Questions and Answers

What is the chance that my application will be successful?

Even if your request is precisely in line with our guidelines, it will almost certainly be competing against dozens of others. In most rounds, roughly 20 applications have made it through to the decision stage, and these typically exhaust our funds. Our directors try to help as many organizations as possible, but we are far from able to fully fund every request. Annually, we receive approximately 120 applications, 40 of which make it to the Board.

What can I do to improve our chances?

As with many things, first impressions are vital. Your two-page letter will form that first impression. Try as hard as you can to put yourself in our shoes; we may have never heard of your organization, or perhaps even your cause. Give us context: why do you exist, who do you serve, and why is it important? Ultimately, you have to convince our directors that your need is more pressing than the needs of dozens of other organizations.

How much should I ask for?

The Nickle Family Foundation has given grants as small as $100 and as large as $560,000. You should ask for the amount of money you genuinely need. Our directors reserve the right to give less than you request (or more, or nothing at all). That said, in recent years the most common amounts approved have been between $5,000 and $10,000.

Where are you in your grants cycle?

Our schedule varies slightly from year to year. In general, grant requests are considered at two board meetings each year, typically in May and October. Background material is distributed to directors no less than two weeks before each meeting. As such, our deadlines are usually in mid-April and late September. Please contact the Foundation at (403) 244-4237 or for specific upcoming dates.

How often can our organization apply?

Our Foundation does not have a set rule about how frequently we will grant to the same charity. If you apply within three or four years of receiving a grant, you are given a lower priority. However, if circumstances are such that the need is urgent, you are welcome to make your case.

How much money is available?

The Foundation's discretionary granting budget is on the order of $400,000 annually. Typically, a few multi-year commitments from previous rounds, as well as grants made to-date in the current year, reduce the amount available.

Do you specialize in funding the arts?

No. Our Foundation does not restrict its funding activities to any one sector of the community. Instead, our funding priorities change over time in response to the directors' perceptions of need within the community. We fund broadly across the sectors of social services, culture, education and health. In 2013, social services accounted for 55% of grants, education was 27% and health was 10%.

Will it help if we offer you a naming opportunity?

Recognition is important to some donors more than others. While as a rule we expect to be recognized in the same way as anyone else making a donation of comparable size, publicity and naming opportunities are not motivating factors. We would prefer that applicants save those sorts of opportunities for the donors for whom it is important. For the same reason, we will NOT consider requests for sponsorship.

Do you still offer the Nickle Family Foundation High School Awards?

This program has been closed to new applicants. All commitments made prior to 2010 will be honoured.

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