Community Improvement Initiative FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions

Review frequently asked questions about the Community Improvement Initiative below. If you cannot find an answer to your question, call the foundation at (989) 755-0545 or email



Who can apply for the Community Improvement Initiative grant?

Eligible applicants include 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, as well as individuals, community groups, neighborhoods, businesses and youth groups as long as SCF or another nonprofit is used as the fiscal sponsor.



Can an individual apply for this grant?

The individual must be part of a larger organization or group in order to apply for the grant. This grant is designed to encourage and motivate collaboration across a broad range of users to make an impact in the Saginaw County community.



What do I do if I don’t have a 501(c)(3) status?

Community groups, neighborhoods, businesses and youth groups are eligible to apply without a 501(c)(3) if Saginaw Community Foundation, another nonprofit, a local unit of government, or a religious institution is used as the fiscal sponsor. If interested in utilizing the Saginaw Community Foundation as the project’s fiscal sponsor, contact the foundation at (989) 755-0545 or email Reneé Johnston at



Why do I need to call Saginaw Community Foundation to get a grant application number?

Contacting Saginaw Community Foundation to receive a grant number is a required part of the grant application process. It enables us to collect general details, including the organization name, project information and amount of funds sought. It also provides the opportunity for us to clarify any questions that may come up during the application process. At this time, Saginaw Community Foundation can also provide direction regarding other grants that may be available and provide information on current funding trends in the region. Lastly, Saginaw Community Foundation can connect you to other organizations that offer complementary or similar programs and projects to help leverage dollars.



Why isn’t the grant application available on the Saginaw Community Foundation website?

The application is only available in draft format on the website. When assigned a grant application number, you will be emailed an editable grant application in Microsoft Word format. It is highly encouraged to begin developing your program narrative for your application as soon as possible.



How is the “Legal name of organization applying” different than “Your organization’s name” on the application form?

Sometimes, the legal name of an organization is different than the name the organization is commonly known by. This is similar to when a person’s legal name is Rebecca Thomas, but is known in the community as Becky Thomas.



What do I enter if our organization/project does not have a website?

If the organization/project does not have a website, please type in “n/a.” If the organization/project uses Facebook in place of a website, feel free to enter the Facebook page address. If the organization/project does not have a Facebook page, please type “n/a”.



What should be entered for “Total Project Cost?”

Total project cost should reflect all costs related to the project in which you are seeking funding. For example, if the XYZ nonprofit wants to build a playground on an empty city lot, the total project cost for the playground would include the swing set and slide, as well as costs incurred for surveying the area, leveling the ground, insurance, etc.



Regarding the geographic area served, what is the difference between the direct recipients served and the secondary recipients served?

Direct recipients are the individuals who will be “hands-on” with the program/project and will utilize it the most. Indirect recipients are the individuals who have access to the program/project, may utilize it, and/or be impacted by its existence.



What is an “Executive Summary?”

The “Executive Summary” is a brief overview of the project. This summary should be no longer than a paragraph in length and should answer the following questions: What is the project; why is it necessary; who is coordinating the efforts; where is the project located; who will the project impact; and what impact will the project have on the community? You will be able to provide in depth detail in the program narrative of the application.



Who should sign the application?

The primary signature should be the board chair, CEO or project leader. The secondary signature should be from someone who is active in the project in some capacity, whether by organizing the project, financially backing the project or is involved in the project’s planning efforts.



Is it necessary to have organizational funds committed to the project?

Dedicating funds from your organization demonstrates to the grant review committee your commitment to the project. Revenues for the project can include fundraisers and campaigns.



How do I account for grant applications with other funders in which I do not currently know the status?

Under “Revenues for Project,” write in the requested amount and note “Pending” in the status. When notified of any funding changes, contact Brian Jackson to update your application at (989) 755-0545 or email



Am I allowed to estimate costs for the “Expenses for Project” section, or am I required to have exact quotes with documentation?

It is encouraged to have supporting documentation of the project expenses, such as quotes from a company or independent online research. If you use any documentation from the Web, print the documentation and include with your application as supporting information. The foundation understands that amounts may fluctuate, but an up-to-date figure will help the grant review committee better evaluate your application.



What types of supporting documents should be attached to the application?

Supporting documents may include project expenses (bids, quotes, research, etc.), letters of support for the project (no more than five will be permitted), map of project location or region affected, photos, etc.