FAQ

Rounds 1 and 2 have now closed.
Grant recipients to be announced March 6 and Oct 1. 

Round 3 opens 4th Quarter, 2014
Future grant opportunities will be announced as funding permits.

There are untold numbers of significant and worthy grassroots projects that deserve the support of donor investment. Learn how to apply for a cash grant for your project... ​or why you should invest in the "boots on the ground" as a donor.

What is the goal of Foundation for Common Sense?  

The goal of Foundation for Common Sense ("Foundation") is straightforward:  to connect the Donor to the Do-er.  No other national grassroots liberty organization directly supports with a financial investment the tireless efforts of the true patriots, the actual boots on the ground. Investing in tangible achievements that donors can see, and other activists can learn from, that is Foundation's objective.

What are the guiding principles of Foundation?

It is our belief that by promoting the principles of the Constitution horizontally in communities nationwide - and not just vertically with a single minded goal of winning political victories - the movement will gain sustained momentum, effect greater change in the long run and achieve permanence.

Foundation for Common Sense is a Non Profit 501(c)(3) corporation, registered with the Missouri Secretary of State's office and the Internal Revenue Service. Its stated purpose: "Funding organizational projects and education on the principles and goals of conservatism, among them:

  • Free Enterprise
  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility

This is accomplished by distributing donor contributions and proceeds from the annual “Rally for Common Sense,” via competitive cash grant awards, to grassroots projects nationwide that perpetuate these (and other) pillars of conservative Constitutionalism.

How is Foundation funded?

Foundation is the = (equal sign) between Donor and Do'er.

Comparisons can be made to the United Way. There is a direct connection between how much support the Foundation receives and how much support can be offered to grassroots organizations. Tax deductible contributions are pooled for cash grants to projects that are within the guiding principles of Foundation and, thus, donors' principles.

(Note: Through private donor development, Foundation officially launched Dec. 1, 2013 with significant funding already in place to underwrite the inaugural rounds of grants.) 

Foundation is a responsible and trustworthy steward of donor dollars, operating in a traditional non-profit fashion relative to process, procedures and reporting.  Contributions do not go into a "black hole". Rather, donors will be able to see the impact they're making. Grantees will be announced and their projects will be featured on the website.  Ideally, many of the winning proposals are universal enough in their objective that they serve as a template for other activists to duplicate in their communities.

We ALL bring something to the table; TOGETHER we can make a difference.  

Are donations tax-deductible?

Yes. The Foundation for Common Sense is registered as a 501(c)(3) corporation in the state of Missouri.  All donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. The Foundation for Common Sense's tax identification number is 33-1229255

Can donors stipulate how their contribution is distributed?

Generally speaking, no. Grant awardees are determined by an impartial and independent committee.

By contributing to Foundation, donors acknowledge the shared values and goals and rely on Foundation to vet grant applications for viability, impact and sustainability.

That said, there may be exceptions on a case-by-case basis, depending on the size of the donor's investment and the donor's objective. Foundation Director Kim Paris will work with major donors to accommodate these types of requests.

What is the most common grant amount in the open application process?  

Grant amounts will vary and be set forth in each application period. There will always be a cap, and applicants are advised to provide fiscally sound proposals up to stated limits. Remember, this is a competitive process and donors (via Foundation) are seeking the best bang for their buck. So, for instance, if the cap is $3,000, it would be wiser to ask for less and to show a sound budget plan for that amount, than to ask for the maximum and fluff up the proposal to get to the cap.   

Apart from grants, what else does Foundation offer?  

Webinars on topics that go directly to SUCCESS. "How to Register a 501(c)(3)" or "Harnessing the Power of Social Media;" the possibilities are endless. Foundation is here to serve the grassroots - both Donors and Do-ers. It is committed to supporting the liberty movement as a “farmer,” nurturing a variety of grassroots projects to a bountiful harvest of meaningful outcomes in communities nationwide. As the grassroots speaks, Foundation will listen and strive to provide a platform to meet those educational needs.  

What is the grant application process?

Foundation has a two-part grant application process.

Part A (Short Form) Application - Applicants are asked to submit the Part 1 Application online.  The form and letter must be received no later than the specified deadline or be disqualified, no exceptions. Foundation will review this information and contact applicants within two weeks regarding the status of their application

Part B (Long Form) Application - If the Part 1 Application is found to be promising and within the guiding principles and objectives, the organization will be invited to submit Part 2.  Part 1 applicants not invited to submit full proposals will also receive written notification at this time.  

Where possible, Foundation Executive Director Kim Paris will offer insight and guidance as to why a particular application was not advanced to the committee with a Part B; because it's the goal of Foundation that this also be a learning opportunity, organizations are encouraged to continue to apply.

The Foundation will notify all of those who submit a Part B Application of the outcome of the Committee's deliberations.  Please note that submission of Part B does not guarantee that a grant request will be funded.

What is the inaugural grant making calendar?

Round One - CLOSED

Dec 1, 2013 -   Online applications available
Dec 31, 2013 - Part 1 Proposals due
Jan 6, 2014 -   Part 1 applicants contacted via email regarding whether they are invited to submit Part 2.
Jan 31, 2014 - Part 2 Proposals due
Mar 6, 2014 -   Foundation Committee decision. Grant awardees announced to the public at CPAC
Apr 1, 2014 -   Signed Grant Agreements due; Foundation check issued

Round Two - CLOSED

Jan 1, 2014 -    Online applications available
Feb 1, 2014 -    Part 1 Proposals due
Feb 15, 2014 -  Part 1 applicants contacted via regarding whether or not they are invited to submit Part 2.
Mar 15, 2014 -  Part 2 Proposals due
Sept 15, 2014 - Foundation Committee decision
Oct 1, 2014 -    Grant awardees announced.
Nov 1, 2014 -   Signed Grant Agreements due; Foundation check issued

Round Three OPENS 4th Quarter, 2014

How many grant opportunities will there be in the future?

There will be as many rounds of grants as donor support allows.  For the moment, they'll run consecutively, but the sky's the limit. If there's sufficient funding, grant opportunities may run concurrently on a variety of specific issues and projects.   

Who decides which organizations get a grant?

Grant awardees are determined by an impartial and independent committee, utilizing a uniform set of guidelines and scoring matrix.

Which organizations/projects are not eligible for grants?  

Foundation does not award grants to 501(c)(4)'s, PAC's, candidates, lobbying efforts or individuals.  Further, at this time Foundation will not be considering grants for the hosting of conferences or rallies, event sponsorship fees, individual scholarships or the development of strategic plans.   

Does our group need to be an IRS designated 501(c)(3) to receive a grant?

Yes. Or alternatively, be functionally integrated with a 501(c)(3) that will accept funds and assume reporting responsibility.

Will a representative of the Foundation come to our group and see our project in action?  

Unfortunately, it's not possible for Foundation to visit organizations personally... BUT Foundation's donors are very anxious to see the fruits of your labor. In fact, all grant awardees will have a reporting responsibility. Foundation's website will feature your blog updates, pictures and videos; bringing publicity to your efforts and, ideally, other activists in other parts of the country will be inspired by your progress and duplicate your successful project elsewhere.

Can we send a draft of our proposal for a preliminary review in advance of making a formal application?

Given the volume of applications we anticipate receiving, Foundation will not be able to review draft applications.  However, we are happy to talk via email about any ideas you may have for the application.

Do you make general operating grants?

Yes.

Do you support capital campaigns?

Yes, under limited circumstances. If you are interested in applying for capital support it's recommended that you speak with Foundation Executive Director Kim Paris in advance of submitting an application.

How often can organizations apply?  

Only one application per grant cycle will be accepted, but there is no restriction on how many times in a year an organization may apply. Further, being an awardee does not disqualify you for future grants.

If we don't receive a grant, will we be given feedback?  

Yes, to the extent possible. It's Foundation's desire that this process be transformative, whether that's a cash grant or an opportunity to refine and improve your project and you reapply. Foundation, and the thousands of donors around the country it will ultimately represent, want the "boots on the ground" to be successful. We ALL bring something to the table; TOGETHER we can make a difference.

Will Foundation make lump sum, multi-year grants to a single organization?

Most grants made through the open application process are for one year. Multi-year grants are for Foundation-initiated programs only.

What happens after our organization is awarded a grant?

Congratulations,  now go forth with renewed determination and a spring in your step! And please report back regularly. In fact, your organization will have a formal reporting responsibility as a condition of funding; sounds ominous but it's not, just share with Foundation, its donors and other grassroots activists your progress.  Keep us posted, like writing letters home from camp. The specific guidelines will be provided to grant awardees.  

What else does the Foundation offer?

Let’s talk EDUCATE, the third cornerstone. Foundation for Common Sense and the donors it represents are committed to providing well-rounded support of your grassroots liberty projects. To that end, Foundation will be offering webinars on topics that go directly to YOUR SUCCESS. "How to Register a 501(c)(3)" or "Harnessing the Power of Social Media," Q&A with subject matter experts and the movers and shakers in our movement; the possibilities are endless.

Foundation is here to serve the grassroots, both Donors and Do-ers. As the grassroots speaks, Foundation will listen and strive to provide a platform to meet those educational needs. Stay connected to this website for announcement of upcoming webinars and other services aimed at helping you move the ball down the field in meaningful and measurable ways.

What is the best way to contact Foundation?

Executive Director Kim Paris and Foundation volunteers are happy to respond to emails.  If your questions have not been answered here, or you have a unique situation, please reach out by going to our Contact page.