Apply for Grants

The process for applying for grants is explained below.

The Foundation seeks to award grants for systemic type cases that will have an impact on a specific area of the law or a legal issue through the establishment of a legal precedent. The Foundation does not support cases where the relief sought is for an individual except if it would involve an important legal precedent addressing a systemic issue. Also, the Foundation does not support criminal cases where an individual is charged with a crime. Finally, the Foundation will not award a grant where an organization is seeking general support for its mission. The grant application must be for a specific case.

Consideration of grants will be rated and based upon (1) Alignment with the Foundation's Mission, (2) Quality of the Proposed Project, (3) Capacity of the Organization to Carry Out the Proposed Project, (4) Urgency of the Proposed Project, and (5) Financial Health and Stability of the Applicant Organization.

Using the above-stated five criteria the Foundation has established a rating system to evaluate grant applications. The rating criteria were developed by the Foundation's Board in conjunction with an industrial psychologist. A detailed description of the rating criteria can be found here.

A review of successful past grant awards and the Foundation’s Mission Statement will provide insight as to the matters that interest the Foundation. The Foundation supports organizations and funds matters that are consistent with Barbara McDowell’s past legal efforts and beliefs regarding social justice.

Successful grant applicants can be considered for grants in subsequent years based upon the results of the grantee’s efforts in the prior year.

See below to apply for a McDowell Foundation grant. 

Process for Applying for a Grant

The Foundation accepts applications for its grants each year beginning June 1st and applications must be submitted by August 1st for grants to be awarded for the following fiscal year of the Foundation which is October 1st to September 30th.

Applicants to the Foundation can either (A) submit a letter (no more than two to three pages) requesting support, containing the following information, (B) use the online application, below, to apply, or (C) download and submit the application document, below:

  1. Organizational history, including mission and goals.

  2. Current projects and a brief description of recent accomplishments.

  3. Federal tax-exempt number.

  4. List of key staff leaders and their positions.

  5. Current organizational budget showing revenues and expenses for the organization’s most recent fiscal year. (See here example budget to be completed and submitted with your application.)

  6. Description of the organization’s overhead for its last fiscal year. (See here example listing of Overhead Costs to be completed and submitted with your application.)

  7. A description of the litigation for which you are seeking support, including the case name (if ongoing), the opposing party or parties, the expected duration of the litigation, and its goals.

  8. The names of the attorneys who would be working on the litigation and their relevant experience.

  9. Acknowledgement that you agree that the Foundation can place a description of your project on the Foundation’s website.

  10. Agreement to submit semi-annual reports detailing the progress of the case for which the grant was made and agreement to discuss quarterly the case’s progress with the Foundation. Each Grantee receiving funds from the Foundation is required to submit a short report -- no longer than one or two pages -- after the first six months from the date of the award of the grant but no later than April 1st of the year following the date of the award of the grant detailing the status of the case and the progress on the case that has occurred in the past six months. The report should give the name of the attorney(s) whom the Foundation can contact if the Foundation requires further information. The Grantee should attach to the report any significant decisions in the case. The report should state the progress anticipated in the case in the next six months. A second report should be submitted on the anniversary date of the award of the grant but no later than September 1st of the year following the date of the award of the grant. If a grant will be sought for the succeeding year then that report should be submitted by August 1st. If that report is not submitted, a grant for the subsequent year will not be considered.

  11. Agreement to submit time daily records quarterly in a spreadsheet by January 15th (1st Report), April 15th, July 15th, and October 15th for the previous quarter showing (1) the hours worked each day by tenths of an hour by each attorney who worked on the case for which the grant was received, (2) a description of each task performed by that attorney, (3) the date that the work by that attorney was performed, and (4) the hourly billing rate for that attorney. The spreadsheet should also show the total hours and total time charges. The time records would span the one-year period from the date of the grant award beginning on October 1st and ending on September 30th. A sample time sheet can be found here. This information would allow the Foundation to see how its grant funds were being utilized and attributed to the case for which the grant was awarded. All funds not spent on the case for which the grant was awarded, as demonstrated by the time records submitted to the Foundation, would be returned to the Foundation by October 31st following the end of the grant year cycle. Along with the quarterly timesheets, the Grantee agrees to submit a brief paragraph on the status of the case for which the grant was given, including any noteworthy updates to be shared via the Foundation’s website and social media outlets.

  12. The Grantee agrees that, in the event that the Grantee violates or fails to carry out any provision of this Agreement, the Foundation may demand, in addition to any other legal remedies it may have, the return of part or all of the unexpended grant funds, which the Grantee shall repay to the Foundation within 15 business days of receiving written notice from the Foundation.

  13. Agreement to return and to recoupment by the Foundation of the grant funds should the case for which the grant was given not proceed in a significant way and to inform the Foundation within 21 days of this occurrence unless the Foundation agrees after such notice to fund another case to replace the case for which the grant was given. The Grantee agrees to return the grant funds within 15 days business days after receiving a written request from the Foundation.

  14. Agreement to complete and sign the Grant Agreement (found here) within 15 business days of receiving notice from the Foundation of the award of the grant and return to the Foundation by PDF and first class mail the signed Grant Agreement within that 15-day period. Upon receipt of the completed and signed Grant Agreement, the Foundation will sign the Grant Agreement and return a copy to the grantee. Further agreement to submit to the Foundation by PDF within that same 15-day period a description of your organization and a description of the case for which your organization received a grant. (See the Foundation’s website for examples from prior grant recipients of their submissions.)

Apply Online Download Application Monitoring Grants Rating Criteria