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Common Good Funds Orientation Session What is a community foundation? Community foundations build and strengthen communities by making it possible for a wide range of donors to participate in creating permanent (and often named) funds to meet present and future needs.

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Common Good Funds Orientation Session

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Common Good Funds

Orientation Session


What is a community foundation?

  • Community foundations build and strengthen communities by making it possible for a wide range of donors to participate in creating permanent (and often named) funds to meet present and future needs.
  • The four roles of community foundations are:
    • Donor services provider
    • Grantmaker
    • Convener
    • Caretaker of resources

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta strengthens our region by providing quality services to donors and innovative leadership on community issues.

connecting passion with purpose
Connecting passion with purpose
  • 2008 estimates indicate the Foundation made grants close to $90 million
  • Types of funds at the Foundation:
    • Donor Advised
    • Designated
    • Common Good Funds
    • Community Initiatives
    • Local Funds
    • Scholarships
    • Supporting Organizations
accessing the foundation s donors
Accessing the Foundation’s donors

Donors are requesting information on nonprofits from staff with greater frequency

Foundation is providing more communications about issues and nonprofits

Foundation staff does not recommend organizations to donors unless requested

Foundation will be posting information on grantees on our website to encourage


Philanthropic Framework

Our Philanthropic Framework explains how we intend to have a greater impact on communities in our region. By connecting donors, nonprofits, community leaders and others, we will continue to address community needs through philanthropy.

guiding principles
Guiding Principles
  • We are a regional institution; therefore we understand and actively support communities throughout the 23 counties.
  • We value working with others; therefore we partner with people and institutions to strengthen our communities.
  • We value learning; therefore we dedicate time to research, discuss, study and reflect upon the most proven and promising practices and reports in our field.
  • We believe in the power of individuals to build community will; therefore we nurture and support effective leadership.
guiding principles8
Guiding Principles
  • We value a strong nonprofit sector; therefore we support nonprofits to do innovative, impactful work.
  • We value quality service; therefore we openly listen and respond to our constituents with a readiness to adjust our approach.
  • We are an organization that values shared contributions; therefore we support an environment that encourages diversity of thought, teamwork, ethical conduct, transparency and trust.

Engage our Community

As philanthropists, people invest resources—financial, human and intellectual—individually and collectively to improve the well-being of our region. Philanthropists are knowledgeable and passionate about the issues affecting our community and the institutions addressing those issues.


Strengthen the Region’s Nonprofits

A strong nonprofit region is a collaborative one made up of organizations that effectively manage operations and high-performing programs based on community need. This requires knowledgeable and capable staff, strong leadership, value for innovation, a clear vision and a plan.


Advance Public Will

Individuals and institutions in the Atlanta region understand that the well-being of each community member is connected to that of every other. Community members address critical issues through accessible and collaborative debate, discussion, informed decision-making and targeted advocacy focused on public policy.


Practice Organizational Excellence

The Community Foundation must build internal strength to have external community impact. This includes a financial focus on growing an endowment for the region as well as a staff and Board focus on supporting a diverse work environment that encourages learning, leadership and transparency.

how are the common good funds changing
How are the Common Good Funds changing?
  • During the coming years the Foundation will place emphasis on:
  • General Operating Support for Organizations
  • Nonprofit Effectiveness
  • Advancing Public Will
  • Innovation
what is the emphasis for 2009
What is the emphasis for 2009?

General Operating Support – unrestricted dollars to support the day to day activities of nonprofit organizations.

Nonprofit Effectiveness – providing resources for grantees’ professional and organizational development

why focus on operating support
Why focus on operating support?

Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF)

what to expect from the common good funds in 2009
Three grant cycles with Letter of Intent to Apply for Grant Funding deadlines on March 16, June 15 and September 14

An average of 12 grants per cycle

Grants ranging $10,000 to $75,000 (no more than 10% of an organization’s annual operating budget)

Grants spanning 12 or 24 months

Changed eligibility criteria and activities not eligible for funding

Shorter timeline and different review process

What to expect from the Common Good Funds in 2009
eligibility requirements
Be located and providing services within the Foundation’s 23-county service area; all funds from Common Good Funds grants must be spent within the 23-county service area;

Be classified by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service under Section 501(c)(3) of the I.R.S. code as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, donations to which are deductible as charitable contributions under Section 170 (c)(2) and the I.R.S. determination must be current;

Be registered with the Georgia Secretary of State as a nonprofit;

Eligibility Requirements

To apply for a grant, you must…

eligibility requirements20
Have a minimum two-year operating history after receiving its 501(c)(3) classification;

Have an annual operating budget more than $100,000 and less than $15 million as reflected in the most recently filed I.R.S. Form 990;

Have at least one full-time paid employee (paid minimum wage or more, working 2,080 hours or more) for at least 12 months prior to submitting a Letter of Intent (please note that contractors or consultants do not count toward this requirement);

Eligibility Requirements

To apply for a grant, you must…

eligibility requirements21
Have a written strategic or business plan for the whole organization that includes measureable goals and methods to assess effectiveness;

Have received funding from at least three different types of sources such as individuals, foundations, businesses, churches and government but excluding The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta;

Have audited financial statements for the past two completed fiscal years for organizations with annual budgets over $250,000; must have financial statements reviewed by an independent, certified public accountant for the past two completed fiscal years for organizations with annual budgets between $100,000 and $249,999;

Eligibility Requirements

To apply for a grant, you must…

eligibility requirements22
Have filed their final reports as specified in the grant contract if a former Common Good Funds grant recipient;

Have a Board of Directors where all members donate cash or financially measureable in-kind contributions each fiscal year;

Have a Board of Directors with representation from the community served and committee structure that ensures the necessary mix of skills to succeed

Eligibility Requirements

To apply for a grant, you must…

not eligible for funding
Operating expenses for private and publicly funded schools (K-12) and institutions of higher learning. This does not include nonprofit charter schools.

Nonprofit organizations with annual budgets of less than $100,000 and greater than $15,000,000

Grants to individuals

Organizations that have not filed end of grant reports for previous Common Good Funds grant

Not eligible for funding
not eligible for funding24
Fundraising and marketing events

Religious services and education

Endowment funds

Capital Campaign contributions (for building construction or renovation) or use of funds to cover capital campaign feasibility studies or campaign implementation expenses. This does not include regular maintenance and capital improvements.

Not eligible for funding
what is the new process
What is the new process?

Organizations submit Letters of Intent to Apply for Grant Funding using the form on our website

Foundation staff reviews all Letters of Intent and invites approximately 20-30 organizations to submit a Final Application

Invited organizations submit Final Applications

Foundation staff reviews all Final Applications and selects organizations to receive site visits

Foundation staff members conduct site visits

Funding recommendations are made to the Foundation’s Board of Directors and grants are awarded


Letter Of Intent (LOI)

Drop-down menus for the top three counties served


Describe the mission & summarize the history of the organization (1,000 characters)

Letter Of Intent (LOI)

Polite Society Association’s mission is to increase the level of cordiality among the members of our communities. Begun in 1991 by a group of local leaders in Somewherenice, GA the initial project was to decrease the level of impolite behavior among elderly members of local faith organizations. Incorporated as a nonprofit in 1992, PSA has worked tirelessly to reduce the rash of senior cliques promoting rudeness, to decrease the number of violent verbal outbursts during on-site congregate meals and to introduce new noncompetitive activities during community functions such as fairs, festivals and regularly held programming.


How did you arrive at the total amount requested? (500 characters)

Letter Of Intent (LOI)

PSA wants to expand its reach and in order to do so we need to increase our budget. To help us with fundraising, PSA will hire its first development director in 2009. The full cost of this position is $50,000 annually. We have raised $25,000 for two years and are requesting $25,000 per year for two years to help us establish this new position within our organization.


How will this funding strengthen the organization as a whole and its ability to address external community concerns? (1,000 characters)

Letter Of Intent (LOI)

Currently, our funding sources are not as diversified as we would like them to be. Given the state of the economy, we know it is in our best interest to connect with more individual donors. Your funding will help us increase the diversity of our sources of revenue and raise more dollars, which will in turn allow us to offer more programs to the community. Hiring a development director will also give our executive director more time to focus on the strategic direction of our organization.


Specify how the organization knows it is effective and why the Foundation should invest in it. (1,000 characters)

Letter Of Intent (LOI)

Follow up with congregations shows a 50% reduction in insulting language and impatient behaviors among congregants ages 70-80 after participating in PSA’s workshops. This last year alone, five new congregations have requested our workshops for their senior groups and several youth development organizations have asked to partner with us to develop a program aimed at youth groups. The Foundation should support us because we are the only organization in the metro area doing this kind of work. We enrich the lives of those we serve and build vibrant communities within and among congregations.

terms conditions for submitting a letter of intent
Terms & Conditions for Submitting a Letter of Intent

The organization and the request meet eligibility guidelines. The applicant has reviewed the Common Good Funds Guidelines and both the organization and the request meet all of the eligibility guidelines. Download the Guidelines at for more details;

The organization has filed all End of Grant Reports with the Foundation’s Grants Administrator that are due on past grants. Contact Natasha Battle-Edwards, Grants Administrator, at 404-688-5525 with any questions about reports;

The amount of grant funds requested in this proposal is between $10,000 and $75,000, the range of grant awards available from the Common Good Funds;

terms conditions for submitting a letter of intent38
Terms & Conditions for Submitting a Letter of Intent

To be considered, applicants must email the Letter of Intent to Apply for Grant Funding to before 5:00 p.m. on the deadline day as published in the Common Good Funds Guidelines and elsewhere on the Foundation’s website. Letters of Intent that are received after that time will be declined as late;

This Letter of Intent is part of an open competition. The Community Foundation anticipates receiving up to 200 Letters of Intent based on past experience. After reviewing all Letters of Intent, the Foundation will select up to 30 applicants for more in-depth review and will invite them to submit Final Applications. The Foundation makes its decision to select a proposal for more in-depth review based on the content of the LOI alone. Do not include any attachments;

terms conditions for submitting a letter of intent39
Terms & Conditions for Submitting a Letter of Intent

Organizations that are funded by the Common Good Funds cannot apply for additional funds from the Common Good Funds until they file an End of Grant Report. This rule applies to all of the organizations funded under the same 501(c)(3) number;

Organizations that are declined may apply again by the next deadline, if they wish. Because of the high number of requests made at each deadline, the Foundation does not view applicants that have been declined in any adverse way. If an applicant is declined several times, that organization might contact the Foundation for more detailed feedback.

how will letters of intent be evaluated
How will Letters of Intent be evaluated?

Foundation staff will look for organizations that:

Meet all eligibility criteria including having a current written strategic plan

Have a clear vision of the organization’s role in making a difference in the community

Demonstrate effectiveness through the investment of time and personnel in measuring and planning for success

Demonstrate an ability to communicate concepts in an clear and efficient manner

Foundation staff will also seek to request Final Applications from organizations situated throughout our 23-county region

final application
Final Application

Previous Applications

Geared mostly toward programmatic funding

Asked for attachments only of organizations getting site visits

No written questions on organizational finances or governance

New Final Application

General operating support

Asks for attachments of all organizations completing the Final Application

Covers all aspects of an organization/whole enterprise

final application43
Final Application

Section 1: Organizational Overview

Provides general information about the organization through questions about strategic planning, management consulting, technology, marketing and partnerships

Sample question: How does the organization evaluate its effectiveness and efficiency? How is this information used for planning?

final application44
Final Application

Section 2: Human Resources

Provides basic information on the organization’s staff

Sample question:

final application45
Final Application

Section 3: Mission-Related Activities

Gives applicants the opportunity to discuss mission-related activities such as programs and services and includes questions on population served

Sample question: In what ways do the organization’s mission-related activities have impact on its constituents and community?

final application46
Final Application

Section 4: Governance

Provides a snapshot of the organization’s board of directors’ role

Sample question: How do individual board members fulfill their strategic role regarding leadership, finances, etc.? Include the number and percentage of board members who contributed financially from their own funds or made financially measurable in-kind contributions in the last completed fiscal year.

final application47
Final Application

Section 5: Public Will & Policy

Asks basic questions regarding the organization’s involvement in public policy activities

Question: How does the organization partner with stakeholders and/or organizations to promote mission-related activities that address civic issues and public policies? Does the organization have one or more persons who have responsibility for government relations or public policy? If yes, identify them and describe their role(s).

final application48
Final Application

Section 6: Financial Information

Asks a variety of questions related to the organization’s financial state and infrastructure

Sample question: How is the organization adapting to the current economic climate?

final application49
Final Application

Section 7: What Else?

Limited space for applicants to clarify any information regarding a prior answer or attachment.

final application attachments
Final Application: Attachments

Organizational chart showing titles and personnel

Brief biographies of senior management staff

Board Information Form (document you download from our website)

Summary of current strategic plan

Summary of current resource development plan

Annual report (1 copy if available)

Current FY operating budget

Most current YTD Profit & Loss statement

Most current Balance Sheet 

Most recent financial report as presented to the board 

Two most recent audited or reviewed financial statements as dictated by budget size

List of nongovernmental sources of revenue of $25,000 or more for the organization’s current FY

how will final applications be evaluated
How will Final Applications be evaluated?

Foundation staff will look for organizations that:

Dedicate time to evaluate, plan and assess

Offer programs and services that align with their missions

Have written strategic plans that cover three or more years, include goals and methods to measure effectiveness, and is used to form an annual work plan

Demonstrate financial stability and the potential for sustainability

Have an engaged and accountable Board

Employ staff in leadership positions who have the necessary education, experience and certifications needed to perform their duties well

Engagement in public will and policy a plus

Four primary focus areas:
  • Strategic Planning & Business Analysis
  • Board Development
  • Fund Development Planning
  • Advocacy

How do nonprofits access these resources?

Emerging & Immediate Opportunities – current and past grantees (last five years) can apply for scholarships for professional development and participate in classes and other learning opportunities

Grants Plus – open only to 2009 grantees and NOT something you can apply for; this will be discussed at site visits

Please check the website ( for more information in the coming weeks.

Nonprofit Effectiveness

In 1984, The Community Foundation launched its annual Managing for Excellence Award. This award is presented to an organization that exhibits outstanding nonprofit management.

Awards: Winner: $25,000 general operating support grant and a video and photography highlighting the organization’s excellence; Finalist(s): $5,000 general operating support grant


Qualifying Application groups characteristics and promising practices of well-managed nonprofit organizations into ten categories such as governance, planning, financial management and collaboration.

A volunteer Selection Committee reviews the Qualifying Applications, invites applicants to prepare Round Two application, selects organizations for site visits and picks a Winner and up to two Finalists. 

To learn more, register to attend the orientation session scheduled for March 12 by contacting Phillip Rush at or Kristina Morris at Please check the website ( for guidelines and the Qualifying Application.

Managing for Excellence


Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund

  • The Arts Fund’s programs provide grants, management consulting and loans that strengthen small and midsized arts organizations with annual operating budgets under $2 million. For 2009, the Arts Fund is providing funds for general operating expenses to organizations that have strong, current business plans and serve the community in a robust, vital way.

What can you expect in 2009?

  • Deadline to submit the required Letter of Intent to Apply for Grant Funding on March 6
  • Approximately $500,000 in total grants
  • A very competitive process

Applications and guidelines can be found on the Arts Fund website For more information, please contact

Josh Phillipson, program associate at 404-688-5525 or


Arts Fund Toolbox

  • In addition to grants, the Arts Fund’s Toolbox Award gives small and midsized arts organizations custom-designed packages of management consulting and tools to help them solve key organizational challenges or problems.
  • In 2009, the Toolbox is focused on helping organizations addressing issues of organizational collaboration, financial management, scenario planning, updates to strategic plans and board development.

What can you expect in 2009?

  • Three Toolbox deadlines on March 6, June 26 and October 9
  • Ten to twelve individual awards given throughout the year

Applications and guidelines can be found on the Arts Fund website For more information, please contact Josh Phillipson, program associate at 404-688-5525 or


Arts Fund Loan Fund

  • The Arts Loan Fund helps small and midsized arts organizations meet short term capital needs by providing loans. Each applicant is required to secure its loan with a verifiable source of funds for repayment.
  • Loans of up to $40,000
  • Loans have a maximum term of 12 months and offer market interest rates, typically prime plus 2%
  • Applications to the Loan Fund are evaluated as they are received. In most cases, applicants will be notified within two weeks.

Applications and tools can be found on the Arts Fund website

For more information, please contact Sandy Kring, administrator at


Neighborhood Fund

The Neighborhood Fund helps transform grassroots ideas and energy into products that build relationships, change communities, develops leadership and produce lasting results. The Neighborhood Fund provides comprehensive supports that assist residents and neighborhood groups organize around these strengths and assets.

The Neighborhood Fund provides resources to community groups seeking to impact their community at the local level. Since 1991, more than 300 neighborhood projects have received an estimated $2,000,000 in grants and community coaching. Typical grants have included cultural events, community organizing, neighborhood newsletters, community gardens and more.

Applications and guidelines can be found on our website For more information, please contact Neighborhood Fund staff at or 404-688-5525.


Grants to Green

  • Grants to Green is a collaborative initiative that provides metro Atlanta nonprofits with resources to “green up” their facilities through renovation or new construction of healthier, eco-friendly work places through threeopportunities:
    • (1) Assessment: Energy & Water Use Assessment: Not a cash grant, but a service performed for the nonprofit for Green renovation and expansion projects.
    • (2)Assessment: Other Green Operations Services: These services go beyond an Energy and Water Use Assessment.  It is not a cash grant, but services performed for the nonprofit by Southface, which will examine the recipient organization’s programs and operations and recommend sustainability measures.
    • (3) Implementation Grants: This is a cash grant (up to $50,000) to the nonprofit that can be used to support the Green renovation of existing structures as well as development of new Green construction.
  • Next Orientation Session will be on March 18; deadline for the Letter of Intent is April 13. Email with any questions.

Local Funds

  • The Foundation helps Local Funds build their capacity to identify local issues and local assets which can combine with other resources to solve community problems.
  • Clayton County
  • Fayette County
  • Morgan County
  • Newton County
  • Each has its own local grantmaking program with separate deadlines from the main Common Good Funds program. Check the county pages on the website ( for details.

An Extra Wish

  • To be eligible to apply in 2009, a prospective applicant must:
  • Be a 501(c)(3) public charity
  • Have been reviewed through a formal, competitive program at The Community Foundation in the last 3 years
  • Have an operating budget between $30,000-$15,000,000
  • Operate within the Foundation’s 23-county service area
  • Applicants may request an item or items (no more than three unique items) valued at no more than $5,000 total. Requests may include:
    • Supplemental resources for program participants
    • Capital items
    • Program resources for organizations
  • Applications and guidelines can be found on our website The first deadline is March 16.
in conclusion
In Conclusion

Grant seeking is a competitive process and the Common Good Funds cannot fund every request.

The Common Good Funds considers geography when deciding which organizations to fund.

Letter of Intent deadlines are firm.

The Letter of Intent is only accepted by email – send it as an attachment to by 5:00 p.m. on the deadline day (Monday, March 16).

If you do not receive an acknowledgement email within three business days of submitting your Letter of Intent, call our Grants Administrator! This means we did not receive it.

program contacts
Program Contacts

Natasha Battle-Edwards, Grants Administrator (

Kristina Morris, Program Associate (

Kathy Palumbo, Director of Community Partnerships (

Lita Pardi, Program Officer (

Tené Traylor, Program Officer (