in the submission packet. Your LOI will be assigned to a review panel that will evaluate your LOI. You will be notified as to whether or not your LOI has been approved by approximately two months after your submission. If your LOI is approved, you will be invited to submit a full proposal to apply for a grant award. Click on LOI for a timeline which is included in the application.

11. If our organization's LOI has been approved, does this mean that we will automatically receive a grant award?

No. Approval of your organization's LOI does not guarantee your organization will automatically receive a grant award. Your approved LOI means that you are eligible to submit a full proposal to the Bethany Fund Board to request a grant award. The final determination of whether or not your organization receives an award will be based on your proposal. You will want to give great consideration to the proposal you submit for funding.

12. If our organization's LOI has been accepted, but we desire to change the project that we would like to have funded, is this allowable?

No. One of the purposes of submitting an LOI is to allow the Bethany Fund Board to make initial decisions around the types of projects we are interested in funding. Your application should be an overview of the project you intend to apply for in the full proposal. It is recommended that you give careful time and consideration to the project you are proposing.

13. Is there a maximum limit to the size of the operating budget of an organization in order to be considered eligible for funding?

No. The Bethany Fund Board will consider community-based programs within both small and large organizations. However, the Bethany Fund Board may prioritize proposals for community-based organizations with limited access to other funds.

14. Is it possible that our organization's proposal may be accepted but our proposed budget may not?

Yes. As with other grants awarded by various other funding sources, the Fund Board may offer a grant award for an amount, which is different than what has been proposed by your organization. You may receive a grant award with an amended budget.

15. Can our organization's grant be renewed?

Currently, the Bethany Fund awards grants for a one-year term only. However, organizations may apply for funding for up to three consecutive years. In order to be eligible for funding after a one-year grant term has ended, an organization must submit another proposal by the required deadline as designated by the Fund Board. The Fund Board will evaluate the proposal to determine if the organization will receive funding for an additional year. Previous funding for a grant term does not guarantee continued funding in subsequent years.

16. Why does our organization have to provide both a primary and a secondary contact name from our organization?

As part of proposal and review processes of the LOI, we may need to contact you or someone from your organization with questions for clarification. Your organization should make sure that all information provided is accurate and up to date for this purpose.

17. Will the decision as to whether or not our organization receives a grant award be determined solely by the scoring that is done by the Fund Board?

No. The Bethany Fund Board will seek to provide equitable treatment to all applicants in both the LOI and proposal review processes. However, due to limitations of funding, factors other than scoring must also be taken into consideration for grant awards. The Bethany Fund Board may take into account other factors such as: funding priority, amount of grant request, type of service provided, location of the organization and areas-of-service provision in determining grant awards.

18. If our organization is awarded a grant, are we required to submit reports on the progress of our funded program?

Yes. Reports are an important tool to provide feedback to the Bethany Fund Board as to the progress and results of your organization's proposed program. An interim report is an opportunity for you as the organization to assess your organization's progress towards meeting your program's goals and objectives. A final report allows an opportunity for your organization to assess your proposed plan, review challenges and successes of the program, and to develop best practices which may help your organization with future funding. Timely submission of reports will be important, as they may impact when your organization may receive fund disbursements.

19. What tips do you have that may help our organization submit an award-winning grant proposal?
In order to develop a successful LOI or proposal, your organization will want to give careful consideration to the design, implementation and evaluation of your proposed project. In describing the proposed project, applicants should make sure that all points are addressed in the LOI and proposal. Include all documents as requested. Develop a sound budget and make sure that you demonstrate that your proposed budget expenditures are necessary to carry out your plan. These tips will help support your efforts.

20. Can I request a copy of the reviewers' comments for my LOI application and/or proposal?

No. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of submissions, reviewers' comments are not available to applicants.

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