Frequently Asked Questions

Trellis Foundation anticipates awarding approximately $3 million in 2020.

Trellis Foundation funds organizations classified as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and as public charities under section 509(a) of that Code, or to public organizations that are designated under section 170(c) of the Code. Individuals and for-profit organizations are not eligible.

Trellis Foundation prioritizes support for programs serving Texas students, but we may establish other geographic priorities for any grant categories through the RFP process.

Unless otherwise specified in the RFP process, Trellis Foundation considers funding for both existing projects and new initiatives. If an organization proposes funding for an existing program, however, the applicant must include a rationale for seeking the additional funding (e.g., Has prior funding expired? Is the program expanding to serve additional students?).

For applicants with active grants, Trellis Foundation considers the capacity of the organization to carry out new programming or projects. Although we don’t expressly exclude current grantees from applying, we will examine any overlap in timelines, program activities, or personnel for their potential to impede the progress of currently funded projects.

Our online application system automatically generates a receipt notice for every completed application electronically within 24 hours.

No. If we select an applicant for a site visit, we will request an appointment date and time and provide an agenda in advance.

We don’t automatically renew funding for ongoing projects.

As long as the applying organization has the capacity to manage the project and the partnership is solid and committed to by both parties, Trellis Foundation doesn’t favor one over the other. Consider having the application come from whichever partner is already equipped to administer grant projects and has more flexibility in administering the process.

If your proposed project involves programmatic partners, we require a letter of support or memorandum of understanding indicating that there is a shared commitment to the project. If we need additional information, we’ll ask for more details.

Funding decisions are announced after the Trellis Foundation Board meeting at which they are considered. Each RFP specifies when the funding decisions will be announced.

Because Trellis Foundation has limited financial resources, we’re able to fund only a small percentage of qualified applicants. This means that many excellent projects, even ones that fall within our areas of interest, may not be funded. In the vast majority of cases, our declining to fund a proposal does not mean that the project lacks merit. The proposals that are successful often excel in the following areas:

  • Presenting compelling, clearly defined goals tied to measurable outcomes
  • Indicating evidence of partnerships (funding or programmatic)
  • Including a viable sustainability plan
  • Offering innovative solutions or a replicable model with a plan for disseminating best practices learned to other institutions and organizations in the field

We have no set minimum or maximum amounts. To date, grant awards have ranged from $8,000 to $400,000.

Applicants can request feedback in writing. Due to operational constraints, we may not be able to respond to these requests quickly.

In general, we won’t make grants for purposes of annual fundraising events or general sustentation drives; performances or competition expenses; building infrastructure, physical plant, and brick-and-mortar construction; motor vehicles; endowments; debt retirements; and lobbying efforts.
Trellis Foundation has developed a Guide to Common Metrics for Postsecondary Access and Success to provide guidance for grantees and prospective grantees for assessing program impact. The guide compiles common metrics that access and success programs utilize and was designed to help grantees as they begin collecting and analyzing data on their programs.

While we don’t provide grant-writing assistance, we encourage applicants to follow our guidelines in preparing a proposal and to call if they have questions. In addition, The Foundation Center has a good collection of resources online, and, for Texas applicants, the Center for Nonprofit Management Assistance in your area may be able to help.

You can contact Trellis Foundation’s staff at