Frequently-Asked Questions

Q: Are there application deadlines?
A: Our application portal is open 24/7/365. However, we must cut off grant applications twice a year in order to allow our staff enough time to review applications, perform due diligence, and conduct site visits before our semiannual board meetings. Upcoming cutoff dates are:

LOI due Complete app due Board meeting Checks issued
May 24, 2019 July 2, 2019 November 11, 2019 December 31, 2019
December 13, 2019 January 31, 2020 May 8, 2020 June 30, 2020
May 22, 2020 July 3, 2020 November 9, 2020 December 31, 2020

In other words, if you submit a new LOI today, you would be asking for funding in June 2020.

Q: I started an application but couldn't gather all my info before the cutoff date. Do I have to start all over again?
A: No. You will simply be eligible for the next grant period (assuming you complete your application by its deadline).

Q: Can I apply via e-mail, U.S. mail, or fax?
A: No. We require all applications to go through our online application system.

Q: So, how much should I ask you for?
A: That depends. In general, we are most receptive to large requests ($50K+) from organizations we have worked with before. If you are entirely new to us, we'd suggest a smaller initial request; if that project goes well, you'll be in a much stronger position to make a larger request during a future grant cycle.

Q: Can I meet with the Foundation before I submit an LOI?
A: We have a very small staff, and we've found that most organizations can introduce themselves and their proposed project very well simply through a well-thought-out LOI. If you have questions as to what program area you should apply under, etc., we suggest e-mailing info@mcelhattan.org. If we like your LOI, you'll be invited to submit a full application, and if we like your full application, we'll schedule a site visit to meet you.

Q: I have a question about my application. Can I speak with someone at the Foundation?
A: If you've already heard from the staff member responsible for your application, please feel free to reach out to that person via phone or e-mail. If you are too early in the application process to have a Foundation staff contact, please e-mail info@mcelhattan.org. You may also call us at 412-450-0173, but we're a very small team and you will probably get a faster reply via e-mail.

Q: What applications will you not fund?
A: The McElhattan Foundation does not fund:

  • Individuals or families seeking private financial assistance
  • Scholarships, with the exception of the Dr. Glenn McElhattan Scholarship at Clarion University
  • Organizations without 501(c)(3) status, according to the Internal Revenue Service (which includes organizations operating primarily outside the U.S.)
  • Lobbying
  • Political campaigns
  • General community development projects that do NOT benefit Franklin and/or Knox, PA. We will consider regional projects that focus on communities in addition to Franklin and/or Knox, but you must specify what percentage of funds will apply to the two towns we support.
  • Proposals claiming to fit into one of our program areas that bear virtually no real connection to them

Q: What is your policy on covering indirect costs?
A: The Foundation will cover up to 10% of indirect costs for research universities in the United States. We do not cover indirect costs for other applicants. Applicants from research universities should discuss indirect costs with their program officer while they are preparing their full application.

Q: When will I hear from the Foundation about the status of my application?
A: You will receive an automated confirmation via e-mail when you submit your LOI online. If our staff would like to see a full application, we will e-mail you a link where you can fill that out. When you submit that application, you will once again receive an automated confirmation e-mail. After this point, foundation staff will be in touch, generally within a week, to discuss your application, request additional information, etc. If we like your full application, we'll contact you to set up a site visit. After that, you probably will not hear from us until after the meeting where our board decides whether or not to fund your grant. We will attempt to inform applicants as soon as possible about the board's decisions—generally we will call or e-mail you within the week.

Q: How should I prepare for a site visit?
A: Please don't go out of your way to prepare for us—we just want to see your facility in person on a typical day and spend time talking to your team. If it's possible for us to observe the specific program you're asking us to fund, we would love to see that! We'd like to meet with your CEO or ED, key team members of the project you'd like us to fund, and, if you like, one of your board members. We'd love to meet some of the people your organization serves, if that is possible. You'll be meeting with our ED, our chairman, and perhaps an additional foundation employee or board member.

Q: My application was rejected. Can I get some feedback?
A: We are happy to provide feedback when time permits. Please contact us.

Q: I have some thoughts on your application process.
A: Great—we'd be happy to hear them. Please e-mail your staff contact or info@mcelhattan.org.