Grant Application Scoring Criteria 


The Barbara McDowell Foundation scores each grant application based on how well the application meets each of the five criteria as outlined below. 

Criteria 1: Quality of Proposed Case

(Score 9) Exceptional Quality - The quality of the proposed case is clearly of exceptional quality in that both the goals and methodology of the case are very well defined.

(Score 7) Very Good Quality - The quality of the proposed case is very good in that both the goals and methodology of the project are well defined.

(Score 5) Good Quality - The quality of the proposed case is good in that both the goals and methodology of the project are reasonably well defined. 

(Score 3) Fair Quality - The quality of the proposed case is fair in that the goals and/or methodology of the project are stated but not well defined. 

(Score 1) Poor Quality - The quality of the proposed case is poor in that neither the goals nor the methodology of the project is well defined.

 

Criteria 2: Alignment with the Foundation’s Mission

(Score 9) Fully and completely aligns with the Foundation’s mission - A specific case has been identified that directly addresses a significant systemic legal problem in an issue area identified in the Foundation’s mission statement and the case has a high probability of significantly improving the economic well-being, social conditions, and/or civil liberties of disadvantaged persons and groups throughout the United States. The case is not an individual case and does not involve a criminal charge. 

(Score 7) Significantly aligns with the Foundation’s mission - A specific case has been identified that directly addresses an important systemic legal problem in an issue area identified in the Foundation’s mission statement, and the case has a good probability of improving the economic well-being, social conditions, and/or civil liberties of disadvantaged persons and groups throughout the United States. The case is not an individual case and does not involve a criminal charge.  

(Score 5) Generally aligns with the Foundation’s mission – A specific case has been identified that addresses systemic legal problem in an issue area identified in the Foundation’s mission statement and has a moderate probability of improving the economic well-being, social conditions, and/or civil liberties of disadvantaged persons and groups throughout the United States. The case is not an individual case and does not involve a criminal charge.  

(Score 3) Loosely aligns with the Foundation’s mission – A specific case has been identified but it does not address a systemic legal problem, addresses a legal issue only indirectly related to an issue area identified in the Foundation’s mission, and/or has only a small chance of improving the economic well-being, social conditions, and/or civil liberties of disadvantaged persons and groups throughout the United States. The case is not an individual case and does not involve a criminal charge.  

(Score 1) Does not at all align with the Foundation’s mission – The application does not include a specific case, the case does not address a systemic legal problem in an issue area identified in the Foundation’s mission, the case involves an individual, or the case involves a criminal charge.  


Criteria 3: Capacity of the Organization to Carry Out the Project

(Score 9) Exceptional Capacity – The organization itself has demonstrated exceptional capacity to carry out successfully the case as evidenced by a very strong history of its success with similar legal matters in terms of size and scope, has allocated excellent attorney resources to the project, and is not enlisting the support of any other social justice organization and/or private law firm partner in terms of attorney resources to carry out the project.

(Score 7) Very Good Capacity – The organization itself has demonstrated very good capacity to carry out the project successfully as evidenced by a modest history of success with similar legal matters in terms of size and scope, has allocated sufficient attorney resources to the project, and needs only limited attorney support from another social justice organization and/or private law firm partner to carry out the project. 

(Score 5) Good Capacity – The organization itself has demonstrated good capacity to carry out the project successfully as evidenced by at least some history of success with similar legal matters in terms of size and scope, has allocated modest attorney proper resources to the project, and needs only a modest amount of support from another social justice organization and/or private law firm partner to carry out the project. 

(Score 3) Fair Capacity – The organization has demonstrated only a fair capacity to carry out the project successfully as evidenced by either a small amount of history of success with similar legal matters in terms of size and/or scope, has allocated questionable attorney resources to the project, and needs a significant amount of attorney support from another social justice organization and/or private law firm partner to carry out the project.

(Score 1) Poor Capacity – The organization has not demonstrated a capacity to carry out the project successfully as evidenced by little or no history of success with similar legal matters in terms of size and/or scope, has allocated insufficient attorney resources to the project, and needs complete support from another social justice organization and/or private law firm partner to carry out the project.


Criteria 4: Urgency of Proposed Project

(Score 9) Highly Urgent – The nature of the proposed project is highly urgent. The project has the potential to have a highly significant impact that is aligned with the Foundation’s mission, but if it is not initiated immediately, the opportunity will likely be lost. 

(Score 7) Urgent – The nature of the proposed project is urgent. The project has the potential to have a significant impact that is aligned with the Foundation’s mission, but if not initiated in the near future (within one year), the opportunity may be lost.

(Score 5) Somewhat Urgent – The nature of the proposed project has a somewhat sense of urgency. The project has the potential to have an impact that is aligned with the Foundation’s mission, but if it is not initiated within the next one to two years, the opportunity will be lost. 

(Score 3) Not Very Urgent – The nature of the proposed project has a low sense of urgency. The project has the potential to have an impact that is aligned with the Foundation’s mission, but there is no immediacy to its implementation. 

(Score 1) Not at all Urgent – The nature of the proposed project does not have a sense of urgency. 

 

Criteria 5: Financial Health and Stability of the Applicant Organization

(Score 9) Grantee has significant need for a grant from the Foundation - Without funding from the Foundation, the proposed litigation or the hiring of an expert(s) would not be possible.   The Grantee has no additional litigation partners (another social justice organization or partner law firm) to help in carrying out the litigation through providing financial or attorney(s) and staff support.  

(Score 7) Grantee has minimal resources to support its proposed litigation - The Grantee’s proposed litigation or engagement of an expert could barely proceed based upon its own barely minimal financial resources but would strain the Grantee’s overall financial capabilities which could be bolstered by a grant from the Foundation. The Grantee has no additional litigation partners (another social justice organization or partner law firm) to aid it financially in maintaining the litigation, the engagement of expert(s), or providing additional attorney(s) and staff to support the proposed litigation effort. 

(Score 5) Grantees has moderate financial resources to bring the litigation on its own -   The Grantee has just adequate financial resources allowing it to proceed on its own with the litigation and/or the engagement of an expert(s).   The Grantee receives minimal professional support in terms of attorneys and/or staff from an outside litigation partner(s) (social justice organization and/or partner law firm) but no financial support.

(Score 3) Grantee has significant financial resources to maintain the litigation or engage adequate expert(s) - The Grantee does not need a grant from the Foundation to maintain the litigation or engage adequate experts.  The Grantee receives modest professional support in terms of attorney(s) and/or staff from outside litigation partner(s) (social justice organization and/or partner law firm) but no financial support.

(Score 1) The Grantee does not need a grant from the Foundation to mount its proposed litigation or engage top-of-the-line expert(s) - A grant from the Foundation would not enhance the Grantee’s litigation effort in terms of attorneys and/o staff or its ability to engage the most competent experts.  A grant from the Foundation would provide a surplus of funding to support the litigation in terms of attorney(s) and/or staff or engage expert(s), if necessary.  The Grantee receives excellent professional support in terms of attorney(s) and/or staff and at least some financial support from outside litigation partner(s) (social justice organization and/or partner law firm).