Grant Implementation Guidelines

2021 Guiding Principles and Priorities

Legacy Foundation will not tolerate racism in our organization or in the neighborhoods where we live and work. As the community foundation for Lake County, Indiana, we are committed to seeing all residents lifted to their fullest potential. Our experience has shown us that when we work together, there is positive, meaningful, and long-lasting change. At Legacy Foundation, we are committed to taking immediate and long-term action to uplift minority voices in our community. We know that funding needs will far exceed our limited grant dollars. While a broad range of organizations are eligible to apply, we will prioritize funding in support of populations disproportionately impacted by inequities exacerbated by racial and social injustice and/or COVID-19. We aim to fund a mix of proposals in communities across Lake County and anticipate funding organizations working in a range of fields and addressing an array of challenges.

  • We value Lake County’s diverse regions and populations, and we seek to advance equity, diversity and inclusion through our funding.
  • We are committed to funding across Lake County with grant dollars reaching our rural, suburban and urban communities.
  • We give high priority to investments that are strengths-based and create positive, substantive change.
  • We prioritize investments that demonstrate strong community support, solid planning and wise stewardship.
  • We believe that impactful, creative and sustainable solutions come from people closest to the issues being addressed and implemented by organizations trusted by the community.
Grant Program Policies and Guidelines

From its unrestricted assets and individual funds, the Legacy Foundation makes grants of over $1 million each year in the local community. Typically, grants are awarded through the Foundation’s competitive grant cycles. In addition, the Foundation Board of Directors may from time to time identify specific community projects or programs that may be funded from unrestricted funds.

In order to fulfill most effectively its philanthropic responsibilities within the limits of its resources, Legacy Foundation’s grant program will emphasize focused and effective types of grants. This grant policy applies only to those funds included in the Lake County Community Fund (Transform Lake County).

Competitive Grant Cycle Areas of Interest:
For grantmaking during Legacy Foundation’s competitive grant cycles, grant requests will be considered which fall into the following general categories:

  • Arts and Culture – to support programs and facilities that are designed to establish a diversified cultural program that offers widespread opportunities for participation and appreciation.
  • Community Development – to support programs related to community development, e.g. citizen involvement, leadership training, and general community programs and projects.
  • Education – to support projects and supplementary educational programs for pre‐school, secondary and post‐secondary students. (See limitations regarding direct funding for schools under Grant Policies in this document.)
  • Environment – to support environmental education and activities which help to enhance and maintain a healthy environment.
  • Health – to support programs which have direct impact on the health of the community through education and treatment.
  • Human Services – to support human service programs which assist residents with day‐to‐day needs such as shelters, food and transportation; and programs that assist residents in becoming more self-sufficient and improving their quality of life.
  • Recreation – to provide opportunities in the community for leisure and family friendly activities.
  • Youth Development – to support the healthy growth, development, and activities of young people.

Emergency Grant Process:
Prospective grantees are encouraged to apply for grants during the regular competitive grant cycles. Unsolicited grant requests made outside of these cycles will only be considered by the Foundation if it is determined that the request constitutes an “emergency” in the sole discretion of the Foundation. To be qualified for consideration, emergency grant requests must meet one of the following criteria:

  • The request is time‐sensitive in nature and could not have been predicted or reasonably planned for during the regular grant cycles.
  • The request is to support a true community emergency need or an emergency need of an agency, such as essential equipment repairs, that would prevent it from carrying out its primary mission.

The Board authorizes staff to make initial determination of eligibility for an emergency grant. If staff determines the request is qualified, they may make a recommendation concerning the awarding of the grant to the Board or Executive Committee, whichever is scheduled to meet closest to the requested date.

For grants made through any of these processes, the following policies will apply:

  • Grants will be made only to organizations whose programs benefit the residents of Lake County.
  • Grants from Legacy Foundation must meet legal and tax requirements and may be made only to qualified, tax-exempt organizations and qualifying programs. Schools, religious organizations, some civic organizations and local government units may be exempt from this requirement. In specific situations and with advance approval the Foundation may, from time to time, issue a grant to a non-501(c)(3) public charity or exempt organization for which it must undertake expenditure responsibility in order to meet legal and tax requirements.
  • Grantees are required to submit a grant application.
  • Grantees must submit a final grant evaluation report in the manner required by the Foundation.
Legacy Foundation Grant Program Guidelines
  1. The broad purpose of the Legacy Foundation (herein referred to as “the Foundation”) is to build a culture of philanthropy across generations that will positively transform Lake County.
  2. The Foundation will strive to maintain both a proactive focus and an ability to respond to creative ideas from grant seekers.
  3. Grant funding will encourage programs that enhance cooperation and collaboration among organizations within our community.
  4. Only one application per qualified, tax-exempt organization will be accepted per grant cycle. If an organization chooses to act as a fiscal sponsor for another organization applying for a grant, the fiscal sponsor may not also apply for a grant on its own behalf during the same grant cycle.
  5. Grantees that are unable to spend or encumber the entire amount awarded or complete a majority of the funded activity within the funded grant period are required to either refund any remaining balance with an explanation or submit a grant period extension request. Extensions must be requested before the current grant period ends. Failure to provide a timely extension request could result in forfeiture of all remaining funds, at the Foundation’s sole discretion. Timely filed extension requests shall be approved or denied in writing by the Foundation in its sole discretion. Upon the Foundation’s receipt of an extension request, grantees will be notified of our decision within 10-14 business days. If approved, all funds must be expended within the time period approved and a final report filed with the Foundation in writing. If denied, all remaining funds must be returned within 30 days of notification to the Foundation.
  6. In reviewing grant applications, the Foundation will give careful consideration to:
    • The potential impact of the request and the number of people who will benefit;
    • The innovative and experimental nature of the request;
    • Local volunteer and other support for the project;
    • The commitment of the requesting organization’s governing board;
    • The degree to which the request works with or complements the work or programs of other community organizations in an attempt to eliminate duplication of services;
    • The organization’s fiscal responsibility and management qualifications;
    • The possibility of using the grant as seed money for matching funds from other sources;
    • The ability of the organization to obtain any additional funding that may be needed to complete the project; and
    • The organization’s ability to provide ongoing funding after the grant has expired.
  7. The Legacy Foundation does not typically fund:
    • Annual appeals, endowment funds, membership contributions or fundraising events
    • Existing obligations, loans or debt retirement
    • Long-term operating support
    • Multi-year grants or repeat funding for the same project or program
    • Medical, scientific or academic research
    • Schools, universities and private academies unless there is a significant opportunity for community use or collaboration
    • Projects aimed at promoting a particular religion or construction projects of churches and other religious institutions
    • Political campaigns, advocacy or direct lobbying efforts by 501(c)(3) organizations
    • Services commonly regarded as the responsibility of governmental agencies, such as fire and police protection
    • Travel for individuals, bands, sports teams, classes and similar groups
Eligibility and Evaluation of Proposals

Grants are typically made for activity undertaken in one year. Grant recipients may apply in future years for funding but are not given priority or guaranteed additional funding. Legacy Foundation encourages organizations to diversify their funding sources and to seek gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations. You may only submit one application per type of grant per grant cycle. If awarded, organizations may be awarded one grant from each type of grant we offer in any 12 month period. Further, even if the twelve month period passes, you may not apply for the same type of grant if you have not submitted a final grant report from the last grant received.

  • Example 1: If you receive a Transform Lake County grant, you cannot receive another Transform Lake County grant for up to 12 months after the first grant was submitted. In addition to waiting 12 months, you must also complete all conditions stated in your grant agreement such as scheduling a site visit and completing a grant report of your program activities and financial expenditures. However, if the organization is current and compliant with their grant activities, they may apply for an additional grant such as the Thriving Hobart Seniors grant.
  • Example 2: You may not submit 2 different applications for Transform Lake County during the same grant cycle, but you may submit 1 application for TLC and 1 application for Thriving Hobart Seniors.

Please note: if your organization does not comply with grant guidelines, your organization may jeopardize the potential for future funding.

Grantees must be in compliance with all state and federal guidelines and adhere to best practices for non-profit organizations. As such, organizations must comply with the following prequalifying questions in order to be eligible to apply:

  • Does the board of directors or governing body meet at least four times per year with a majority in attendance?
  • Is the board of directors or governing body comprised of a minimum of 5 voting officers, including a President, Secretary, and Treasurer?
  • Does the board of directors or governing body approve an annual organizational budget?
  • Does the board of directors or governing body receive and review, at least quarterly, financial reports that detail approved budget to actual revenue/expenditures?
  • Does the treasurer (or someone not involved in transactions) review and sign off on monthly expenditures?
  • Does the board or governing body have a conflict of interest policy?
  • Is the organization in compliance with all requirements of the IRS and the Indiana Secretary of State?
  • My organization can answer “Yes” to one of the following statements:
    • We are a church or other house of worship
    • We file a Form 990, 990 EZ, or a 990 N
    • We file an audited financial statement
    • We have been in existence less than two years and have not yet had to file

Application Review Process

  • Staff reviews applications and provides preliminary recommendations
  • Staff recommendations are presented to the Grant Committee for review and funding decisions (Transform Lake County and Thriving Hobart Seniors)
  • Staff provides recommendations to the Knight Foundation for review and approval (Informed and Engaged Urban Communities)
  • The Board of Directors reviews and votes on all final funding decisions
  • Funding decisions are communicated to the applicants via e-mail

The following are reviewed to determine the strength of the request and/or the potential fit for the particular funding source.

  • Need
  • Capacity of Applicant Organization
  • Impact of Proposed Project
  • Cost
  • Investment of Funds
  • Partnership and collaborations

Organizations that are declined can reapply for funding during the next grant cycle. We suggest that you speak with a Legacy Foundation employee before reapplying.

Solicitation and Conflict of Interest

Personal solicitations to grants committee members or Legacy Foundation Board of Directors are strongly discouraged and may result in the disqualification of the application. All board members and grants committee members are required to declare any personal interest in any grant application. This declaration eliminates their participation in voting on the grant application and will be recorded in the minutes as an abstention. Grants committee members may not assist applicants in any way with the preparation or direction of their submissions.

The Legacy Foundation Board of Directors has the final authority and responsibility for approving all grant applications. Legacy Foundation staff, grants committee, or Board members are not authorized to release any information on the status of a grant application prior to final board approval.

Monitoring Grants

To ensure the appropriate use of our grant funds and compliance with state and federal regulations, the foundation has procedures for making and monitoring all grants. These include the following:

Grant Review: All grant applications are reviewed by staff and the Grants Committee. Recommendations are then presented to the Board of Directors and they determine their actions based on majority vote.

Signed Agreement: Failure by a grantee to sign the Statement of Conditions (SOC) or comply with any provision of the content may result in forfeiture of the grant award. The signed SOC must be returned within 30 days of notification of award.

One or More Site Visits: Program staff will visit the grantee during the term of the grant. Site visits usually occur 6 months after the grant notification, however, the organization is encouraged to reach out to Legacy Foundation staff to schedule a site visit during the time project activities are occurring.

Financial and Narrative Reports: At the close of the grant term, grantees are required to submit a final report reviewed by program staff for compliance with the grant agreement. Final reports are due exactly 13 months from the date of the signed SOC (1 month after the close of the 12 month grant period). Any grantee with overdue reports will not be eligible for future grants until in compliance and may be prohibited from applying for any funding for the six month period beginning the day after the overdue report was submitted. Reports should be submitted online through our website.

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Legacy Foundation seeks to promote respect for all people. The Legacy Foundation will not knowingly support organizations whose programs or services are not open to all without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, age, medical condition, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law. We recognize that organizations may identify special needs in the community and target programs or services to a specific population based on those needs; however, the programs must be open to all people in those targeted populations to be eligible for grant consideration.

Grant Implementation

Grant Number
Each grant is assigned a grant number (see grant agreement). Please refer to this number in any grant-related correspondence.

Obtaining Payment
Payment is provided once Legacy Foundation receives a signed grant agreement. Please allow three weeks following the submission of the signed grant agreement for the processing of your payment.

Some payments may be contingent on the attainment of certain goals rather than a specific date. If the payment is based on reaching a certain goal or other stipulations, proof of meeting those requirements must be submitted in writing to Legacy Foundation staff prior to payment processing.

Documentation of Matching Funds
The Board of Directors of the Legacy Foundation may impose a matching requirement so that you can use the Foundation’s grant as leverage for new gifts or increased gifts from donors. Therefore, matching funds must be new money raised and received specifically for the granted project during the time period outlined in your grant letter.

For all grants requiring a match, qualifying matching funds must consist of irrevocable contributions of cash or equivalents (i.e. stocks or bonds) or property.

Reporting Your Match
Your report indicating you have raised your required matching funds should consist of a letter restating your grant number and matching terms and indicating the total amount you are requesting from the Foundation. You should attach firm documentation of the matching funds such as copies of checks from donors or grant letters from foundations, government agencies and corporations. Gifts under $250 may be listed on a spreadsheet indicating the name of the donor, amount received during the matching period, nature of the contribution (cash, planned gift, in-kind) and date of gift.

Valuation of In-Kind Match
If your grant letter allows an in-kind match, please follow these accounting guidelines:

  • Donated materials should be reported at their fair market value if you have an objective, measureable basis for assigning value. The donor will usually assign a value of the gift.
  • Donated services should be reported if: they are a normal part of the project and would be otherwise performed by paid personnel (i.e. legal, accounting, investing, tax services); the grantee exercises control over the employment and the duties of the donor; and there is a measureable basis for assigning a value to the service being donated.
  • The following cannot be claimed as in-kind services: Direct services designed to be provided by volunteers, periodic volunteer services for fund raising and time spent by board members and board committees in carrying out governance activities.

For further guidelines on valuation, please refer to

Purchasing and Procurement

Legacy Foundation encourages procurement of professional services through competitive negotiation to ensure quality work and best pricing. Unless otherwise noted in your award announcement or grant agreement, all real estate, equipment and materials purchased with Foundation funds become the grantee’s permanent property. If the grantee nonprofit is legally dissolved, its assets should be transferred to another nonprofit with a similar mission, in accordance with IRS regulations. For further Indiana guidelines, please refer to


Modifications to the funded project’s intent, the grant period, and budget amounts must be approved by Legacy Foundation. Significant variations may require the Foundation Board’s approval. Approval of modifications should be requested in writing. Modifications under 10% of the total grant amount do not require Foundation approval.

Record Keeping and Accounting

You are required to keep financial records with respect to a grant, along with any reports submitted to the Foundation, for at least two years following the termination of the grant.