Focus Grants

Focus Grants help strengthen sound organizations and assist with new initiatives to achieve success in development and establishment of new programs. They help an organization get the project or program started while allowing them time to make it self-sustainable.

Were you invited to apply for a Focus Grant?

An access code will be provided to apply.

The Focus Grant Initiative was launched in 2014 by the Ausherman Family Foundation Trustees. The purpose of Focus Grants is to help strengthen sound organizations and assist with new initiatives to achieve success in development and establishment of new programs. Focus Grants are designed to be a three- to five-year commitment to help an organization get the project or program started while allowing them time to make it self-sustainable.

The organization would be financially supported throughout the growth process for operations and consulting fees period. The Focus Grant is not intended to repair an organizational issue.

Applications are accepted by invitation only.

Eligibility:

  • Strong staff and board leadership
  • An innovative new idea or a recognized program that has track record of success (this could include models of successful programs in other communities)
  • Serves Frederick County residents and is located in Frederick County, MD.
  • Falls into one of the Trustees’ designated areas of interest
  • Strong preference given to previous grantees

Focus Grants FAQs

How can I apply?

  • Applicants must be invited to apply and given an access code to use on the online portal.
  • AFF will contact the nonprofit to explain the basic goals of Focus Grants and gauge interest.
  • Anticipate that the Foundation will request a Concept Plan with a with a supporting budget.

I have an idea I would like to pitch to the Foundation. What steps should I take?

  • Focus Grants are initiated by AFF. However, the Trustees may invite an organization to expand upon an idea from a General or Capacity Building Grant that seems like a viable candidate for a Focus Grant.
  • If you would like to speak with the staff, the Executive Director may schedule a call or meeting to discuss your idea.

What is the difference between a Capacity Building Grant and a Focus Grant?

  • Focus grants provide a higher level of annual funding over multiple years with the expectation that the impact will be greater than what is expected a Capacity Building grant.
  • The Trustees and staff of the Foundation intend to work more closely and for a longer period of time with the grant recipient, compared to the Capacity Building Grant Program.

What is expected in a Concept Plan?

  • Denotes goals, objectives, tactics, estimated timelines and budgets for each year.

What is expected in an application?

  • A list of the board of directors, their terms of service, and skill set provided
  • A contingency plan, should an executive transition occur, and how the plan and organizational action will minimize setbacks
  • A letter of support from the organization’s board
  • Detailed budget projections for 3 to 5 years including:
    • Consultant costs
    • Cash flow projections
    • Past year actual financial statements (income & expense & balance sheet)
    • Present year financial statements showing actual and projected income and expenses and balance sheet
    • Most recent financial audit and management letter, if available
    • An outline of a sustainability plan
  • Success measurements based on expected outcomes. Include goals, objectives, tactics, timelines, and assignments (who will do what) for each year’s goals.
    • Includes an evidence-based model, if followed

How are funds distributed over the course of three to five years?

  • If the Trustees are satisfied with the progress of the grant, funds are generally distributed every 6 months.

What are the reporting requirements?

  • Grant reports are completed at a minimum of every six months.
  • Grant reports may be submitted via the online portal, verbally, or a site visit at AFF’s discretion.
  • Annually, organizations will have an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned and make slight adjustments to the plan and goals as needed to meet the grant intent.

How is success measured?

  • Grant applicants will set expectations and explain what the leadership and staff expect to accomplish, including what the outcomes of the accomplishments will be.
  • If possible, baseline, timelines, best practices and benchmarks will be established and measured.

Is my organization eligible to receive other types of grants during the Focus Grant period?

Yes.

I would like to publicly express appreciation for the grant. What are your guidelines?