Our aim is to make applying for a grant from BCF as easy and seamless as possible, and to make our process transparent. The FAQs below provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our grant programs, applications, and reporting processes.
BCF supports a wide range of organizations, programs, and efforts that are dedicated to uplifting the Brookline community. Our grantmaking priorities are focused on supporting organizations, efforts, programs, and initiatives that uplift the Brookline community, increase access to essential resources and services, address racial and economic inequity, and help every member of the community thrive.
Through our grantmaking, BCF supports:
General operating expenses
Project and program funding
Community- and movement-building initiatives
Capacity building, strategic planning & staff training
For more information about focus areas and program-specific goals and priorities within our individual grant programs, please refer to the specific grant program page.
We aim to work with organizations, efforts, and initiatives with a shared commitment to advancing equity and support organizations and efforts that seek to address the root causes of inequity, remedy the immediate and long-term impacts of inequity in Brookline, and remove barriers to opportunities for community members.
Grants to support capital building and improvement projects
Grants to support capacity building and strategic planning
Grants to support staff development and training
Sector-, community-, and movement-building grants
We also offer multi-year grants through some of our grant programs, depending on available grant dollars in the current fiscal year. Our grant programs focus on a wide variety of issue areas. Please refer to our grant programs overview to learn more about individual grant programs.
BCF will consider requests for sector building such as research and advocacy activities that demonstrate or elevate a community need or opportunity. Examples of community building and movement building efforts include events, programs, outreach campaigns and initiatives, or organizing and advocacy work that bring together diverse populations to build a stronger community.
An RFP or “Request for Proposal” is an invitation to submit a proposal or application for a grant. BCF’s RFPs are accessible on each grant program page and typically include the grant program description, aim, and priorities; eligibility criteria, and; the application submission process, including key dates and deadlines.
With only occasional exceptions, we do not set a minimum or maximum grant amount for most of our grant programs.
Most BCF grants fall within the range of $5,000 – $15,000; however, we have funded and will continue to consider funding projects at higher levels. For instance, through our Safety Net Grant Program and Racial Equity Grant Program, we have provided grants that are $30,000 and up.
Please see the specific grant program page you are interested in applying to for more details.
BCF is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit. As a community foundation, BCF is primarily supported by individuals in the community through annual giving, legacy giving, and fund creation. Additional funding sources are the Town of Brookline as well as local organizations and businesses that contribute towards our grantmaking programs. We invite you to learn more about our donors & supporters.
501(c)(3) nonprofits organizations, Town departments or agencies, and community groups can apply for funding. Grant applications should address a need in Brookline and directly benefit members of the Brookline community. We define the Brookline community as those who live, learn, work, or play in Brookline.
If an organization or project is new and/or not yet tax-exempt or not yet a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, an application may be submitted through a fiscal sponsorship. BCF will assist applicants in identifying an appropriate fiscal sponsor as well as connecting the applicant with a representative from the fiscal sponsor organization. If you are interested in pursuing fiscal sponsorship, please refer to the FAQ below for more information.
Please see our additional guidelines below on Town department and agency grant applications.
To be eligible, an applicant must be operated and organized so that it does not discriminate in the hiring of staff or provision of services on the basis of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or disability.
501(c)(3) nonprofits organizations, Town departments or agencies, and community groups can apply for funding. If an organization or project is new and/or not yet tax-exempt (is not a 501(c)(3) nonprofit), an application may be submitted through a fiscal sponsorship. If you are interested in pursuing fiscal sponsorship, please refer to the FAQ below for more information.
Please see our guidelines on Town department and agency grant applications.
Yes. Organizations are able to apply for more than one BCF grant program per year. Organizations may also submit more than one application to a specific BCF grant program as long as the applications are for different projects and/or project expenses.
Yes. If the project or program involves a collaboration between two or more organizations, we ask that the collaboration selects one organization to serve as the ‘applicant organization’ and submit the application under their organization’s tax ID number on behalf of the collaboration. The applicant organization will receive the grant funds, if awarded, and is responsible for dispersing those funds to partner organizations as indicated in the proposal budget.
Fiscal sponsorship is a formal arrangement in which an existing tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization (the “fiscal sponsor”) enters into an agreement with a group or organization seeking to conduct a charitable project (the “sponsored organization/applicant”) either prior to or without incorporating or obtaining recognition as a tax-exempt organization from the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”).
The role of the fiscal sponsor is to provide fiduciary oversight, financial management, and other administrative services to help build the capacity of the applicant. The role of the sponsored organization/applicant is to implement and operate the project.
A fiscal sponsor typically charges a monthly or annual administrative fee based on the amount of the grant received to support the applicant. This fee is often calculated as a percentage of the grant received (usually averaging between 3-5%, generally no higher than 10%). If an organization is using a fiscal sponsor, you may include the fee as part of the project budget.
Yes. If your organization decides to be a fiscal sponsor, you may act as fiscal sponsor for community groups applying for BCF grants.
A fiscal sponsor often has a standard sponsorship agreement. As the terms and conditions of the fiscal sponsorship arrangement, including the rights and liabilities of the parties, will be set forth in the agreement, it is advisable to have qualified legal counsel review the agreement before you sign it.
We ask a variety of questions in our grant applications, most of which are aimed at learning more about your organization or project, your work, and the positive impact you hope to achieve in the Brookline community. You may also download a Word template of the full application from the right-hand sidebar menu on any of our individual grant program pages.
If you wish to submit your proposal via email or mail, please complete all the required application materials and send your completed application and supplements to email@example.com via email or mail your application to:
Program & Partnerships Team
40 Webster Place
Brookline, MA 02445
Please note we cannot consider mailed applications that arrive after the application deadline has passed.
Apply another way
Some of our grant programs allow for applicants to apply through videos or one-on-one conversations with our Program & Partnerships team. Grant programs that offer these application methods will clearly state so in their request for proposals (RFP) and on the individual grant program page.
Yes. If you have a grant application previously submitted to another organization that addresses all the questions in BCF’s application, you are welcome to submit that application to us. To submit, please email the application to firstname.lastname@example.org or upload the original proposal’s content within the online grant application form.
Yes. We encourage applicants to contact us prior to submitting your application so that we may support you, as needed, with your submission. For many of our grant programs, we offer one or more optional opportunities for applicant support and technical assistance. These will be listed in the grant program page and may include: information sessions, 1:1 or small group working sessions, and/or community events/conversations.
Applications must be submitted by the deadline stated in the appropriate RFP. The application deadlines allow us to start our review and get a response back to you as soon as we can. If there is an unexpected situation that arises that prevents your organization from submitting an application by the deadline, please contact us.
Initially, applications are reviewed by our team, then shared with our Program & Grants Committee, which is comprised of BCF board members. In the case of certain grant programs like our Racial Equity Grant Program, proposals are reviewed by our Racial Equity Grant Committee which consists of BCF staff, BCF board members, Brookline community members, and representatives from the Town of Brookline; or like our Safety Net Grant Program, proposals are reviewed by a team of BCF staff and board members Please note that this process may include a site visit or follow up phone call with BCF staff or members of the review committee.
Once the review committee has made their recommendations, they are brought to BCF’s Executive Director and/or Board of Trustees for approval.
During some grant application reviews and at some points during the year, BCF may reach out to organizations to schedule a site visit or a learning visit. This visit provides an opportunity for BCF to learn more about your organization/program and your work in the community.
For each visit, one or two BCF staff, board, or committee members will visit your organization or participate in a call at a mutually agreed upon time. These visits may be in person or virtual, depending on your team’s and the BCF team’s preferences and comfort levels. The BCF member(s) will bring a list of questions to ask you and will leave time for you to ask questions of BCF.
While we appreciate an opportunity to see your work in action, it is not a requirement that we view a program or activity during our visit. We see these visits as an opportunity to learn from you and from those you work with in whatever way is most helpful and appropriate. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to better accommodate you and your team during these visits.
You will be notified by email if your organization receives funding or, in some cases, if funding is not available for your organization at this time. Even if we are not able to provide you with funding for a particular request, we welcome the opportunity to support you in identifying alternate sources of funding and encourage you to stay in touch with BCF for future partnership and grant opportunities.
Within each grant program, all proposals are carefully considered in light of our grantmaking guidelines, current priority areas, and available funding. In many cases, BCF receives far more grant applications than we have funds available and the grant review teams have to make difficult decisions. Unfortunately, we are unable to fund every meaningful project that is submitted.
If your organization is not selected to receive a grant within a grant round, you are welcome to contact BCF to learn more about this decision. You are also still eligible to apply for funding within other BCF grant programs or future grant cycles.
Yes. BCF invites applicants to share feedback as part of the application (please see optional feedback questions at the end of the application) and welcomes applicants to reach out directly to share feedback, questions, or ideas. Periodically, we provide anonymous feedback surveys to collect feedback about specific grant programs or initiatives.
BCF recognizes that the people and operational systems who lead programs and organizations are crucial to these efforts’ successes. As such, we do not set a limit on indirect costs that can be covered by grants.
No. We do not require you to submit proposal or report budgets in any particular format and will accept project budgets, organizational budgets, and report budgets in whatever form your organization is currently using.
We aim to issue your grant funding in as timely a manner as possible once your grant has been approved and the grant agreement signed. We strive to distribute grant funding within 30 days of signing your grant agreement.
Yes. Our goal is to promote the good work you’re doing through various print materials such as annual reports and mailings, as well as through digital channels like our website and social media. We also send announcements to our mailing lists about new grants awarded, and may ask to write profiles of you to highlight your work.
Communications requirements will be included in your grant agreement, and most often include requests such as:
Acknowledging BCF as a grantor on your website, relevant print materials, at events, and on social media
Providing BCF with 2-3 photos we can use to promote your work
Providing BCF with your social media handles
Indicating whether you are open to being featured in partner spotlight stories
BCF asks grantees to submit a grant report after the completion of the grant-funded project or grant-funded period. Generally, reporting deadlines are scheduled for 60 days after your grant/project period ends, which is often the timeline that was included in your original grant application.
You may submit a report at the end of the grant/project period via a written report (submitted via mail, email, or online through our grant management system) or by setting up a call with our team to discuss your work.
If more time is needed to complete your grant project, you may submit a request for an extension by reaching out to BCF via email or phone. With a no-cost grant extension, your organization can take more time to complete your work and you can submit a report at the end of the extended grant period.
Yes. Reports must be submitted by the deadline, unless a no-cost extension is requested to provide extra time to complete the work of the grant. If there is an unexpected situation that arises that prevents your organization from submitting a report by the deadline, please contact us.
Guidelines for Town of Brookline departments, committees, and commissions seeking BCF funding
Although the majority of BCF’s grantmaking program is directed towards private, not‐for‐profit organizations, there are occasions when the Foundation will accept requests from the Town of Brookline’s Departments, Committees, and Commissions. In addition to the usual criteria, the following requirements also apply to grant applications from public agencies:
In order to stretch limited charitable funds for the greatest impact, funding from BCF will not displace funding for items and services that clearly should be supported by the Town budget. BCF cannot fund programs that have been cut from Town budgets or that the Town is legally required to provide, except when grant requests address immediate needs of underserved populations or enhance existing programs and services.
Prior to submitting a grant request, BCF requires that a Town Department demonstrate that:
There are no available Town funds for its proposed project or program, and/or;
Funds were requested as part of the Departmental budget but denied. Grant requests should also include a description of how the program or project will be sustained in future years.
Town departments are also encouraged to seek matching funds from additional outside sources.
Please contact us at email@example.com with any questions before, during or after the application process. We are happy to discuss ideas prior to submission. Our mailing address and phone number are listed in the footer of this page.