Submitting Proposals for Grant Funding

My project will be to prepare a proposal in response to the Ivy Center’s Request for Proposal issued in February 2018. The center, located in Huntsville, funds one-year projects/ programs focusing on education, health, science, technology, cultural awareness, and/or economics for disadvantaged youth and their families.

The funds requested will be on behalf of another local non-profit organization, Operation Making a Difference (OPMAD), a Huntsville-based program that mentors at-risk youth. As general operations are a basic necessity, the request will be tailored toward the expenses required to provide general services.  Donors will give money to meet their needs and interests, not yours.  The name of the game is to find a good marriage.

To do so, you have to do front end analyses. You want to research foundations’ patterns of giving, geographical restrictions, and areas of interest.

Four Top Reasons Proposals Do Not Get Funded

  • Funding source does not believe you understand the problem
  • Funding source does not believe in your solution
  • Funding source does not believe in your qualifications
  • Funding source does not believe or trust your budget


Youth centers are often in underserved neighborhoods with the goal of helping keep children busy and off the streets after school. However, youth centers also serve a wide variety of communities and come in many different iterations. One thing they share is that they are nonprofit organizations in need of grants for support.

Youth centers need money to support their programs and pay their staff unless they use a volunteer staff. As nonprofits, they are considered tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) as public charities because they are formed to provide a public benefit. Youth centers often rely on grants for support, and they seek money from many diverse sources.

If you are running a youth center or if you oversee finding funding, it is important to understand how to put together a grant proposal. Here are the key elements of a standard grant proposal:

  1. Proposal Summary: Sometimes called the Executive Summary, this paragraph should explain your entire proposal in a nutshell and specifically state the amount of funding you need.
    2. Description and History of Your Organization: This should include who you are, what you do and where you do it.
    3. Background or Statement of the Problem: This explains what the problem is that will be solved by getting this grant. You make clear why your program is more important than other programs.
    4. Project Description: This can vary in length and should be a detailed description of the program you intend to create with this grant money.
    5. Project and Budget Timeline: This is a chronological list of what needs to happen and how the funding will facilitate each step.
    6. Budget: Break the project down into categories such as salaries, supplies, equipment, etc., and list the amounts that will be allocated to each category.

Once your proposal is written, reviewed and edited to perfection, you are ready to send it off and apply for a grant. Because there are so many worthy programs in need of funding, it’s smart to apply for as many grants as you can. Cover all your bases to make sure you can fund your youth center and its programs.