Grant Request Guidelines

The Application Process

All new requests for funding begin on this website.  The Foundation does not automatically send organizations notice that a funding cycle is open. 

Funding Cycles:   

Spring Funding Cycle
Opens: February 15.  Submission Deadline: April 1.
Funds are typically disbursed by the end of June.

Fall Funding Cycle
Opens: August 15.  Submission Deadline: October 1.
Funds are typically disbursed by the end of December.

Meetings with Foundation staff to discuss application requests should be scheduled as soon as possible and conducted no later than 7 - 10 days prior to the cycle's submission deadline.

Applications received after a deadline will not be considered.

Getting Started: 

When you click, “I Am Ready to Apply” on the APPLY FOR GRANT page, you will be directed to the login page of the Foundation’s Grantee Portal.   If you have not already set up a user account, the site will provide instructions for creating it.  Once logged in, you are asked to complete a short “REQUEST TO APPLY” form to begin the process.  This form is sent to the Foundation staff.  If your organization is eligible to apply, you will receive an email with a link to the full grant application.

The Grantee Portal is the site to view, edit and submit your grant application.  Once an application is in progress, it can be accessed by returning to the link in the email sent to you, or by bookmarking the Grantee Portal on your browser, or through the GRANTEE PORTAL tab on 

You can access an application as often as needed before it is submitted.  Organizations can have multiple logins to the Grantee Portal and each individual can edit an application that is in progress.  Once an application is submitted, the application is locked and no additional changes are allowed unless authorized by Laffey-McHugh staff.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What organizations are eligible to apply?

  • The organization must be a 501(c)3 public charity in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service.  First time applicants are required to upload its IRS Determination Letter.     

  • The organization must primarily support people or programs in Delaware.  

  • The organization does not lobby, is not seeking funds for promotion of a religion or a political cause, and the organization is not primarily an organization that re-grants funding to other nonprofit organizations.

What type of funding requests are preferred?

  • A majority of the Foundation’s funding is aligned with defined programs or services but the Foundation will consider requests for a variety of uses including general operations, and for small or large capital projects.  

Does the Foundation support capital campaigns?

  • Rarely.  Most funding by the Foundation supports programs, projects or operations with implementation timelines under 12-months.  Generally, the Foundation does not provide funding for endowments or restricted capital campaigns.

What is a typical grant size?

  • The average grant is $20,000-$30,000.  If an organization is seeking funding above that level, we strongly recommend having a discussion with the Laffey-McHugh staff prior to submitting the grant application.

Does the Foundation provide multi-year grants?

  • Very rarely.                                                                                                                                                                                           

Will the funding have restrictions? 

  • Very rarely.  Although the funding is aligned with a specific initiative, the funds are considered unrestricted and do not need to be set aside in a restricted pool.   Once grant funding is provided, if there is a significant change in the use of funds, the organization is required to alert the foundation about the revised plan before the funds are re-purposed.

Are there preferred uses for the grant?

  • Funding from Laffey-McHugh can be used for a range of purposes.  The most common use of funding covers costs related to a project, program or a pilot initiative.  The funding can sometimes be a catalyst, or it can provide an organization with a bridge before seeking other funding.  Pilot programs should include a budget, implementation plan with timelines, and partner commitments.  Requests with a clear path for sustainability are favored over requests for compensation or basic operational items.  The Foundation does not typically fund dinners, awards, golf outings or other fundraising and recognition events.

Are small nonprofit organizations eligible to apply?

  • Yes.  Approx. 40% of the Foundation's grants in the past 5-years have been to organizations with fewer than 10 employees and 35% to organizations with revenue under $1 million.  It is rare, however, for the Foundation to provide funding to a non-profit that is just starting if it does not have some operating experience or other sources of funding.

Does the Foundation fund national nonprofit organizations?

  • The Foundation favors organizations with programs and services that are proximate to people in Delaware.  If an organization is national or regional, the funding request should include clarity on precisely how much of the funding will be used in Delaware.

Does the Foundation support faith-based organizations?

  • Yes.  The Foundation provides funding to many faith-based organizations that provide services in the community.  The Foundation does not, however, provide funding to support a religious group or the promotion of a religion.

Does the Foundation support advocacy efforts?

  • The Foundation does not fund 501(c)4 organizations or organizations with a lobbying function.  The Foundation rarely supports requests for advocacy services if they involve interactions with elected officials or have any political message.  

What level of financial documentation is required in the application? 

  • The Foundation requests information on the organization’s sources of revenue and its expenses, the current cash balance, and the current level of debt.  This information should be available for the past year, the current year, and the projected total for the next year.  Larger nonprofit organizations are expected to provide financial statements from QuickBooks or a similar software and a detailed budget related to the request.  These organizations should also provide the most recent 990 tax filing and an audit report.  We will work with smaller organizations if they do not have easy access to these types of reports.     

What are the reporting requirements for grantees?

  • The Foundation does not expect an organization to develop new or specific measurement systems for the Laffey-McHugh grant.  We require an evaluation of the grant within 12 months.  The evaluation should include an assessment of the impact of the grant and the success at achieving the goals set out in the grant request.  The evaluation is a critical consideration for any future funding requests.     

What are the restrictions for re-applying for a grant?

  • The Foundation does not restrict new applications whether a previous application was funded or not.  However, we strongly encourage the organization to contact the Foundation before submitting a new request, especially if the previous request was not funded.

Do you have a preferred writing style in the application?

  • You do not need to be a grant writer! The Foundation favors concise and direct responses that help us understand the passion and focus of the organization along with a clear plan for how the proposed funding will be used to advance the organization’s mission.  It is extremely important to communicate any recent changes in the organization, its programs, finances or leadership.  The executive summary question, in particular, is an opportunity to define the need or audience for your services, how the funding will be used, how you will measure if the funding was successful, and how it will be sustained over time.  We expect a reasonable execution plan and timeline and prefer to see meaningful partnerships with other nonprofits.  It is helpful to avoid acronyms or assumptions about our understanding of the population you serve (we are not subject matters experts).