Applicant's Guide to the Grant Making Process

Grant Process Dates

Applicable Grant Period............………. Sep-2020 to Aug-2021

Letter of Inquiry Received...………………………....  5/15/2020*

Full Proposal (if invited) Received...…………….  6/05/2020

Board Grant Review Meeting (tentative)……..  6/24/2020

Approval Letters Issued...…………………...………..  7/31/2020

* Letters of Inquiry and, upon invitation, proposals may be submitted at any time. These will be reviewed by staff and acknowledged as received. However, proposals are accumulated for formal Board presentation and consideration once per year.

In the case of an immediate educational need request which warrants or requires immediate consideration, emergency requests may be submitted at any time and will be given prompt attention.

Board Perspective

The Board of Trustees constantly strives to make the highest and best use of our resources. Just as we value long-term partnerships, we also envision expansion of our role beyond the past and present. We value remaining open and accessible to new organizations and new ideas. The Board of Trustees is also responsive to  emerging trends designed to improve the quality of education and life for Cincinnati's school-aged children.

In order to balance these values against our limited resources and ensure that all applicants have equal footing, we operate on an annual grant making cycle. Woodward Trust has limited financial resources and, while all request will be considered, it is not possible to fund every request.

              - - Letters of Inquiry and applications are welcomed at any time - -

  Our primary annual consideration is performed in June for the following school year.

                       To ensure proper consideration in this annual process,

                      proposals must be received no later than June 5, 2020.

Questions? Email us at or call us at (513) 293-4621.


What We Look For

A strong candidate for a Woodward Trust grant is one that:

  > Clearly aligns with one or more of our Need Components.

  > Has clearly identified needs and has a viable, sustainable solution to meet those needs.

  > Has a clearly defined purpose, timetable and process.

  > Generates measurable results with, for longer-term programs, intermediate milestones.

  > Coordinates and, if appropriate, integrates its efforts with other beneficial organizations and efforts in order to provide a strategic solution.

1. Letter of Inquiry

The first step in applying for a grant from Woodward Trust is to send an informational letter of about one page which briefly provides an overview of the proposed program. Our preferred format is simply an email to Following are some considerations for information you may wish to include in your overview.


> Describe the organization, its history and its affiliations

> Describe the organization's expertise and experience in the field

> Describe the degree of collaboration with other beneficial organizations and efforts, including participation in the STRIVE collaborative.

> Provide a list of current members of your board and officers of the organization


> What does the organization propose to do?

> Why is the program needed?

> What are the short-tern and long-term impacts of the program?

> What is the program timeline? What are its key milestones?

> How will it be administered and by whom?

> Who will be served and where?

> How will the organization evaluate success?

> How does the program relate to Woodward Trust's Need Components?

Grant Request

> How much money are you requesting, and on what schedule?

> How will the funds be used?

> What is the total program budget?

> What are your other proposed sources of funding? How many have been confirmed?


When we receive a Letter of Inquiry, we will use our best efforts to send an acknowledgement within two weeks. Each Letter of Inquiry we receive is reviewed by staff to determine if the proposal appears to fit within our guidelines and warrants further consideration. Staff may request additional information from the applicant.

Based on your Letter of Inquiry and its subsequent review, our staff will determine if the program and grant request satisfy our baseline criteria and, based on that determination, may invite you to submit a Full Proposal. You will be notified of this decision within four weeks.

2. Full Proposal

Upon request for submission of a full proposal, you are expected to provide a detailed description of your proposed program. Our preferred format is one or more PDF files emailed to Please be sure to include those considerations noted in 1. above as well as any other information you consider pertinent to our understanding and appreciation of your program. 

Proposals must include the following:

  > The organization's overall budget, including projected income and its sources;

  > The most recent annual report or Form 990; and

  > IRS Determination Letter of Tax-Exempt Status as a 501c(3), if applicable. (While most of our grant recipients are 501c(3) organizations, this is not a requirement for consideration or approval.)

3. Executive Director Review

When we receive your full proposal, an acknowledgement will be sent within two weeks. Each proposal we receive is reviewed by staff to determine if it fits within our guidelines and warrants Board consideration. We may request additional information from the applicant, meet with applicant representatives, and/or undertake an in-person site visit.

Based on your proposal and the results of their review, the Executive Director, in his/her sole discretion, determines if your proposal will be forwarded for formal consideration by the Board of Trustees. You will be notified of this decision within four weeks.

If the Executive Director does not believe that the proposal warrants further consideration, the proposal and the Executive Director's perspective are reflected in the Grant Applications Pending Termination report provided to the Board. The applicant is thereafter notified and the application is terminated.

4. Board Presentation & Review

The Board meets annually for its primary review of grant applications. In advance of the designated meeting, each Trustee is given a Grant Proposal Assessment Packet which summarizes the proposal  along with a copy of the applicant's Full Proposal. The Trustees discuss the overall financial resources available, and then review each proposal, prior to returning to the task of selecting and quantifying grant approvals and declines.

The Board of Trustees of the Woodward Trust is solely responsible for the approval or denial of any grant proposal presented to it. The Board's decision is ruled by a majority vote of the five trustees.

Once the Board makes its decision, the applicant is contacted shortly thereafter informing them of the Board's decision.

5. Grant Approval

Once a grant is approved, several administrative tasks must be completed prior to disbursement of any grant funds.

  > A Memorandum of Understanding is issued which details the terms and conditions of the grant. This document is required to be signed by your organization's Chief Executive Officer and adopted by your organization's Board of Directors.

  > A USA-PATRIOT Act Compliance Certification

  > Coordination and agreement on funding schedules, program timelines and updates, and Woodward Trust representation within your organization.

  > Other items and actions specific to your grant or the Board's approval thereof.

6. Follow-Up Reporting & Billing

An organization receiving a grant is generally expected to report on the progress and results of the program. In order to achieve uniformity of follow-up reports and assessments, the Trust will ask each grant recipient to provide specific information.

If a grant is structured as reimbursement, the grant recipient is expected to submit regular and timely bills to the Trust, supported by adequate documentation of actual outlays and activities. We will disburse funds within four weeks of receiving your properly supported billing.

If a grant assumes an advance, the grantee is required to provide regular and timely reporting and documentation of subsequent and appropriate actual outlays and activities. Generally, no subsequent advance of funds will be considered until previous advances have been used, accounted for and properly documented. Advances remain the sole property of Woodward Trust until they have been properly utilized, accounted for and documented by the grant recipient. Unused advances, or advances not properly used, may be recalled by Woodward Trust at any time.

7. Performance Assessment

On a regular basis, as determined or requested by Woodward Trust, the grant recipient will be requested to provide written updates on the status of the program, particularly relative to proposed timelines and results. The Trust reserves the right to revoke, restrict or modify any grant not substantially meeting its proposed timeframes and results or otherwise out of compliance with the terms of the grant.

8. Emergency Requests

While most grant requests are able and expected to be submitted through the normal annual process described above, there are instances where a grant request warrants or requires immediate consideration for approval and funding. Should an organization feel that such immediate consideration is warranted, they should submit a standard Letter of Inquiry indicating this. The staff, in conjunction with the Trustees, will determine if immediate consideration is appropriate and whether some or all of the request should be deferred to the normal annual process.