Our Support and Outreach to and with Partners
Q. How do we Manage our Portfolio?
A. Each Grants Manager is assigned to specific partners or applicants and therefore is responsible for a small portfolio of partners. Please reach out if you are not aware who is your assigned Grants Manager. This relationship is designed to benefit you and our Board so that we can gather additional information or guidance on your application or for the review process, as well as after you have been awarded funds to support announcements and communications on your grant and to celebrate the work you are doing in the community.
Q. What type of Outreach and Contact do we expect from Partners?
A. Partners should connect throughout the year with their Grants Manager.
Evaluation Phase– Each partner should plan to connect with their assigned Grants Manager at varying stages of the application process. If you plan to change your request amount, please speak with your assigned staff person before you submit any part of the application. It is expected that partners and staff set up a dialogue throughout the application process, in particular prior to the meeting where you will be reviewed.
Grants Managers are advocates for you to the Board. The more you can share directly with them the better we are able to evaluate your proposal.
Connection/Communication Phases- Additionally, partners should stay in contact with their assigned Grants Manager after the award has been made so that the Foundation can learn and appreciate the impact that our grant is making and support you. This is also an opportune time for us to receive photos, videos, emails, newsletters or other communications that engage us and let us know how you and your programs are doing.
Q. How can Partners participate in Relationship Building and Engagement?
A. We are seeking to build stronger relationships between our board, staff and our partners and the communities they serve. We understand that engagement, relationship and support can look different for each partner and engagement is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We look forward to discussing with each partner individually how we can best serve and support you throughout the year, in particular so that we can better connect you with our Board.
Q. What are specific ways that Partners can better connect with the Foundation, their Grants Manager, and our Board?
A. We expect that each partner will discuss these specifics with their Grants Manager to come up with a communications and connection “plan” that best showcases your work in a manner that is easy for the organization and not prescribed or burdensome.
Specific examples that came up in our webinar include, but are not limited to nor required:
- Newsletters to Grants Managers
- Videos (short) or video links
- Non-fundraising events
- Phone or online connections with non Development. Grants or CEO staff
Q. Do you perform Site Visits?
A. The Foundation does not use site visits as part of its evaluative process. While we would like to personally visit every organization and attend every event, we know that your time is valuable and time is limited. Your Grants Manager will work with you to build a “calendar” of interactions and engagements that develop connections to your mission and work in a way that fosters our Board engagement and knowledge, but also respects your time and pre-existing events and opportunities to witness your work in action.
We most enjoy activities that show your work in action either something with your clients, a short video by a staff member, a short email or letting us know of gatherings and convenings where we can show up for you. These interactions provide us with a more authentic connection to and understanding of the important work you are doing.
Q. What are ways that the Foundation supports Partners?
A. We have several ways that are easy for us to support you.
Letters/Emails of support
We understand that many of our partners take on broader partnerships with the County, Schools, State of Virginia or need our support as they apply for outside funding or contracts. We are happy to write letters in support of these initiatives as long as the request meets the approval of our board. Please address these requests to the Executive Director and copy the staff so that we can make sure we respond in a timely manner.
We are always happy to connect you with new funders or help you in connecting with other potential funders. Most of the time this happens through organic networking and word-of-mouth, but we will always keep our ears open and connect you where we can. Further, as we develop deeper relationships with our partners and as that dialog continues, we are in a better place to understand more about your organization and its needs, which in turn will enable us to advocate for you with others more clearly. Please reach out directly if you would like to use us as a reference or open a door for you with another funder.
Each year we will publish our Impact Report with a listing of the organizations we support and share this broadly with the Arlington Community, as well as constituents and funders in order to raise awareness of your organization and our support. We are happy to add your Board or other pertinent groups or individuals to our mailing list in order to better communicate our partnership with you.
We are happy to participate in focus groups, strategic planning, webinars, etc.
Our staff and board would like to support you at your non-fundraising events. We welcome specific outreach about such events so that we can share them with our board and staff and make every attempt to participate or attend.
Unfortunately, since we support so many organizations in Arlington, we do not feel it is fair to attend one partner’s fundraiser and not another. Individual board members may choose to purchase tickets to your event on their own and attend representing themselves as individuals.
In FY2023 we hope to build out our social media plan in order to share your work, grants and successes more broadly. In the meantime, we are happy to share through our newsletter. Please email with any noteworthy information you’d like us to include.
Please send us your logo and photos using the following dropbox link. Please make sure photos have all releases approved and the title includes the name of your organization and the photo credit name.
Q. Does WFF advocate for their Partners and community issues?
A. Yes, here are some ways that we can fund or engage in efforts to support you:
- Educate and influence the public
- Convene, train and support nonprofits
- Commission and conduct research
- Strengthen civic participation
- Engage and educate county, schools, state leadership
Advocacy and policy engagement can mean doing things that have little to do with making grants, such as funding research, raising public awareness, convening, brokering, matchmaking, building capacity, and lending political cover.
Q. Does WFF have any Funding Restrictions?
- No grants are made to organizations that have no operating location or program delivery location in Arlington County, VA.
- No grants are made to individuals.
- No regular grants are made to underwrite fundraising activities such as benefits, dinners, performances, or sporting events.
- We do not make grants to advocacy, media or other type campaigns or organizations.
Q. How do I become a partner with the Washington Forrest Foundation?
A. All interested 501 (c)( 3) organizations, who meet our focus area criteria are welcome to send an email letter of inquiry by email to . The staff will review and respond with an invitation to apply, if the criteria are met and the Board would like to see an application. E-letters can be sent anytime during the year and staff will review on a rolling basis. If the criteria are not clearly met, the organization will not be invited to submit a proposal. Unsolicited applications are not accepted. Any new organization must be invited to apply by staff after having reviewed the emailed letter of inquiry referenced above.
Q. How do we apply to the Washington Forrest Foundation?
A. The Washington Forrest Foundation launches its application process by early July of each year. Partners who received funding the prior year will receive notification by the end of June regarding application status for the following year.
All current partners must submit Part I (LOI) by August 15th of each year, irregardless of when they are submitting their final application. This process ensures that we can understand the scope of all requests for the year and ensure appropriate funding levels throughout our fiscal year. Your assigned Grant Manager will work with you throughout the process to support you in meeting all deadlines. To logon to our application please click here.
Q. When do you hold meetings and when will my application be reviewed?
A. Board Meetings, at which grant decisions are made, are held in September, October, December, February and April of each fiscal year. Our fiscal year is July 1-June 30 each year. Foundation staff will assign each organization’s request to a specific month/review cycle. Organizations will be notified to which month they have been assigned prior to the beginning of the coming year’s grant cycle. For a list of FY24 Grants Manager and Meeting Assignments please log on to our application portal or reach out to a staff member.
By balancing the number of applications reviewed each cycle, approx. 10 organizations, the Board and staff are better able to engage and support each organization equitably. If organizations need to change their assigned month, they must discuss it with Foundation staff in advance of their completing the Part 1 (LOI).
Q. How much does the Washington Forrest Foundation invest in the community each year?
A. We have given away nearly $1 million each of the last 5 years to Arlington nonprofits.
Q. What is your typical grant size?
A. WFF typically gives one-year grants in the $2,500 to $25,000 range. Those partners in the higher range typically have had a longer relationship with the Foundation or are undertaking specific innovative work that is addressing a challenge in a new way.
Q. How does the Board make decisions on funding?
A. The Board not only reviews each application, but engages with each partner throughout the year in a variety of ways. While Grants Managers are the main point of contact for each organization, they are also responsible for sharing information about each organization with the Board. In addition, Board members, due to their relationships to Arlington, may be personally familiar and connected to organizations.
In FY2023, the Board discussed, over multiple meetings, what are some of the Key Decision Factors they utilize when making decisions. While many of these come from the application, substantial knowledge and decision making comes from their engagement with Partners beyond the application itself.
The following are a selection of the Key Decision Factors identified:
Application (In order of how the questions are asked on the application)
- Executive Summary/Case for Support – Does the organization explain its relevance to our focus and make a strong case for support?
- Budget Factors – If Program, are we comfortable with the percentage we are funding? If General Operating, how focused is the work on Arlington and the focus and priorities of the Foundation?
- Organization’s Mission – Is this something the about which the Board is passionate? Is there an opportunity to do something significant or make a meaningful impact?
- Clients & Community Served – Are the organization’s programs targeting a real, present need? Is this well articulated in both the application and in other Connections and Communications?
- Grant Report – Does the Grant Report accurately reflect how the funds were spent as requested? Does the report reflect the focus areas of the Foundation?
- Collaboration – Does the organization work with other partners to meet the needs?
- Competitive Landscape – Is the organization or program meeting a unique need or issue or addressing it in a new way? Are multiple organizations addressing the same issue and if so how does your organization or program fit into that?
- Engagement – Have you found or had opportunities to engage with this organization, program or issue area this year?
- Inspiration – Is there something about this organization or program that inspires you and about which you are passionate?
Q. What are the due dates for FY2024?
July 5: Application Live!
August 16: Part I /LOI Letters of Intent Submitted (for ALL partners)
August 30: September Meeting Applications due
October 25: November Meeting Applications due
November 29: December Meeting Applications due
January 24: February Meeting Applications due
March 13: April Meeting Submissions due
All due dates are for close of business (COB) on the due date.
Q. How do I apply?
A. If you are an approved applicant or partner, we have an online submission system called Foundant. The logon for our account is through the following link. If you are not a current partner, please see above for more information on the Application process.
Q. How do I set up an account?
A. If you are a completely new partner, click on the link above and choose “Create New Account”. Follow the steps to set up your account.
Q. What if I can’t remember my password or I am a new staff person at the organization that already has an account?
A. Choose reset password if you know the email address that was used for the account. Otherwise, please contact your assigned portfolio staff and they can help you login.
We recommend that each organization use a general email such as grants@ or development@ so that when staff change you can still access the account.
Q. What are the steps for completing an application?
A. Every organization must complete a Part 1 (LOI) and submit before proceeding with the rest of the application (Part 2).
Once you submit the Part 1, we will assign you the next part of the application. You will receive an automated email that says you have been assigned the next form. When you login, you will see “Edit Application” on your dashboard. Click on Edit Application. Once you are complete you must hit “Submit” by the due date you have been assigned.
Q. Do you require a grant report?
A.Yes. The Previous Year Grant Report, if applicable, is included in the Part 2 application.
Q. What other requirements do you have?
A. After you are awarded a grant, you will receive a notification to submit your Partner Expectations agreement form within two weeks of notification. This form outlines use expectations for receiving your grant, request to update contact information etc.
Q. How will we be notified of our grant?
A. We will notify you within two weeks of the meeting. We will share an award email that will list the amount, the official designation and any other comments from the meeting. The E-lettter will serve as your grant letter and will be saved in your Foundant account should you need it for future reference.
Q. How will we receive our grant?
A. We have moved to awarding grants through ACH. If you have not already done so, please contact Rachel Mrad to ensure this is set up or to update your account. For first time partners, you will receive a form to complete once you are awarded a grant.
Q. Who are your Staff and Grants Managers?
A. All staff are responsible for a portfolio of organizations. Staff share their communications and outreach with other staff, as well as the Board, so that all Foundation parties are familiar with your organization, the issues you and your clients are facing, and discuss how we can best support you.
FY2024 Staff/Grants Managers
Allison Erdle, Executive Director, Grants Manager, Mobile: 703-554-4675
Rachel Mrad, Grants Manager & Engagement Coordinator, Mobile: 571-221-7453
Jamie Gravett, Grants Manager & Communications Coordinator, Mobile: 540-229-9927
Q. How long do we have to spend our grant?
A. All organizations have one year from the award date to expend the awarded grant. Extensions due to changes in circumstances can be offered, but a request must be communicated to the Executive Director.