The Sam L. Cohen Foundation receives more compelling requests than can be approved at each semi-annual meeting of the board of directors. Alignment with the guidelines alone does not ensure that a grant will be approved.

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When evaluating a proposal, staff and directors consider the following questions:

  • Does the project or program align with the stated grant-making priorities and fields of interest of the Foundation?

  • What are the strengths and challenges related to the proposal? (e.g. Does it address a real need? What is the expected impact? Who will benefit? Is it well-planned and doable? How will it be sustained? How will outcomes be evaluated?)

  • What are the strengths and challenges related to the proposal budget? (e.g. Is it realistic? What are the other committed and expected sources of revenue? Is it cost-effective?)

  • What are the strengths and challenges related to the organization? (e.g. Does it have sufficient expertise? What is the staff and board capacity? Are the finances sound? Does it receive broad support from the community?)

  • In many cases, Foundation staff will call and/or visit the organization making the request in order to gain a better understanding of the proposal. In certain circumstances, we also may contact others who know your organization and/or project (funders, collaborating organizations, clients).

Foundation staff evaluate and summarize the grant proposals. The summaries and application materials are made available to the directors several weeks before the grant adjudication meeting. At that meeting, the directors are asked if they have any conflicts of interest or know of any undisclosed information related to the organizations under consideration that could influence the decision making process. The directors and staff discuss the proposals before the directors vote on each grant request. Decisions of the directors are made by consensus.