Many Hands is pleased to provide answers to the following questions we received from potential applicants for the 2021 Grant Cycle.
Scope and Breadth of Applicant Program
Q: Do you recommend applying for project funding or general operating funding?
A: We do not provide guidance on which type of proposal might be more successful. Many Hands has previously funded new projects, existing projects, and ongoing operating expenses.
Q: We are planning to break ground on a new facility for our services in December of this year. The construction period will last 13-18 months, so we are wondering whether Many Hands DC would consider a capital request for this grant? Or if you would prefer a request for program operations?
A: Many Hands has previously funded ongoing program operations, one-time expenses to expand or improve a program, general operating expenses, as well as capital projects including the purchase of capital assets. We have no institutional preference for one type of request over any other.
Q: Could you provide any examples of successful projects that have been funded? We have applied for the past several years unsuccessfully so any guidance would be helpful!
A: Information on our prior grantees is located at manyhandsdc.org/grantees/. Many of our grantees applied multiple times before receiving a grant, and we do not consider multiple applications a negative. As a member-driven organization, we empower our members to determine how grant funds are allocated each year. As a result, it is impossible to predict what combination of priorities and preferences will shape our members’ decisionmaking at a particular point in time. Our mission–to make a lasting impact on Washington, DC area women, children, and families in socioeconomic need–drives all our grantmaking, but it is up to our members to decide how that takes shape each year.
Q: Is a stronger application one that explicitly applies for funding for female populations?
A: Many Hands funds organizations and programs that serve women, children, and families in socioeconomic need. To be eligible for a grant, either the organization or the program for which funding is sought must serve primarily women, families, and/or children.
Q: Can you confirm if eligible applicants must meet certain budget criteria? That is, must have a general operating budget that falls within particular guidelines? And if so, are there any exceptions to this depending on the particular circumstances of a nonprofit?
A: Applicant organizations must meet certain budget requirements. The organization must have an annual budget of at least $500,000–at least $450,000 must be in cash–and a maximum annual budget of $10,000,000. We do not make exceptions to the minimum or maximum budgets. The requirement for a $500,000 minimum organization budget is an absolute minimum and the $10,000.000 maximum budget is an absolute maximum.
Q: Can you provide further clarity around the “in cash” requirement?
A: The “in cash” requirement is intended to distinguish between cash and in-kind contributions. For example, if an organization has a $500,000 operating budget, but $400,000 of that budget is the value of in-kind contributions, the organization would not meet our $450,000 minimum in-cash requirement.
Local Chapter of National Organization
Q: We are part of a national organization with a budget larger than $10 million, but as a local DC region we are responsible for all our own fundraising and our budget is less than the $10 million maximum. We do have a local board of directors that are responsible for fundraising, although they are not a governing board. Is our organization eligible for a Many Hands grant?
A: Local affiliates of national organizations are eligible for a Many Hands grant if the local affiliate meets two criteria. First, the local affiliate must have an independent budget that meets Many Hands’ budget requirements; your DC region affiliate appears to meet that requirement. Second, the local affiliate must have a fiduciary governing board; advisory or solely fundraising boards do not qualify. It appears that your local board does not meet this requirement.