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:

Fall 2020 Grant Cycle:

LOI deadline: June 30, 2020
Full application deadline: August 31, 2020
Board meeting: November 13, 2020
Checks out before: December 31, 2020

Spring 2021 Grant Cycle:
LOI deadline: December 12, 2020
Full application deadline: January 29, 2021
Board meeting: May 7, 2021 (tentative)
Checks out before: June 30, 2021

wdt_ID Grant Cycle LOI Due Full App Due Board Meeting Checks Issued
5 Fall 2021 06/30/2021 08/31/2021 11/12/2021 12/31/2021
6 Spring 2022 12/10/2021 01/28/2022 05/13/2022 06/30/2022

In other words, if you submit a new LOI today in any program area, you are eligible for funding in December 2021. LOI applications have closed for our Spring 2021 grant cycle.

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. We know it might be easier on your end to send us a Word document attached to an e-mail, but we manage our grantmaking through an online system. It helps us comply with regulations about recordkeeping and also keep track of lots of incoming information.

Q: I forgot my login or password to your application portal.
A: Please e-mail for assistance.

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 grant 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're sorry, but we simply don't have the bandwidth to set up meetings with every organization that is considering applying. A well-thought-out LOI can give us a great introduction to your nonprofit and your proposed project. That's how most of our grantees first "meet" us.

That said, though, we really are interested in learning about local organizations working in our program areas. So we're going to try an experiment and hold a few "open office hours" in 2021. (We were originally hoping to host these in coffee shops, but it's looking like Zoom will be more likely.) If you'd like to talk with us about your organization and learn a little more about ours, please stop by! Dates will be posted on the homepage of this site and on our social media channels.

Q: My organization seems to fit more than one of your program areas. How should I choose?
A: Choose which program area seems most appropriate to you. We can change this during the application process if it seems like a different one would be better.

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 You may also call us at 412-450-0173, but we're a small team; 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
  • Repairing, replacing, or installing safety equipment at a nonprofit
  • CPR classes, etc., for nonprofit staff
  • Equipment purchases, unless they are tied to a larger project that fits within our grantmaking strategy
  • Mentorship programs that are not focused on helping students enter and/or complete post-secondary education or training
  • Medical bills
  • 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. If you are requesting a grant that includes indirect costs, please discuss this with your program officer while you are preparing your 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, that would be very helpful. 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 at least one member of our staff, and in many cases, one or two of our board members.

Due to the pandemic, we are conducting site visits via Zoom. While we do plan to resume in-person site visits when we can for local applicants, we will probably continue to do virtual site visits for out-of-town applicants in our Workplace Safety and End-of-Life Planning and Care program areas.

Specific guidance for Zoom site visits: The members of your team who will be actually carrying out the work funded by the grant should plan to attend the Zoom meeting, and they should actively participate in the discussion. It is wonderful to have a member of the community you serve join the call (or a portion of the call) too. Please plan to kick off with a short presentation (15-20 minutes) about your organization and your grant request. Zoom meetings are generally limited to one hour.

Q: What kind of reporting do you require from grant recipients?
A: All grant recipients will need to provide, at minimum, a final report. This is normally due one month after the grant period ends. Multi-year grants and larger grants will require interim reports as well, but we'll work that out case by case. Interim and final reports must be submitted via our online application portal.

Q: The person who started working on our application left our organization, but we still want to be considered. How can I access our online application?
A: Please e-mail, and we'll help you sort it out.

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: We'd be happy to hear your feedback. Please e-mail your staff contact or

Q: How do you pronounce...
A: It's MAC-el-hat-en. (We get that a lot.)