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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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