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Major Grants Program

Grants to Maryland Nonprofits for Education, Health, Poverty
Alleviation, Youth, and Economic Development in Eligible Regions

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Helen J. Serini Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:



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Grants starting at $5,000 to Maryland nonprofit organizations for programs that address social and economic inequalities faced by the underserved in eligible regions of the State. Letters of Inquiry must be submitted before the submission of a full proposal. Funding is intended to support creative interventions that remove or address the root causes of systemic barriers to safety, health, shelter, and opportunity in communities where board members and advisors live and work. This includes Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, and Frederick County.

The areas of focus are described as follows:
- Youth and families: Adverse childhood experiences; case management; family support services.
- Food security: Long-term solutions to food access; food deserts; nutritional programming.
- Economic opportunity: job creation, employment training, financial education and access, workforce development.
- Community development
- Access to adequate, affordable healthcare.

Grantmaking strategies work to align the above areas of focus with the Foundation's mission of supporting economic and social equality by focusing services on populations that are historically underserved.

Grants are offered in the following categories:

General Operating Support
"Keep the lights on" funding. General operating support grants are not restricted to a specific project or program within an organization, but instead intended to support the organization as a whole.

Capacity Building Support
Funds specifically intended to help an organization expand its capacity by expanding staff, investing in training opportunities, hiring outside consultants, or encourage collaboration between multiple organizations working in the same space.

Project- or Program-Specific Grants
Grants to support a specific project within an organization or one particular program within a larger organization.

The Foundation is seeking funding partnerships with nonprofits that demonstrate the following characteristics:
- A creative, innovative, entrepreneurial spirit
- A spirit of collaboration, partnership, and alliance-building
- A commitment to equity
- A willingness to grow a relationship over time
-Experienced, high-energy, talented management and demonstrated board governance
- Models that are constituent-driven and informed by the communities they aim to serve
- Services that are transformative in the lives of clients
- Work that improves and/or restructures symptoms by changing the policies and practices that hold people in cycles of poverty.

Support of direct service, emergency needs, or similar programs is rare, and usually occurs in instances where that service is used to inform systemic work, or if an organization can demonstrate that such a program, if implemented universally, would have systemic impact.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 171637

Estimated Size of Grant:

Over $5,000

Term of Contract:

Grant periods are capped at one year. Multi-year funding requests are considered on an invitation-only basis, and only grant partners who have received at least one year of funding from the Foundation in the past are eligible for these invitations.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

LOI submissions are accepted from organizations that provide services in or are based in one of the Fund's geographic areas of focus (exceptions may be made on invitation of the board); this includes Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, and Frederick County.

All organizations seeking funding, regardless of amount requested, are required to meet the following criteria:
- Provide evidence of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3), OR, in the case of international grantees, provide similar proof of tax exemption to the satisfaction of the Executive Director;
- Provide up-to-date contact details for regular communications;
- Adhere to the principles of the Foundation and the Foundation's mission statement.

The Helen J. Serini Foundation will not make grants to the following:
- Organizations that engage in discriminatory hiring, benefit or service practices based on race, color, nationality or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, gender, gender orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran status or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law.
- Individuals
- Political Action Committees (PAC) or lobbying efforts (exclusive of research)
- 509(a)(3) organizations
- Religious institutions that have not submitted a 1023 form and/or received their 501(c)(3) status
- Reimbursement for prior expenses

Pre-Application Information:

LOIs are accepted throughout most of the year, with specific cut-offs for LOI submission to be considered for a specific grant cycle. The LOI process closes each fall after the deadline for the fall grant cycle passes, and re-opens in late December/early January for the spring grant cycle.

All LOIs will be reviewed in detail by the Program Officer and a select committee of community volunteers and board members. On invitation, organizations will be able to access the full grant proposal form via the online application system. Receipt of all proposals will be acknowledged in writing.

Spring 2019 Grant Cycle Deadlines:

- January 25: Letters of Inquiry due by 5:00 PM
- March 8: Invitations to submit proposals sent
- April 12: Proposals due
- April 12 - April 26: Site visits, on-site interviews, etc., conducted as needed
- Early June: Notification of proposal acceptance or declination

Fall 2019 Grant Cycle Deadlines (The final timeline for the Fall 2019 Grant Cycle will be announced in late spring. The time frames below are approximate to allow for advance planning):
- Late June/Early July: Letters of Inquiry due (LOIs are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year, but any LOIs received after June 30 will be considered part of the next funding cycle)
- Late August: Invitations to submit proposals sent
- Late September: Proposals due
- August - September: Site visits, on-site interviews, etc. conducted as needed
- Mid-November: Notification of proposal acceptance or declination

All organizations submitting a proposal will receive a written notice regarding the decision on the proposal.

To preview the questions asked in full proposals for funding amounts over $5,000, download the attached PDFs. For information on how to apply for funding in amounts less than $5,000, please contact Kerry McHugh, Program Officer, using the contact information below.

Types of grants:

Preview the LOI form:

Grant guidelines:


History and Philosophy:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

Kerry A. McHugh,VP, Program Officer

The Helen J. Serini Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 146
Reisterstown, Maryland 21136

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Maryland: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, and Frederick County