FAQ

For additional questions about our grantmaking process or programs, please contact Jenny Morgan at morgan@woodruff.org.

Before You Apply

Is my request a fit for funding?
Review our grant guidelines, program interests and previous grants. We encourage you to submit an informal inquiry to fdns@woodruff.org to determine if your request is a fit for funding. If you believe your request is a fit, follow the instructions on our How to Apply page to submit a full proposal.
Are there geographic restrictions on the Foundation’s grantmaking?
Yes, the Foundation’s grantmaking is limited to organizations located or operating in metro Atlanta, defined by the United Way of Greater Atlanta to include Butts, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale counties.
Does the Foundation provide annual operating support?
The Foundation does not typically provide annual operating support. We prefer to make one-time grants to help organizations with a proven track record of success stretch further to seize new opportunities or to meet one-time extraordinary needs.
Does the Foundation provide multi-year grants?
The Foundation prefers not to make multi-year grants but will consider proposals on a year-by-year basis.
What does the Foundation not fund?
Review our grant guidelines for a list of activities and entities that we do not fund. Please also note the Foundation prefers not to fund staff positions, administrative expenses, ongoing program support or programs that re-grant funds.
Does the Foundation support new organizations?
No, the Foundation does not provide startup or seed funding for new organizations or to launch an affiliate of a national organization.

However, we do not require organizations to operate for a minimum number of years before considering a grant. Rather, we consider organizations with a strong executive and board leadership, a track record of sustainable operations, a broad base of financial support, and proven program effectiveness.

Does the Foundation support individuals?
No, the Foundation does not make grants to individuals but only to registered 501(c)(3) organizations.
Does the Foundation support independent or charter schools?
The Foundation does not support independent schools. It supports a limited number of charter schools in Atlanta Public Schools that provide quality seats to high-need student populations
What is the Foundation’s relationship to the Robert W. Woodruff, Lettie Pate Evans and Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundations?
The Joseph B. Whitehead, Lettie Pate Whitehead, and Lettie Pate Evans Foundations were founded by members of the Whitehead family. These Foundations share an office and staff with the Woodruff Foundation, though each is led by an independent Board of Trustees. Robert W. Woodruff was a good friend and trusted advisor to Mrs. Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans, and their Foundations agreed on a common administrative arrangement to allow for greater flexibility and efficiency in responding to community needs.

Applying for Funding

How can I improve my chances of receiving a grant?
  • Ensure your organization meets the Foundation’s eligibility requirements.
  • Visit our Previous Grants page to gain an understanding of the types of projects we have funded in the past.
  • Reach out to the Foundation well before the grant deadline to determine if your proposal is a fit for funding. First-time grantseekers may submit an informal inquiry to fdns@woodruff.org.
  • Secure other funding (in hand or pledges) before submitting a proposal. Typically, we prefer not to be the only or the lead funder of an initiative. You should make significant fundraising progress with other donors, including your board, before approaching the Foundation for a grant. The Foundation will not make a grant without confidence that you can meet your fundraising goal.
Should I submit separate grant proposals to the Robert W. Woodruff, Joseph B. Whitehead and Lettie Pate Evans Foundations?
No, you do not need to submit separate grant proposals to the Foundations. A proposal submitted to any one of our Foundations will be considered by the others.
My organization does not have audited financial statements. Can I still apply?
Yes. The Foundation prefers to receive audited financial statements, but we will accept your most recent Form 990 and an operating budget for the current year in lieu of audited financials. If you are providing audited financials, do not submit a Form 990 as well.
How long should my grant proposal be?
The Foundation prefers proposals that are concise and to the point. Typically, proposal letters are no more than 5 pages long, not including required attachments (listed on our How to Apply page).
Should I include collateral materials with my grant proposal?
Please avoid submitting collateral materials outside of the required attachments (e.g. press kits, newsletters, annual reports or campaign brochures). These materials are not required for our review of your proposal.
What are the grant application deadlines and when will I hear about a decision?
The Foundation accepts grant proposals throughout the year. Our two grant deadlines are:
  • February 1 – Proposals received by February 1 will be considered at the April meeting of our Board of Trustees. You will receive a letter notifying you of the Trustees’ decision within one week of their meeting.
  • August 15 – Proposals received by August 15 will be considered at the November meeting of our Board of Trustees. You will receive a letter notifying you of the Trustees’ decision within one week of their meeting.
How does the Foundation make grant decisions?
Grant proposals are reviewed by our president, grants program director and program officers. If your proposal does not meet our eligibility requirements or falls outside of our program interests, we will notify you promptly by letter. If your proposal is accepted for consideration at the next meeting of our Board of Trustees, you will be notified by letter and contacted by Foundation staff for a meeting or site visit. Grant decisions are made by our Trustees at their board meeting based on the merits of your proposal and the priorities of the Foundation. About one in seven requests is approved for funding in any given year.

After the Decision

How long does it take the Foundation to fund its grant commitments?
Once the Trustees have approved your request, you will receive a grant award letter within one week of our board meeting. If a grant has been approved on a conditional basis, the terms will be specified in your award letter. The grant will be funded after you have sent a letter to the Foundation showing conditions have been met.

If no conditions are specified, the Foundation will disburse funds based on the timing of the funded project.

Can I reapply for funding?
  • Grantees: If you have a new and extraordinary one-time need, we may consider your request. However, we typically do not provide additional support for projects or campaigns the Foundation has already funded. The Foundation will also not consider new requests without having received a grant report for the most recently funded request.
  • First-time grantseekers: We cannot be encouraging about grant requests already declined. Unless otherwise encouraged, please do not submit the same proposal in a different grant cycle.
May I publicize news of my grant?
You are free to identify the Foundation’s support within your organization and in your communications with other prospective donors. The Foundation is not anonymous, but it does not seek publicity for its grantmaking. Our intention is for grantees to receive the credit and attention due to them for their efforts and programs. Please consult with the Foundation regarding any media interviews, press releases or publications concerning specific grants and/or the Foundation.
What are the Foundation’s reporting requirements?
Reporting requirements are specified in your grant award letter. Typically, the Foundation requests annual reports until all grant funds have been expended and a final report at the conclusion of the funded project. Reports that are concise and to the point (no more than 5 pages long) are preferred and should always include a summary accounting of grant expenditures. Reports may be mailed or emailed to your program staff contact.
How do you use the information contained in reports?
All information is kept confidential. We use the information internally to ensure grant compliance, to inform future funding decisions, and to evaluate the effectiveness of our grants program.

Fellowship

What is the Woodruff, Whitehead and Evans Foundations Fellowship?
The Fellowship is a two-year opportunity for a recent college graduate to gain experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors in Atlanta. Our two Fellows work closely together and with Foundation staff on a range of activities, including participating in meetings, drafting memoranda, assisting with database management and administrative tasks, and preparing research and presentations related to the Foundation’s grantmaking.
Who is eligible to apply for the Fellowship?
The Foundation accepts applications from seniors graduating from Agnes Scott College, Berry College, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Morehouse College, Spelman College and the University of Georgia. Applicants should be bright, curious, self-motivated, humble and detail-oriented, with strong written and oral communication skills and demonstrated interest in nonprofit work.
How do I apply for the Fellowship?
Berry College and Emory University have internal selection processes. Interested applicants should contact Stacey Spillers (sspillers@berry.edu) at Berry and Dr. Megan Friddle (mfriddl@emory.edu) at Emory for information on how to apply.

Applicants from other schools may contact Jenny Morgan (morgan@woodruff.org) or our two current Fellows for details on our application process. Generally, we publicize the Fellowship in late fall and accept applications through mid-January. Interviews typically begin in February, and a final decision is made no later than April. Fellows start their appointment on August 1 and end on July 31 two years later.

What do Fellows go on to do?
There is no typical career path for our Fellows. They have continued on to graduate school or careers in education, law, medicine, and nonprofits. Many have said they valued the Fellowship for broadening their perspective of philanthropy, deepening their understanding of social issues, and strengthening their commitment to community and service.