Zarrow Group of Foundations Zarrow Group of Foundations
General Guidelines Use these guidelines to help you organize and write your grant requests.

"What is organization, but the connection of parts in and for a whole, so that each part is, at once, end and means?"


Use these guidelines to help you organize and write your grant requests. Our specific requirements will be listed in parentheses.

  1. Analyze what your current needs are for your organization. What are your priorities and of those, which ones fit within the funder’s giving guidelines.  We look at where you are receiving support and who else you are soliciting with your request. We pay attention to your overhead costs, particularly the compensation of your Executive Director to see if it is in line with the agency's overall budget.  We also look to see if there is a great disparity between the Executive's salary and the other leaders in the organization.  We are wary of agencies who appear to be duplicating services.

  2. Research which foundations in your area currently fund projects similar to your need. You can find out this information by going to You will be required to register but it is free. Here you will find a listing of foundations by city, state and region. You can peruse the minimum giving required for that particular foundation plus a list of their last fiscal year grants by clicking on the 990 form on the financial information page. Please note that charities are also on this site. You should check to see whether this site reflects your current information. If it doesn't, it is easily edited and instructions will appear on screen. Is your proposal within their current funding priorities? Do you know their priorities? Sometimes but not always, you can tell by looking at their giving that is contained in their 990s. Do they have a website? Does their website indicate funding priorities.

  3. Verify the contact name and address by calling the foundation. (Our information is updated periodically on our website and as such, does not need to be verified.) If you are able to talk to the contact, inquire whether you may briefly outline your proposal to see if it falls within their guidelines. Please ask whether they have time to talk to you before launching into your request. (Hint: It is always a good idea to have more than one proposal in mind in case your first one isn't appropriate.)

  4. Ask what format they would like to see the proposal, i.e. formal application, simple two page summary, etc. (We have an on-line application, we want you to use.) Just remember to follow the guidelines as instructed. Don't let your proposal be screened out because you didn't follow the guidelines.

  5. Write the proposal. Please refer to writing proposals for an example. (Sample Grant) We are providing this sample to you merely as a guideline you can use for other foundations. We expect you to use our on-line grant application process.

  6. Attachments - should you or shouldn't you? At a minimum, you will want to include a copy of the IRS letter indicating that your organization is classified as a 501 C 3 and a copy of your latest 990 tax filing along with schedule A. Most foundations like to see a listing of your board of directors along with your total agency actual expenditures vs. the budget for the last fiscal year. Before you send a copy of your expensive audit, find out whether they would like a copy. Newsletters, brochures, videotapes, and audiotapes are usually discouraged. Your message in your grant request should speak for itself.

  7. Personalizing a thank you letter and addressing it to the trustees is a key component of the grant process and if you would like to receive a subsequent gift, a necessity. Please refer to the sample thank you letter on this website.

  8. Updates are not always required by individual grantmakers but they are helpful nonetheless. That is one more time your agency gets their name and their project before the trustees. Remember to thank the trustees again for the gift in the update and then report on your progress on the grant. If there have been some additional or new challenges be sure and let the grantor know, however, updates should not be taken as an opportunity to ask for more money.

  9. A final reporting on a project is always appreciated whether required or not.

  10. Applications are now available online. Please go to the Grants Application Page to apply. You will need to have these attachments ready: the budget for the request, actuals vs. budget for your last fiscal year, a copy of the management letter from your last audit (if applicable), a list of the board of directors along with the board's total contributions to the agency, and a list of major donors. While the quarterly meetings time may change based on trustee availability, the due dates do not. The due dates preceed by approximately one month the meeting dates. The due dates for the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation are January 15, April 15, July 15, and October 15. The due dates for The Anne and Henry Zarrow Family Foundation are January 15 and July 15.




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