Adminitrust LLC

May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a deadline for submitting a grant request?
There are no deadlines for the Letter of Inquiry (LOI). An LOI can be submitted at any time.

How long does it take for a decision on my application?
Decisions regarding Letters of Inquiry to the Trust can take up to six weeks and decisions regarding proposals can take between three and five months.

How frequently are grants awarded?
The Trustees meet quarterly to review funding requests and make grant decisions.

Can I fax or email my proposal once I have been informed that I am eligible to submit one?
No. We only accept proposals sent by regular or express mail services that do not require a signature upon delivery.

How many copies of the full proposal do you need?
One copy. The proposal submission instructions are included in the proposal invitation email.

What should I do if I am having trouble using the online Letter of Inquiry system or logging into my account?
Please contact the Grants Manager at 415-332-0166 or

Can I set up a meeting with someone from the Charitable Trust prior to submitting a letter of inquiry?
An organization is expected to fully describe and justify its project in its letter of inquiry and proposal. The staff at AdminiTrust is available to assist organizations that have questions by telephone or email. Because of the volume of requests for support and the limited size of our staff, the Trustees and staff are unable to meet with applicants to discuss prospective requests for support.

Is there a form to use for progress and final reports?
Narrative and financial descriptions of how grant funds were spent should be submitted according to the Guidelines for Grant Reporting included with grant award letters and installment payments transmittal letters.

I noticed that some of the Trust’s prior grants do not match its current guidelines. If my organization in not eligible according to the current guidelines, can we still apply for a grant?
No. The Trust strictly follows its current grantmaking guidelines, as described on this website. The Trust’s guidelines have changed significantly starting in January 2014 to match the Trust’s 2014-2018 Strategic Plan. The Trust’s grantmaking prior to 2014 followed different guidelines.

What size grant should I request?
There are many factors that influence the Trustees’ decision on grant size including the size of grants awarded by other foundations. An applicant should request an amount that is appropriate for proposed project or activities of the organization. See the Size and Duration of Grants section of the Alignment page for more detail.

If my organization receives significant government funding, but the program for which we’re seeking funding receives no government funding, can we still submit a Letter of Inquiry?
The Trust measures government funding at the organization level, not the program level. The Trust rarely awards grants to organizations receiving more than 70% of revenue from government sources. If your organization meets all of the Trust’s other guidelines and more than 70% of its income comes from government sources, please contact a Program Officer before completing a Letter of Inquiry.

How does the Trust define government funding?
The Trust defines government funding as all direct or indirect funding received by an organization from government sources, whether in the form of grants; contracts from federal, state, and/or local government agencies, including public school districts, arts councils, and Regional Centers; or government funds received indirectly through medical or social service reimbursement programs, such as programs administered by Medicaid, Medicare, or a Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. The Trust prioritizes organizations that receive less than 70% of their revenues from government sources.

When is a new organization considered by the Trust to be beyond the start-up phase?
When an organization has secured funds from a broad base of diversified funding sources – including institutional donors, individuals, and local entities – and has been implementing a program that has demonstrated consistent, positive results for at least two consecutive years, it is more likely to be viewed by the Trust as an established organization that has moved beyond its start-up phase.

Is the Trust interested in funding a new program that an organization has never implemented before?
Typically, the Trust prefers to fund an organization’s well-established programs, those which it has demonstrated experience implementing to achieve sustained, positive results. However, the Trust encourages creative approaches, especially those based in, or refined to take advantage of, new research findings or practical evidence. Therefore, the Trust will consider requests for new programs from organizations which are able to demonstrate the expertise to support a new program and past success in implementing similar programs.

My organization’s programs inspire participants to explore their spiritual nature, but do not promote a specific religion. May we apply for funding?
Yes. The Trust will consider requests that fit within its funding guidelines from religious or faith-based organizations, provided that services offered are inclusive, nondiscriminatory, do not promote specific religious doctrine, and do not involve proselytizing or religious activities.

I see that there are several characteristics listed on the Alignment page that describe the Trust’s priorities. If my organization has most of these characteristics, but not all of them, may we still submit an LOI?
The Trust’s priorities are listed to help applicants understand the many factors used by Staff to review funding requests. It is assumed that all applicants will directly align with one or more of the strategies identified in the Trust’s Program Areas, and it is expected that each successful applicant will have all or most of the characteristics listed on the Alignment page. The more characteristics an application has and the greater degree that the applicant shows strengths in each of these areas, the more likely its application will be successful. We encourage organizations that have questions about their alignment with the Trust’s grantmaking priorities to contact the Grants Manager at 415-332-0166.

Our organization provides services to a broad range of disadvantaged and at risk individuals. Among our participants, some individuals fall within your program populations: elders, foster youth, veterans, and people with disabilities. Will an application from our organization be competitive?
A well-aligned organization will have a program that is focused on serving the particular needs of one or more of the Trust’s Program Area populations and addresses one or more of the Goals/Strategies within the Program Area. To help the Trust determine whether a Letter of Inquiry is competitive, the applicant should, where possible, specify the percentage of the Trust program population served, describe how programming responds to the unique needs of the population, and identify outcomes for the population.

My organization fits all the Alignment criteria and most of the Eligibility criteria, however we only serve individuals outside of the Trust’s geographic focus. Can we request permission to submit a Letter of Inquiry?
No. In order to apply for funding, an applicant must meet all the Eligibility requirements.

Should my organization submit a Letter of Inquiry if we do not meet the Trust’s guidelines?
No. We encourage organizations to use resources wisely and focus fundraising efforts on funders with which their programs are aligned.

What are the chances of receiving a grant?
A large number of worthy organizations approach the Trust for support. The process is highly competitive. Even if a project fits within the Trust’s guidelines and has many of the characteristics listed on the Alignment page of our website, it may not necessarily be funded.

If my organization has been denied funding in the past, can we submit a new Letter of Inquiry (LOI)?
Organizations are eligible to submit only one LOI to the Trust in a calendar year; therefore, an organization must wait until at least the next calendar year to submit a new LOI. If an organization’s most recent request has been denied, we highly recommend a call to a Program Officer before putting the effort into submitting a new LOI. Unless an organization’s programs or circumstances have changed significantly, it is unlikely that a new application will be funded.

Do you make grants to individuals?
No. The Trust only makes grants to tax-exempt organizations that qualify as public charities.

How does a non-U.S. organization demonstrate that it meets the requirements to be treated as equivalent to a nonprofit organization that is tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code and not classified as a private foundation under Section 509(a) of the Code?
A foreign charitable organization can submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) to the Trust through our online application system, as long as the organization and program meet the Trust’s guidelines. After the LOI is reviewed and a proposal is invited – during the proposal review stage – Staff will request an Affidavit and Schedule of Financial support from the foreign organization to determine whether or not it can be treated as equivalent to a U.S. public charity. These are Trust forms designed to verify the charitable purpose of the organization and the amount of public support it receives. As this process is quite involved, Staff respect the applicant’s time and, therefore, wait until there is strong interest in an organization before requesting the completion of these forms. Please note that Staff’s request that the forms be completed does not imply that an organization will be funded.

Can you suggest other funding sources?
The Foundation Center maintains a comprehensive listing of U.S. foundations and their areas of interest.

I have a question that is not answered in these FAQs. What should I do?
If the answer to your question cannot be found in the other sections of this web site, you may contact the Grants Manager, at 415-332-0166 or

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