Applicant Bill of Rights

Applicant Bill of Rights

These are our commitments to our grant applicants as they engage with us, regardless of the final funding decision.

We Want You to Succeed

  • We know that applying for a grant requires significant organizational time and resources. We want to make the best use of your energy and strive to invite proposals we think have a high chance of success. Unfortunately, not all proposals are funded. If this happens, we communicate the Trustees’ rationale for the decline and any relevant feedback.
  • We are committed to understanding what makes your project unique and important. This means that we often have a lot of questions for you as we work to understand how your projects fits within our guidelines and grantmaking priorities. In addition to written materials, we schedule an in-person meeting. We find that talking face-to-face allows us to understand the project – and your enthusiasm – in a way that doesn’t always translate on paper.

We Carefully Consider Each Request

Each grant seeker is a potential community partner, and every proposal is thoroughly considered. This is what the grant application process includes:

Letter of Inquiry

Organizations submit a Letter of Inquiry to Leslie Schoen at

  • Letters of Inquiry should describe your organization, the purpose of your request for funding, the funding priority under which you are seeking a grant, the amount requested, grant duration, and projected outcomes.
  • Letters should be on organizational letterhead and signed by the Chief Executive Officer on behalf of the organization's Board of Directors.

Online Application

If the Letter of Inquiry is accepted, the organization is invited to submit an online grant application. Quarterly due dates and the required application materials are available on the Steelcase Foundation website.

Follow-up Questions

After reviewing the application, the Foundation will have follow-up questions and may request more detailed information about aspects of the proposal.

In-Person Meeting

The Steelcase Foundation will schedule a one-hour in-person meeting (or phone call for organizations in Athens, Alabama) to discuss your proposal.
Grant Assessment: Steelcase Foundation staff prepare an assessment and summary of your proposal and make a written recommendation to the Board of Trustees.

Board of Trustee Meeting

The Board of Trustees discuss each proposal and may vote to approve or decline the request.

Communication to Organization

Grant contracts with the Trustees’ decision are mailed about two to three weeks after the meeting. Once signed and returned, payment will be sent. You don’t have to wait that long to get an answer though! Organizations are invited to contact Steelcase Foundation staff the day after the Board Meeting to learn about the Board’s decision.

This process takes several months from start-to-finish, so we encourage organizations to plan ahead and consider this timeline when deciding to apply for a grant.

We Will Be Transparent & Communicate

  • We will be transparent about timelines and process so that you have a general sense of what to expect and when you will get an answer from us.
  • Applications are sometimes delayed for various reasons and we will inform you as quickly as possible if that happens.

We Value Your Feedback

  • We are a small team and sometimes make mistakes. We always welcome your communication and engagement with us. Don’t be afraid to reach out!
  • We embrace a culture of learning and are always looking to improve our processes. We will ask you to complete an anonymous feedback survey after a grant decision has been made. We appreciate your commitment to our learning, both in the feedback survey and throughout your engagement with us.

Have questions? See our grants frequently asked questions page.