Answers from the Foundation
How should I contact The Abell Foundation
to explore funding opportunities?
Initial contact can be made by sending
a 1- to 2-page letter outlining the description of the project,
funding needs and timeline, addressed to the attention of Robert
C. Embry Jr., President. In this way, the Foundation can determine
whether the project fits within the scope of the Foundation's interests.
If you seek more basic information, staff will field questions.
What kinds of projects does The Abell Foundation
The Foundation has seven broad program
areas of interest: community development; workforce development;
education; health and human services; criminal justice and addictions; conservation and environment;
and arts and culture. Within these areas, the Foundation invites
requests for demonstration projects, feasibility studies, strategic
planning, capital improvements,
new construction and equipment, program development and enhancements,
research, and program-related investments.
What is the geographic scope of the Foundation?
The Foundation funds non-profit organizations
located and active in Maryland. However, over 95 percent of our
grants are awarded to Baltimore metropolitan area organizations.
Are there other limitations?
The Foundation does not fund educational
programs at higher education institutions, medical facilities, individual
scholarships, fellowships, annual operating expenses, sponsorships,
deficit financing, endowments, travel or memberships.
What is the reasonable amount to request?
It is suggested that a review of our Annual
Report posted on our website gives a good indication of our current
focus and average size of grants. All requests should be carefully
considered in light of other alternative funding sources and overall
specific project costs. Sole source funding is discouraged.
Do you have deadlines? If so, when is the
next deadline and how soon will I hear about your board's decision?
In order to accomodate our staff's due
diligence and evaluation, the Foundation allocates six deadlines
a year, approximately seven weeks before the bi-monthly board meeting.
Refer to the Grantmaking section for particulars. You will receive
a postcard within a week of the Foundation's receipt of the proposal;
you may subsequently receive a telephone call from a designated
program officer requesting more information which may include a
request for a site visit, or office visit, additional clarification
and/or supporting information about the program and its budget.
Usually, you will be informed of the Board of Trustees' decision
in writing within one week of a scheduled meeting.
Shall I contact individual board members
to solicit support for our request?
As The Abell Foundation is fully staffed
with program officers in each area of interest, it is our policy
to discourage direct "lobbying" with our individual board
Are there any hints on what The Abell Foundation
would look for in order to receive favorable consideration and funding?
Weighted consideration is given to those
applications that include evidence of a clear understanding of the
nature of the issues, a well developed description of the proposed
program that addresses the issue, well articulated goals and objectives,
evidence of strong internal fiscal management and long-term fiscal
viability, evidence of personnel with qualifications to achieve
anticipated goals, realistic amount of request, evidence of enhancement
of services to the community, and capability to measure results
and communicate findings and lessons learned.
How often may my organization apply?
As The Abell Foundation funds projects
on their own merit, there may be occasions when there are several
grants that have been funded or are in the process of being reviewed
for funding. In other words, if your organization is currently being
funded, that does not mean that The Abell Foundation will not consider
a different proposal.
If our request is denied, when can we apply
again for the same purpose?
It is the policy of the Foundation that organizations should wait
at least a year before reapplying.
Why was my proposal denied?
Among the many reasons, the competition
has become increasingly stiff. In an average year, approximately
one in five proposals are funded. The current geographic focus on
initiatives in Baltimore has limited the foundation's abillity to
fund many proposals submitted from around the State. Shifting areas
of interest tend to limit the funding opportunities in several sectors.
Inadequate development of clear, measurable, programmatic goals
and objectives, sketchy fiscal details and lack of evidence for
ongoing funding tend to work against the likelihood of being funded.
And, on-going commitments of the Abell-initiated projects can limit
the amount of undesignated funding.
How many copies of the proposal does the
One copy is sufficient for purposes of
the staff's evaluation process.
What are The Abell Foundation hours of operation?
The Foundation's office is open from 8:30
am through 5:30 pm.
How should proposals be received?
We prefer delivery of the application by mail,
not fax or email.
Do you fund requests from individuals?
No, we only fund qualified tax-exempt non-profit
organizations located and carrying on actvities in the State of
What is a 501(c) (3) designation? How do
I go about obtaining a non-profit status for my organization?
501(c) (3) refers to the specification section
of the Internal Revenue Code that defines a non-profit organization.
For more information about the code and how to obtain a 501c (3)
designation, please contact the Internal
Does your foundation offer assistance
in grant writing?
The Foundation is willing to answer any questions
about the application; however it refrains from assisting in the
actual process of grant writing.
Who should I contact regarding media inquiries?
Please contact Mr. Robert C. Embry, Jr., President