Submitting a Successful Proposal

Basic application process principles:

  • Proper Email Etiquette – Much of our correspondence will be via email. All emails are saved in your file for future reference, and may be shared with the Foundation’s board members. They help staff to gauge the applicants professionalism, the ability to answer questions and provide information in a timely manner, and the applicant’s willingness to adhere to the grant process. We found the following link from the Naukri Blog to be very informative and relevant. It may provide some helpful tips to be sure you that you are leaving the best impression on the Foundation’s staff and board. – Tips for Email Correspondence.
  • Professionalism and Timeliness – Grigg Lewis Foundation Inc. staff relies heavily on our gifting timeline. Adhering to our document submission and Application Deadlines not only demonstrates professionalism, it enables our staff to perform their jobs efficiently and gives us adequate time to review your project in depth. Complete applications submitted promptly are greatly appreciated. Professionalism and timeliness may be a deciding factor when your grant competes for available funding.

Make your proposal stand out:

  • A successful grant proposal includes the presentation of an outstanding cause to fund, your ability to convey your passion for your organization’s mission, and the benefits of the project/program that you are requesting funding for.
  • Assume that Foundation staff and board are unfamiliar with your subject. No one is as fluent in your project as you are. You will need to pack a lot of information into short, hard-hitting sentences that keep the reader engaged and to adequately explain your project.
  • The Foundation invests in projects that will produce the greatest return/results for the community and the dollars granted, and we evaluate proposals based on that concept.

Identify other funding sources:

  • Please be sure you have researched, identified, and applied to other sources of funding for your program/project before you submit a Letter of Inquiry to us.  We will require a list of other funders committed to your project, or an explanation as to why other sources have not been sought. If you need help identifying potential funding sources, please email 

STEP ONE – Letter of Inquiry 

  • Send a Letter of Inquiry as an introduction to your project, which will help us to determine if there is a potential connection and interest for the Foundation to request a more in-depth proposal from your organization.
  • Letter of Inquiry template has been provided to simplify this process and ensure the right information is provided in a way that respects both the Foundation and the Applicant’s time.
  • Be concise, but be sure that the Foundation’s staff is able to understand what you are looking to accomplish.
  • If your request fits into our funding scope for the current quarter, we will send you an invitation to apply and instructions on what documents to include with your application.
  • Please do not skip this step. Your Letter of Inquiry helps to save you from preparing an application for a request that may not fit into our funding scope.

STEP TWO – Application 

STEP THREE – Supplemental Documents

  • A complete budget for the project or program – The budget should reflect the narrative section of the proposal and should make sense to anyone who reviews it, even if they are unfamiliar with your organization or project. We should be able to quickly review your budget and understand it. When developing a budget, outline the expenses planned for the term of the project and what the funds will be used for. Include line items that identify direct and indirect costs such as in-kind services. Your budget should also include an itemized list of anticipated income sources, such as approved funds, pending requests and any income you expect to receive during the grant period. If you are planning a campaign to raise funds for your project, explain your fundraising plan and the likelihood of success based on past experience. Make sure your budget is realistic and can be accomplished within the proposed amount and time frame. Verify that the budget is consistent with the project’s proposed activities and that the costs are reasonable. Although your costs are estimates, carefully calculate your figures. Try not to underestimate your expenses, otherwise you might be awarded a grant that is insufficient to fully fund your project. Do not inflate your budget to where the costs appear extravagant. Nonprofit Works provides many valuable templates for planning and budgeting on their website. Please take a few moments to review their Resources tab, or reach out to our office if you need more guidance.
  • The current/proposed operating budget of your organization – An organization’s operating budget is required for all capital campaign requests. 
  • A Profit  & Loss Balance Sheet or an Income/Expense Report – These financials pertain to your entire organization. Please make sure that the information contained coincides with your program budget. They will be reviewed together and must be consistent and supported by data.
  •  A copy of your 501(c)3 determination letter – If you do not have a 501(c)3 determination, you may contact our office to verify that you are eligible to apply. Churches, schools, and governmental entities are eligible for grant funding and are not required to submit this documentation.
  • A list of officers and directors relevant affiliation – Please include a list of your current board of directors.
  • All price quotes pertaining to your request – Price quotes must make sense when compared to the dollar amount you are requesting. They must coincide with your budget,  and adequately describe the work being done or the products or materials being purchased.


Upon receipt of all of the above documents, your request will undergo the review process. Grigg Lewis Foundation staff will prepare your request for consideration by our Board of Directors at a quarterly grant review meeting. If there are any questions or points needing clarification, you will be notified, and may be asked to submit additional information.

A representative from the Foundation, a board member, executive director, or staff member may all you from time, request a site visit, schedule an interview, or require additional financial documentation. Grantees may be subject to periodic evaluations.

Following our quarterly grant review meeting, we will contact you within a week with the Board of Director’s  decision. If/when your request is approved, a formal agreement and check will be mailed to you. The act of cashing/depositing of the check binds you to  conditions which may include:

  1. This grant will be used solely for charitable expenditures benefiting Eastern Niagara County residents. 
  2. Funds may not be used to influence public election, voter registration, to carry on propaganda or attempt to influence legislation.
  3. The Grantee has provided the Foundation with verification of the Grantee’s public charity status under Sections 501(c)(3), 170(b)(1)(A), and 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), and agrees to notify the Foundation of any change in the Grantee’s status. Should the Grantee’s public charity status change, the Grantee agrees to return any unexpended funds to the Foundation. Please contact the Foundation for instructions on how to proceed.
  4. The Grantee shall maintain accurate accounting records and retain records of receipts and disbursements related to the expenditure of grant funds and will keep such accounting records for at least two years after the end of the grant period. The Foundation may, at its expense and on reasonable notice to the Grantee, inspect, audit, or copy the Grantee’s records pertaining to this grant.
  5. A Grigg Lewis Follow Up Report must be completed along with the submission of the Grantee’s third quarter Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet or Income/Expense Sheet prior to November 1, 2024. The Follow-Up Report and financials must be approved and on file before a 2025 grant will be approved or released. The Follow-Up Report is available on our website. Please contact the Foundation if you require a printed version.
  6. The Foundation may modify, suspend, or discontinue any payment of future or multi-year grant funds or terminate this Agreement if: (a) the Foundation is not reasonably satisfied with the progress of the Grantee’s programs; (b) there are significant changes to the project as a whole or other factors that the Foundation reasonably believes may threaten the Grantee’s success; (c) there is a change in control or leadership; (d) there is a change in your tax status; or (e) you fail to comply with this Agreement. 
  7. The Grantee may acknowledge the Foundation’s support of this grant, withholding the dollar amount in any or all announcements and written materials. You may describe the Foundation as “a private foundation established in 1968 through a gift by Henrietta Grigg Lewis, and whose areas of greatest interest include Arts & Culture, Community Improvements, Education, Elderly, Health & Wellness, History/Preservation/Tourism, Human Service, and Youth, with a heavy focus on benefitting the residents of Eastern Niagara County.” A copy of any announcements, including newspaper or magazine articles relating to this project, must be submitted with the Grantee’s final report.

The Grigg Lewis Foundation, Inc.’s mission is to make funds available to charitable organizations with services or programs that benefit the residents of Eastern Niagara County. We want to see your organization making a difference in our community and our primary goal is to help you attain the best possible outcome for your organization. If we are unable to assist you financially, we will do our best to connect you to other funding sources and/or link you to services that may be beneficial to your mission.

If you have questions or concerns, our office staff is available to assist you. Please call us during business hours: Monday – Friday from 9:00am – 4:00pm, or email us directly at

2024 Board Meetings & Information Deadlines:

Letter of Inquiry to be 
received no later than: 

January 19, 2024

April 12, 2024

*July 12, 2024

September 27, 2024

Board Meeting Dates:

February 2, 2024

May 3, 2024

*July 30, 2024

October 11, 2024

Board Meeting Dates:

March 28, 2024

June 20, 2024

*September 19, 2024

December 18, 2024

*Third Quarter – all grants of $100,000.00 or more will be reviewed at our third quarter meeting. Smaller grants will be scheduled at our staff’s discretion.