Frequently Asked Questions
New FAQ’s from the July 14, 2022, Information Session
What is the overall process and deadlines for the applications?
Completed applications, along with all of the required attachments, are due by August 15, 2022, at 11:59 pm ET.
The Community Workgroup will have 60 days to review the applications and render a decision, by October 15. Shortly after October 15, we will be presenting the slate of grantees to the Affinity Legacy Board of Directors for its review and approval. Following Board approval, the full list will be sent to the Attorney General of New York Charities Bureau for review. The Attorney General has 30 days to review the list, and after which point, we will be able to distribute funds. At the same time that we send the list to the Attorney General, we will communicate preliminary grant decisions to applicants – but again, this is pending final review by the Attorney General.
What is the Attorney General going to look for, and why is that review necessary?
The Attorney General is going to see if an organization is registered with the Charities Bureau and also if its filings are up-to-date. So please be sure that you are up to date with your filings. The Attorney General’s Office is thorough and will come back to us with questions if a filing is not up-to-date, which can potentially delay the overall process.
The Attorney General’s Charities Bureau is responsible for supervising charitable organizations – including Affinity Legacy. When Affinity Legacy first established the grant program following the transaction with Molina, the Attorney General required this step as part of the grantmaking process.
Can you describe your application review process and what you look for when you review the applications?
Each application is reviewed by three reviewers, with all the input managed via the grant management portal.
Reviewers look at each component of an application, looking closely for how well articulated the goals and objectives are, and the work plan to meet them. We also look at the budget closely, to make sure that, in size and its components, it is reasonable and matches the project that is being proposed. Further, and this is very important, we take a step back and look at the project on the whole and gauge its community impact. As we have said all along, the Affinity Legacy Community Grant Program is about supporting those organizations that are working directly in the community. We’re looking for projects that address a need in the community and that are directed at populations in need. Lastly, but not least, we look at the organization on the whole , and try to get a feel for its viability, capacity and its ability to deliver on the proposal.
As you can see, we take a comprehensive view of an application – so we don’t zero in on only one aspect – but the whole application.
You asked us to sharpen our pencils and consider revising our grant request amount. As we process this, can you provide any insights into how we should approach it?
That is correct – we did ask applicants to carefully look at the grant request amount and revise it, if possible.
The truth of the matter is that our grant program has turned out to be extremely popular, and we simply won’t be able to fund all of the programs / projects that are eventually approved. As you all know, ours is a one-cycle grant program, which means that we have a set amount of funds to distribute and once we distribute all of the funds, we’re done – there is no more money.
We recognize that not everyone will be able to do so, but we want you to attempt it. Now, let me be clear, this is more relevant for programs that have asked for the higher funding levels. We believe that larger organizations have a much higher chance of prevailing with the proposed projects than the smaller ones. Larger organizations, especially ones that may be more established, typically have more resources available, and also more and more diverse access to funding, when compared to the smaller ones.
We cannot tell you by how much to revise it to, or even if you should revise it at all. But we do want you to think carefully – think about other sources of funding you may have available, and what you truly need to get your project off the ground successfully. If you believe that the amount you originally requested cannot be tweaked – that you cannot do your project with less money, because say you won’t have any other source of funding – tell us that. As much as you can tell us about the budgetary needs and constraints you may have, the better.
Does your grant program allow for indirect costs and, if so, what is the maximum percentage?
Yes, indirect costs are allowed, provided you can show a direct link to the delivery of the program / project for which you are applying for funding. We don’t have a specific allowable % in mind, so it’s important that you identify it, along with all the other expenses.
Does the grant have to be expended over the course of one year, or can it cover the entire project timetable? In other words, can applications cover multiple years of programming / service?
Yes, an application can cover multiple years. There is no restriction on the period over which the funds can be spent. That said, we will want to see the budget and spend plan for the program / project described in detail in the full application.
What is documentation of good standing, and how do I get it?
Documentation of good standing is a Letter or Certificate of Good Standing (also referred to as a Certificate of Status or Certificate of Legal Existence) shows that an entity is in compliance, or “good standing,” with the state it does business in and can be obtained from the Department of State. A certificate of good standing verifies that a corporation or LLC was formed legally, has been properly maintained and is still active. A Letter of Good Standing is not a certificate of tax status or tax compliance, which shows that an entity is up to date on all its state tax filings and payments.
In NY State, the web site where you can apply for the letter is: https://dos.ny.gov/certificate-status
Requests for the letter have to be made in writing. If your letter has not arrived by the time that you submit your grant application, as an interim step, please submit proof that you have applied for the letter. Then, when you receive the actual letter, email to: email@example.com
How recent should the documentation of good standing from the Department of State be?
The documentation of good standing should be dated within the past quarter.
What if I don’t have all of the additional documents and information that you require as part of the application in the “Attachments” section?
The documents and information requested are most probably among those you already use during the normal course of your business, and they generally consist of the type of information typically requested of grant applicants. That said, we understand that not all organizations may have them readily available, or in a format you feel comfortable submitting. If that is the case, and / or you have any questions about the requested information, please email us at: communitygrants@
Qualifying for a Grant / Grant Basics
We are not a 501(c)3, but we have a fiscal sponsor. Can we still apply for a grant?
Yes. If your organization does not hold its own not-for-profit status recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRC, but you work with a non-profit fiscal sponsor, you may still apply for a grant under the program. You will be asked to provide information about the fiscal sponsor and proof your relationship.
How do you define a fiscal sponsor?
A fiscal sponsor is broadly defined as a non-profit organization that provides fiduciary oversight, financial management and other administrative services to help build the
capacity of charitable projects.
Do you award grants to individuals?
No. The Affinity Legacy Community Grant Program awards grants to eligible non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations, or organizations using a non-profit fiscal sponsor.
My organization is part of a statewide or national organization. Can we still apply for a grant?
Our program is geared to organizations that are based within Affinity’s 10-county service area, consisting of the Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester. The work described in the grant application and the accompanying budget must be carried out in one or more of these 10 counties, for the benefit of residents of those counties. If your organization meets these criteria, we invite you to apply.
Can I apply for multi-year grants?
No. The grants available through the Affinity Legacy Community Grant Program are one-time only.
Can my organization apply for overhead and/or administrative costs?
We would like to understand the real costs of your program and / or project; therefore, we encourage you to describe your administrative costs in the application.
Does your grant program fund building renovations? Computer licensing fees?
The Affinity Legacy Community Grant Program is primarily focused on the actual delivery of services to those in need. Building renovations are considered capital expenditures and, as such, are not covered by the grant program. This includes construction, such as relocation of exterior walls, roofs and floors.
Computer licensing fees may be allowed, depending on whether the application or software is going to be used directly to support the program for which funding is being requested. If you want to include these types of expense, please make sure you clearly identify the software, its purpose, etc.
What type of expenditures are excluded from funding under the Community Grant Program?
The Affinity Legacy Community Grant Program is designed to cover the costs related to the development and delivery of community based programs aimed at underserved populations. Expenditures generally excluded are:
- Expenses that are not related to the program for which funding is being requested
- Capital expenditures
- Expenses related to the promotion or delivery of religious doctrine
- Expenses related to political lobbying / campaigns
- Expenses related to endowments
- Funds related to deficit financing
Can my school be funded?
The Affinity Legacy Community Grant Program does not generally fund projects or support educational initiatives that are more appropriately the subject of public or other funding.
An application from a public or charter school would need to be for a special project or initiative not normally covered by the school’s funded budget.
Is there a requirement to integrate health outcomes, or health generally, into a category that doesn’t necessarily deal with health, such as fully incarcerated individuals? In other words, do the programs / projects need to touch on health?
No. There is no requirement to integrate health, or include a health component, into the design of a program or project for which funding is being requested. What is key is that grantee organizations, and the programs / projects under consideration, be aligned with the Affinity mission of supporting underserved communities and populations. Additionally, programs / projects must support one of the four funding priorities and serve residents of at least one of the 10 Affinity counties.
Do your grants have “match” requirements?
No. The Community Grant Program does not require “matching” funds.
How does your grant making process work?
Our one-time community grants are awarded through a simple application process. After registering your organization on our grant portal, you will be asked to submit a letter of intent (LOI). In the LOI, you will be able to describe your program / project, alignment with the Affinity Legacy mission, goals, timeline, etc. If your LOI is approved and you are invited to move on in our selection process, you can then submit a full application.
How do I submit a letter of intent?
Applicants are asked to register via our online grant management portal, which is hosted by an external company, Foundant. Once registered, you will be able to complete and submit a letter of intent (LOI). You will be able to manage your entire application through the portal.
What if my program / project cuts across more than one of your grant funding priorities?
Recognizing that you know your program best, we ask that you consider your program carefully and determine which of the funding priorities – mental health, food insecurity, formerly incarcerated individuals and consumer health education and workforce advancement – it most meaningfully impacts, or is designed to impact. Then, indicate that one in your LOI. In your description of the program, you may want to elaborate on your selection.
Can one apply for multiple program supports in one application, or should you focus on one category in one application?
We understand that a program or project may cut across more than one of the four funding priorities. While an application can support multiple priorities, you will need to indicate which funding priority is primary in your LOI. Then, in your description of the program / project, you may want to elaborate further on the expansiveness of the program / project.
Is there a pre-established breakout for the funding you expect to make between the four focus areas of mental health, food insecurity, formerly incarcerated individuals and workforce advancement?
Not necessarily. It is our intent to distribute available grant dollars across all four focus areas to the extent possible. Additionally, we look to support programs / projects that are implemented across the 10 counties that Affinity Health Plan served.
Is there a preference for funding new programs or existing programs?
No. There is no preference. What is important is how you convey the program / project in the LOI. You should describe whether you’re looking to expand an existing program or implement a new one. Additionally, the anticipated effectiveness of a program in meeting or exceeding its stated goals with the addition of Affinity Legacy grant funds will be a key consideration. Lastly, of course, we are looking for programs that meet the requirements related to the funding priorities and geography.
You said grants are made on a one-time basis. What exactly does that mean?
The Community Grant Program is not a multi-year award program. In other words, the entire amount awarded to an organization will be released in a single payment (not 50% up front and 50% later, for example).
Can applications cover multiple years of programming / service?
Yes. There is no restriction on the period over which the funds can be spent. That said, we will want to see the budget and spend plan for the program / project described in detail in the full application.
Is the funding priority of “formerly incarcerated individuals” meant to include only individuals who have been imprisoned and directly involved in the criminal justice system, or can it include a broader audience?
The Community Grant Program will consider programs that address the needs of not only the individuals who have been directly involved in the criminal justice system (as a result of an arrest, conviction and or incarceration), but also their immediate family members (their children or parents) who are impacted as a result.
I need help completing my LOI. Is there anyone I can talk with?
Yes. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, and we will arrange a call, if necessary.
Decision making Process & Deadlines
When are the letters of intent due?
Letters of intent are due back by April 15, 2022.
How long will it take to learn if my letter of intent advances to the full application phase?
Letters of intent will be reviewed, and we expect to notify applicants on June 15, 2022.
How are grant decisions made?
For each grant opportunity, a workgroup consisting of Board members and executive staff will review the application and make funding recommendations based on the quality of the application and alignment of the program / project with the requirements of the Affinity Legacy Community Grant Program. Recommendations then will be presented to the Board of Directors for review and approval.
Will award recipients be required to submit follow-up progress reports?
Yes. Organizations receiving a grant will be expected to submit an interim report six months following the signing of a grant agreement, and a final report one year from that date.
In addition, grantees must meet any and all reporting requirements imposed by New York State and the federal government relating to documentation of the use of grant proceeds or their intended purposes, if applicable.