Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What types of grants do you fund?
    The Graves Foundation’s mission is centered around ensuring every school in Hennepin county a “great school” and providing the necessary supports to youth transitioning from Foster care. We approach our work through an equity lens, and so our attention and resources are focused on communities that have been historically under-invested. To meet this mission, we fund emerging and visionary leaders that will push forward change, and create real impact within the communities that we serve. More specifically, our funding falls into the following four priorities:
    The Vision of Great School Leaders. Great leaders drive change, but more importantly, great leaders ensure changes made produce a lasting impact on society. The Graves Foundation gives grants to support great leaders of K-12 schools and fund their ideas, programs, and organizations centered around education equity.
    System Change Efforts. To create great schools, some systems, policies and procedures must change. The Graves Foundation funds organizations who work toward creating education equity by tackling system-wide policy changes on the districts we serve.
    Involvement in Schools, School Systems, and School Policy. The voice, advocacy and support of parents, students, teachers and community members within education is an essential to creating a sustaining great schools. The Graves Foundation funds organizations who unite, train, develop, and support parent and student engagement within education.
    Support for Youth Transitioning out of Foster care. There is a gap in supports for youth transitioning out of Foster care services. The Graves Foundation funds organizations who provide support and care to transitioning youth within Hennepin County. Note: The Graves Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals for this funding priority.
  2. Where can I find more information on LOI requirements?
    The following link to Letter of Inquiry (LOI) requirements will provide the most pertinent information. If you have limited experience submitting LOIs, please direct your specific questions regarding your LOI to foundation Deputy Director, DeSeandra Sheppheard (deseandra@jdgravesfoundation.org).
  3. Can I send more information with the LOI (charts, budget, other organization information)?
    To review LOIs in the most efficient manner, we ask that additional information is held until requested.
  4. What is the maximum amount I can request?
    The Graves Foundation approves funding requests up to $100,000. First time grantees have typically received funding in the range of $15,000 to $40,000. For a complete list of 2016 non-discretionary grants, see: 2016 Grants.
  5. Can I apply for a multi-year grant?
    The Graves Foundation values the creation and cultivation of relationships with our partners. This assists us in determining the success/impact of a grant. Because of this, multi-year grants are only open to organizations who have completed a one-year grant cycle through our open grant round. At the end of your first grant cycle, you may discuss moving to a multi-year grant. Please note that the Graves Foundation is not a long term, sustainable source of funding for your organization.
  6. What type of organizations can apply?
    Organizations with a designated 501(c)3 status as well as organizations and emerging leaders with a designated fiscal agent may apply. Note that our mission, vision, and funding priorities guide our decision-making and only tightly aligned organizations and programs are likely to receive Graves Foundation grants.
  7. We are based in Minneapolis but have other locations, can we apply?
    The Graves Foundation funds organizations that support Hennepin County residents, specifically. General operating funding requests may be approved. However programs, and initiatives should be directed toward traditionally under-invested Minneapolis and first ring suburban communities.
  8. I’m an individual who wants to start an organization, can I apply?
    Supporting emerging leaders is a part of The Graves Foundations’ vision and goals. Leaders who wish to open new organizations, start new programs or create other initiatives that do not currently exist in Hennepin County, may contact the Deputy Director, DeSeandra Sheappheard (deseandra@jdgravesfoundation.org), to discuss eligibility for initiating our strategic grantmaking process. Note that the number of strategic grant opportunities for emerging leaders is limited. Our mission, vision, and funding priorities guide our decision-making on eligibility.
  9. My grant application was denied, can I reapply?
    To ensure every applicant receives the same time, attention and care, we ask that those who are denied wait until the next grant cycle to reapply. Prior to reapplying it is best to discuss your proposal and denial letter with the foundation before resubmitting. The Graves Foundation is not able to discuss denial applications until after our grant round ends.
  10. Can someone assist me, personally, with my grant application?
    Due to time restraints during the responsive grant cycle, proposals must be fully developed by grant-seekers. However, you may contact Deputy Director, DeSeandra Sheappheard (deseandra@jdgravesfoundation.org) with questions regarding application guidelines and funding priorities.
  11. Can I apply if I have an open grant with the Graves Foundation?
    Grantees that have open grants should speak directly to the Deputy Director regarding other funding ideas or needs, multi-year funding, and other requests. Those with open grants are not allowed to apply during the responsive grant cycle. Once your grant cycle is complete, you may reapply or discuss multi-year funding at that time.
  12. How do I apply for a Foster Care grant?
    Foster care grants are typically requested or co-developed by the Graves Foundation. If you have questions or would like to discuss your organizations funding needs around transitioning youth, please contact Deputy Director, DeSeandra Sheappheard (deseandra@jdgravesfoundation.org).
  13. Why are Foster Care LOIs only accepted upon request?
    Because the Graves Foundation’s Foster Care priority is intended to serve a small population, we believe we can have greatest impact through the co-design of grant proposals.