Early Opportunities Initiative FAQs
The following frequently asked questions are intended to help applicants know more about the process and content of Brindle Foundation’s grant-making. If these questions and answers do not address your concerns, please reach out to Mary Nell Wegner, Brindle’s Executive Director, at marynell@brindlefoundation.org or 505-986-3983.

Questions about eligibility to apply for a grant

Q: If my organization has submitted a proposal in the past to the Brindle Foundation, are we eligible to apply again?
A: Yes, regardless of whether an earlier proposal was funded, the Brindle Foundation does not limit the number of times an organization can apply for a grant.

Q: My organization addresses early childhood through work in pre-K. Do you fund any pre-k programming?
A: The Brindle Foundation’s primary focus in its Early Opportunities Initiative is pre-natal to age 3. That said, if you can make the case that the work of your organization also addresses needs at an age earlier than pre-K, feel free to apply.

Q: My agency works in direct service for children 0-3 in a NM county other than the five northern counties mentioned (Santa Fe, San Miguel, Mora, Rio Arriba and Taos). Are we still eligible to apply?
A: Your agency’s eligibility to apply for a grant must rest on one of the criteria so, if your services to children 0-3 are not located in one of the 5 northern counties, your eligibility must be based on the second, systemic-focused track of funding (e.g. advocacy or policy; innovation; coordination and collaboration; or higher education).  

Q: If my agency gets public as well as private funding, are we eligible to apply?
A: Yes, Brindle Foundation considers any nonprofit or public sector organization eligible to apply for a grant if recognized as nonprofit by the IRS (or with a fiscal agent or sponsor classified as such), or is a US government or tribal government entity.

Q: My organization is a nonprofit with a religious focus. Are we eligible to apply?
A: While Brindle funds organizations that have affiliations with religious institutions, the foundation does not fund organizations with an explicitly religious focus, and expects programs to be inclusive of people irrespective of faith.

Q: We would like to apply for Brindle support but do not have an organizational non-discrimination policy. Can we still apply?
A: Brindle Foundation is committed to non-discrimination and inclusivity. If your organization does not yet have a policy that addresses its commitment to non-discrimination, you will be asked to submit a written policy signed by the board chair and executive director. We offer ideas for what this could look like here.

Questions about funding

Q: Is there a maximum amount of funding possible to apply for?
A: Organizations that are first-time applicants are usually eligible to apply for a grant of up to $15,000. Organizations that have already been funded once and successfully met the goals outlined in their proposal may apply for more funding.  

Q: Does the Brindle Foundation ever fund multi-year grants?
A: Although the Brindle Foundation primarily funds single-year grants, on some occasions, the foundation funds organizations for more than a year at a time. If interested in a multi-year grant, please make the case for why this is important in your proposal narrative, tick the appropriate box on the grant application portal (for a two- or three-year grant) and fill in a multi-year budget template in your application on the portal.  

Q: When will we know if we have been successful in our grant application process? If successful, when will we receive the funds?
A: Decisions will be made by the Board of Trustees in the fall of 2020 and organizations will be notified in November. Funds will be received late in 2020.  

Q: Does it matter if my organization’s fiscal year is different than the calendar year?
A: No, often organizations have different fiscal years and that does not affect how your application will be reviewed. Because our grant terms are based on the calendar year, we request you describe your grant budget across this period.  

Questions about creating a budget to accompany the proposal

Q: Previously, the Brindle Foundation had three categories of funding non-profit organizations could apply for, and now there seems to be only one. Is that correct?
A: Yes. Regardless of whether you are seeking support for a one-time or equipment purchase;  project(s), program, or service costs; or assistance with operating expenses, all applicants will use the same budget template this year. Please fill in the budget template using the instructions provided. If, for example, you do not have a one-time or equipment purchase request, just leave that section blank. The budget template is set up so that you can add or delete line items as needed.

Q: So does Brindle still fund general operating expenses? In other words, can we do whatever we want with the funds received if we are a successful applicant?
A: If selected as a grantee, Brindle is committed to supporting the work you do. This year, if you are interested in support with operating expenses, we are asking you to frame your request in terms of costs to do the work you do, both direct and indirect. Brindle will fund a maximum of 15% of indirect costs.

Q: How are you defining direct and indirect costs?
A: We are using the term direct costs to describe expenses that are directly incurred for the work described in your proposal or, in other words, the specific project(s), program, or services for which you are requesting funds. Examples include salaries for program staff (or percentage time thereof), consultants, travel expenses, and materials or services required to execute the work. An easy way to think of direct costs are expenses that would not be incurred if the project(s) or program did not exist.  We are defining indirect costs as overhead and administrative expenses necessary to support an organization’s general operation - which are shared across projects or programs. Examples include rent and utilities, office furniture, computers (if used for more than one program or project) and information systems, as well as the costs of functions like development, finance and accounting, human resources, etc. Some organizations also use services for cleaning or security, and those would fall under indirect costs, as would organizational bank fees. If your organization is using a fiscal agent or sponsor, their cost would be included in indirect costs, too. Additionally, information technology is often considered an indirect cost unless specific information technology exists only to benefit a specific project or program (in which case it would be a direct cost.) Expenses like the ones listed above would be incurred in some amount with or without a specific project or program grant. While not incurred solely because of a project or program, they are necessary for the organization to execute their work.  

Q: If Brindle will add a maximum of 15% to the total grant request to cover indirect costs, do I have to list them?
A: As we pilot this model of grant-making it is helpful for us to see what you consider your indirect costs. We are interested in learning from you what it truly costs your organization (or department) to run. For this reason, we ask you to estimate your most expensive indirect costs and share them with us and hope that it is not too time-consuming an exercise.

Q: I am applying on behalf of a program that I run within a much larger institution. Do you want to know the entire institution’s indirect costs?
A: If your program is within a large institution that has many departments or divisions (such as a university, community center, or hospital), please share the smallest relevant unit of administration. For example, if you have a department of early childhood education within a School of Education, we are interested in learning about departmental indirect costs if more relevant than the entire school’s indirect costs. If you have a daycare within a community center, please consider the daycare the unit that you describe. In a hospital setting, please describe the applicable program or service portfolio rather than the entire hospital’s indirect costs. In other words, we are asking what costs your program needs to cover, as opposed to what your larger organizational administration needs to cover.  

Q: If our indirect costs are more than 15%, should I add that to our grant request?
A: No, with this funding, Brindle is offering up to an additional 15% to the budget that reflects the direct costs. No amount above 15% may be submitted.  

Q: Do I need to use a template for my budget?
A: We have provided a template in PDF for you to use. On this form, there are some basic calculations done for you to total costs. While we would prefer that you use this downloadable form, if you would prefer to construct a budget using excel, for example, please replicate the format of the PDF template in creating your own.

Q: What should I do if I cannot figure out where to add a line item for the budget?
A: Please feel free to be in touch with Mary Nell at marynell@brindlefoundation.org. She will be happy to help you.

Questions about new areas of focus

Q: I noticed that you have a track on innovation. Is there a specific way you are defining “innovation”?
A: No, we are using the term broadly. We look forward to learning about ideas that demonstrate novel ways of thinking or acting in their approach to addressing critical issues or problems. If you think an approach is innovative, we would welcome reading about how the approach described in your proposal will address the issue identified in a new way.

Q: Under your “coordination and collaboration” track, do you expect the organization we want to partner with also to submit a proposal or should we just submit one proposal jointly?
A: If possible and it makes sense to do so, we would appreciate a description of your proposed partnership through one proposal which either organization may submit. If successful, the grant funds would flow to the submitting organization.  An additional goal of this track is to share resources among organizations in any way helpful to all. For example, for support to perform a certain function, for “back office” support through shared equipment or materials, or any way that would promote efficiency across organizations.

Questions about flexibility

Q: This has been a really unusual year with a lot of unanticipated events and costs, as well as a lot of work that my organization has not been able to complete. As a result, I am worried that work I describe in the proposal we may not ultimately be able to do. If that happens, what should I do?
A: The Brindle Foundation understands that this year is one that could not have been predicted when organizations were writing proposals before the pandemic. For this reason, we have opted for flexibility when hearing from grantees that they have needed to change course. Our interest is in having open communication with all of our grantees so, if you find yourself having to deal with unanticipated events, please reach out to us and Mary Nell (marynell@brindlefoundation.org) will be happy to talk with you and assist in devising a solution.