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Strategic Grantmaking Guidelines

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland awards grants to nonprofit organizations and public agencies serving those most in need. Most of the foundation’s funding is in our strategic focus areas and by invitation.

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The foundation typically invites organizations to apply for grants in these strategic focus areas: Ending homelessness; Reducing health and education disparities; Supporting women religious and their ministries.

Strategic Grantmaking Guidelines

Organizations interested in seeking support from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland are encouraged to explore our website comprehensively to learn about our program area objectives and funding opportunities. A limited amount of grantmaking also continues in our community partnerships.


Generally, strategic grant opportunities and submission deadlines are communicated to the nonprofit community using:

– Requests for proposals (primarily for initiatives)

– Funding announcements

– Funding guidelines

– Invited proposals

Organizations may send a letter, email or call a program officer to introduce the foundation to their mission, goals and specific programs that fit within one of its program areas.


Eligible organizations are 501(c)(3) organizations or governmental agencies or units. The foundation does not make grants to individuals.


Depending on the program, grant funds may be used for program support, operating support, program-related capital support, planning or capacity building. The foundation does not make grants to support endowments, fundraising campaigns (including annual appeals), membership drives, debt retirement and individual scholarships.

The foundation does not support capital campaigns, except as a rare exception in its Catholic Ministries program area.


Organizations must primarily serve residents of Cuyahoga County. Policy organizations may be local, state or national, but they must propose a goal that will impact residents of Cuyahoga County.

There is an exception in the Religious Communities focus area, which extends to ministries in Northeast Ohio (Dioceses of Cleveland and Youngstown) and South Carolina (Diocese of Charleston).


Each proposal to the foundation is submitted through an online system for grant applications. All proposals include program, budget and organization information. Depending on the program, a logic model and activity timeline may also be required.

The following supporting documentation must be uploaded with all proposals:

– Copy of IRS designation

– Most recent audited financial statement

– List of current board of directors or trustees (except for public agencies)

– Current year’s organizational budget

If you have questions or concerns about your organization’s capacity to submit an online application, please contact Ursula Craig, grants coordinator, at or 216-357-4472.


Although each program area contains more specific criteria, the foundation generally reviews proposals for:

– Clear goals and objectives supported by data

– Solid organizational capacity

– Community input and connection

– Persuasive methodology (such as best practice or promising innovation)

– Collaborative approach

– Current or potential funding from other sources

– Sound and realistic budget


Site visits may be required if the program staff determines that additional information is needed for due diligence. New organizations to the foundation, larger grant requests and proposals under an RFP are more likely to involve a site visit. Site visits are not a prerequisite to the approval of a grant.


Grant periods will vary depending upon the particular grant. Most grants are for one year. Grant periods for planning may be shorter, and multi-year grants are possible.


The foundation frequently receives more quality proposals than it can approve with limited funds. Program staff is open to providing feedback on declined proposals, particularly in its focus areas.

Looking to learn more about our responsive grantmaking?

Our mission calls us to devote a portion of our funds to responding to our community needs.

Our responsive grantmaking includes our annual Good Samaritan Program, our participation in community collaborations, and our ongoing support to the Catholic community and women religious, with priority given to the sponsored ministries of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine.

Our responsive grantmaking also includes the Saint Ann Legacy Grants, which reflect our ongoing support to the Catholic community and women religious, with priority given to the sponsored ministries of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine


Apply online or manage your grant

Access our online system for grant applications and management.




Contact Ursula Craig at or 216-357-4472.