Guidelines for grant applicants

The Rotary Club of Charleston Fund (the RCCF) is a charitable grant-making fund organized by the Rotary Club of Charleston in Charleston, S.C., that is used exclusively for charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the “Code”).

Purpose

The RCCF makes contributions primarily to support local community needs, although the fund’s granting authority is flexible enough to support other projects deemed by the Fund’s board to qualify for charitable, educational or other philanthropic purposes.

Grants disbursed by the RCCF primarily are targeted for unique or non-recurring needs, as outlined below. Grants are for specific short-term projects, one-time events or one-time needs. Grants, awarded with the scope of the purposes of section 501(c)(3) of the Code, are not awarded to organizations for multiple or successive years. Grants will not be awarded for general operating needs of an organization.

Grant eligibility

To receive a grant from the RCCF, organizations must meet the following requirements.

1.  Nonprofit organization.  The grantee organization must be:

a. A non-profit organization in compliance with Section 501(c)(3) of the Code, or

b. If the grantee is not a non-profit organization as describe above, the RCCF board shall exercise due diligence in determining eligibility for any grant.

2. Proximity. Grant applications should focus on projects that generally are within Charleston County and support unique or non-recurring needs.

3. Type of projects. When applying for RCCF funding, it is important for organizations to understand that the RCCF does not normally fund multi-year projects, recurring needs, operating expenses, or annual budget items. It focuses on specific, one-year unique or non-recurring needs that support priorities of the Rotary Club of Charleston. Ideally, the grant should cover all or most of the cost of the requested item, such as the purchase price of a computer. This helps the RCCF Committee distinguish an eligible request from a non-eligible request for operational funds. Funded projects generally fall into, but are not limited to, three areas:

a. Health. The RCCF awarded $1,000.00, for example, to the American Lung Association of South Carolina to cover the costs of sending 1-2 children to Camp Puff ‘n Stuff, a summer camp designed to teach asthmatic campers about their condition to help avoid emergency room visits and school absenteeism. The RCCF has also previously provided grant money to Water Missions International, a local nonprofit that builds clean water machines for distribution throughout the world.

b. Education. The RCCF awarded, for example, $1,500.00 to Junior Achievement of Coastal South Carolina to provide materials and instruction to 75 students at Mitchell Elementary School regarding the topics of free enterprise, business, and economics. Similarly, the RCCF awarded $500 to YEScarolina to distribute books to needy Charleston County students.

c. Welfare. The RCCF awarded, for example, $1,500.00 to Florence Crittenton to provide new and properly installed car seats to 30 expectant mothers in the Florence Crittenton Residential Program. Likewise, RCCF awarded $1000 to Veterans on Deck to provide life vests for veterans receiving job skills training while on boats at sea.

4. Religious organizations. It is not the RCCF’s intent to award grants to religious organizations. However, grant requests for organizations that are sponsored or affiliated with religious organizations will be considered if they meet the purpose of the RCCF, as described above.

5. “Year off” rule. Organizations that receive funding must wait a full fiscal year from receiving an award through the RCCF before applying for another grant. The RCCF fiscal year starts each July 1.

For example, if an organization applied for a grant in March 2011 and received it in May 2011, it would have to wait a full fiscal year (July 2011 to June 2012) before being able to reapply at the next grant cycle in September 2012.

6. Club Member Sponsor. Applications should be sponsored by a member of the Rotary Club of Charleston.

Generally, the RCCF accepts requests for grants from $250.00 to $2,000.00, with the majority of grants being between $750.00 and $1,500.00. In rare cases, other amounts may be awarded. We recommend that you check with the club before making an application outside of the normal funding range.

Grant selection and disbursement process

The RCCF uses the following process to award grants to qualified nonprofit organizations:

1. Advisory committee. As related under the provisions of the by-laws of the RCCF, a Special Advisory Committee on Fund Operations (“The Committee”) will accept, consider and make recommendations to the RCCF governing board on grant applications received on a periodic basis, as outlined below.

2. Grant pool. At the beginning of each fiscal year, the Committee will receive information from the RCCF’s governing board about the amount of money expected to be released for grants for that fiscal year.

3. Grant approval cycle. The Committee will accept, review and make recommendations for grants twice a year.

a. Timetable. To be considered for a grant, applicants must submit an application by the following timetable:

March 1 — To be considered for the April grant review period.
September 1 — To be considered for the October grant review period.

The RCCF Board may allow applications to be received at other intervals in the event of unforeseen emergencies, such as a catastrophic hurricane in Charleston County.

b. Review of applications. The Committee, which is responsible for approving or denying grant requests, will meet, consider, review and make recommendations to the governing board during the month following each deadline for grant applications.

4. Governing board recommendation. After receiving the Committee’s recommendation, the RCCF board then will make final decisions within a month for disbursements of grant monies. Once approved, the RCCF will notify successful grant recipients and those organizations whose applications have been denied.

5. Unused grant funds. If any funds from the grant pool are not spent by the end of the fiscal year, they will be deposited into the corpus of the RCCF’s primary grant-making account.

How to apply for a grant

Interested organizations must submit a Letter of Inquiry and a completed Grant Application form, which can be downloaded here.

This letter should be no longer than two pages and should include the following:

  • A description of the organization;
  • The purpose for which funds are being requested;
  • A summary of the plan of action or proposed activities;
  • Rotarian involvement (each applicant must have a sponsor who is a member of the Rotary Club of Charleston);
  • The intended results;
  • Who was involved in identifying this project (e.g., board, staff, members) and;
  • The amount requested.

Grant requests must be submitted electronically by sending the completed application by e-mail to:

Grant payment

Grant payments will be processed by the RCCF as soon as administratively possible upon receipt of instruction from the RCCF board at the end of each grant cycle.

For more information

Contact the president of the Rotary Club of Charleston, who changes each July 1, or the Club’s Executive Secretary. More.