Frequently Asked Questions

The questions and answers provided here anticipate the most common needs for information. If your question is not sufficiently addressed, feel free to ask your question by email. We will reply as soon as possible.


Who can apply?

Organizations that qualify as tax-exempt under the Internal Revenue Code and that are not classified as private foundations may be eligible for consideration. The most common (but not only) qualifying tax-exempt category is 501(c)(3). Tax-exempt status will be checked using a website tool provided by the Internal Revenue Service called “Exempt Organizations Select Check” (http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits). Organizations requesting funds from The Joanna Foundation must provide documentation of tax-exempt status (i.e., a copy of the letter of determination from the IRS) with the pre-proposal application. Furthermore, only organizations that have significant activities in designated South Carolina areas are eligible. The designated areas are: Berkeley County, Charleston County, Dorchester County, the community of Joanna, SC, and the community of Newberry, SC. Anyone interested in applying to The Joanna Foundation should complete the short on-line survey to confirm eligibility each time, even if and especially when support has been received in the past.

I am an individual who needs a scholarship or financial assistance. Am I eligible to apply?

No. The Joanna Foundation does not make grants or provide funding to individuals. The Joanna Foundation makes grants only to organizations that qualify as tax-exempt under the Internal Revenue Code and that are not classified as private foundations.

Our organization is not based in one of the five South Carolina areas listed as geographic areas of interest. Can we apply?

It is not necessary for an organization to be headquartered in one of the designated areas (Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties, the Joanna community, nd the Newberry community). However, organizations must demonstrate substantive impact or involvement in one or more of the designated areas.

When can we apply? When will we hear?

The Joanna Foundation  has three grant cycles per calendar year. Applying is a two-part process. The first step involves successfully submitting a pre-proposal using the Pre-Proposal Application Form and Instructions provided on the website. Pre-proposal applications are accepted starting January 1, April 1 and September 1. The submission window for each cycle closes when we reach the maximum number of eligible applications or at 5 PM on the 15th of the month – whichever occurs first. Late submissions will not be accepted.

The Joanna Foundation trustees review all pre-proposals and select a limited number of applicants to submit a full proposal. Invitations and declinations are communicated by email as soon as possible after the receipt date – typically in about four weeks. Invitations include additional instructions and a new deadline, usually allowing approximately three weeks for submitting the full proposal. Full proposals are limited to four pages of narrative plus supporting documents.

An invitation to submit a full proposal does not imply that a grant will be approved and does not convey intent to fund. It is an opportunity to provide a full proposal for further consideration.

How often can we apply?

Organizations may submit one pre-proposal per calendar year.  Organizations that receive a grant must skip a calendar year before submitting a new pre-proposal. For example, an organization receiving a grant at any time during 2019 would be eligible to apply again at any time in 2021 or thereafter. The on-line eligibility survey is designed to confirm eligibility.

What can we ask for?

The Joanna Foundation will consider requests to support ongoing operations, help launch a new program, support specific projects conducted by the organization, match funds to leverage the impact of a challenge opportunity, or advance a capital campaign. The Joanna Foundation will not consider requests for debt reduction, research projects, scholarships, support for individuals or families, conferences, symposia, subscriptions, tickets, tables, advertising or sponsorship for fundraising events.

How much can we ask for?

There is no set limit that an organization may request but most grants made by The Joanna Foundation are in the range of $1,000 to $3,000. Larger grants in the $5,000 to $10,000 range are less common and grants exceeding $10,000 are exceptional. Multi-year commitments are rare and by invitation only. The Joanna Foundation’s total distribution to all grantees averages less than $150,000/yr. In considering the amount to request, organizations should bear in mind that The Joanna Foundation tries to respond to as many requests as possible within the constraints of limited resources.

Can we request a multi-year grant?

As a general policy, The Joanna Foundation does not  consider requests for a multi-year commitment or support in consecutive years.

Why do we have to send a pre-proposal?

The intent of the pre-proposal requirement is to manage the workload for both the applicants and The Joanna Foundation trustees who review all proposals. The pre-proposal process allows grant-seekers to ‘test the waters’ by filling out a brief form and attaching basic organizational information. If invited to submit a full proposal, organizations will receive additional guidance and another due date.

What should we include with the pre-proposal?

The Pre-proposal Application Form includes a checklist for information that must be attached. Every data field on the form is important and should be completed unless otherwise indicated. The pre-proposal must be submitted by email as one single pdf form. Multiple files cannot be accepted.

What if we miss the deadline for pre-proposal? Can we send a full proposal anyway?

No. Only organizations receive an invitation may submit a full proposal. The due dates for pre-proposal submission are firm. Pre-proposal cycles occur three times per year. The window for submission opens on January 1, April 1 and September 1 and closes at 5 pm on the 15th of the respective month or when the maximum number of eligible pre-proposals is reached, whichever occurs first. This means that the window for submission may close early. Interested applicants should not wait until the last minute. Late applications will not be accepted. Outcomes will be communicated by email, usually about 4 weeks after the due date.

On rare occasions if necessary, a deadline may be changed or suspended. Interested persons should monitor the website at to confirm receipt dates, review current information, confirm eligibility, and obtain the current Pre-proposal Application Form and Instructions.

Can we hand-deliver our pre-proposal or send it by courier?

No. Pre-proposals must be submitted by email, as instructed

The audit for our most recent fiscal year is not available. What should we send?

If audited financial statements pertaining to the prior fiscal year are not available, send the most recently issued audit with a note indicating the anticipated date of the current audit.

Our organization does not conduct an annual audit; therefore, we do not have audited financial statements? What should we send?

If your organization does not engage an independent auditor, include a note of explanation and provide: (1) unaudited financial statements for the prior fiscal year, and (2) your IRS Form 990 Tax Return.

Our program is a part of a larger organization. Should we send financial and organizational information for the parent organization, our program, or both?

If your organization is part of a complex entity such as a regional or national organization, college, university or school system, provide financial data relevant to the program, chapter, unit or department that you represent. In addition, provide revenue, expense and asset information specific to your proposed activities. Attach the front section of the consolidated audit for the parent organization (through the Statement of Cash Flows), but not the whole report. If you are a local affiliate or chapter, describe the relationship between your unit and the parent organization and indicate to what extent your unit supports the parent and vice versa.

I have a question that is not answered here. How can I ask it?

Questions may be emailed to The Joanna Foundation using the contact form.