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 the 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 with the pre-proposal application. Furthermore, only organizations that have significant activities in the following South Carolina areas are eligible: Berkeley County, Charleston County, Dorchester County, community of Joanna, SC, and/or 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 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 five designated areas (Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester Counties, Joanna community, Newberry community) in order to submit a pre-proposal. 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 to The Joanna Foundation is a two-part process. The first part requires completing and submitting a pre-proposal using the Pre-Proposal Application Form and Instructions provided on the website. Standard deadlines for pre-proposals are January 15, April 15 and September 15. Pre-proposals must be received by the deadline date. 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 within two weeks after the pre-proposal due date. 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 and are not burdensome to prepare.

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 merely an invitation 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 2015 would be eligible to apply again in 2017.  An on-line survey is provided to help confirm eligibility.

What can we ask for?

The Joanna Foundation will consider requests for general operating support or to help launch a new program, support specific projects conducted by the organization, match funds to leverage the impact of a challenge grant, and/or advance capital campaigns. Requests for debt reduction, research projects, direct support to or on behalf of individuals, conferences, symposia or publications, tickets, tables or advertising/sponsorship for fundraising events will NOT be considered.

How much can we ask for?

There is no set limit that an organization may request. Most grants made by The Joanna Foundation are in the range of $1,000 to $3,000 for one year. 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 to be attached. Every data field on the form is important and should be completed. Data fields that are not applicable should be indicated as N/A.

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

Only organizations that submit an on-time pre-proposal AND receive an invitation may submit a full proposal. The due dates for pre-proposal submission are firm. Pre-proposal cycles occur 3 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 25 eligible pre-proposals are received, whichever occurs first. This means that the window for submission may close early and interested applicants should not wait until the last minute. A maximum of 25 pre-proposals will be accepted.  Late applications will not be accepted.Outcomes will be communicated by email usually within two weeks of the pre-proposal due date.

When necessary, a deadline may be changed or suspended. Interested persons should monitor the website at to confirm specific 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?

Pre-proposals must be submitted by email to The Joanna Foundation emailbox. Each pre-proposal must be compiled into a single pdf file before submitting via email. 

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 you represent a subunit or component of a large institution, such as a county school system, college, university, chapter or affiliate of a statewide, regional or national organization,  (1) describe the relationship between your subunit and the parent organization and include the audited financial statements of the parent organization; (2) indicate the flow of funds between the parent and your subunit and specify how much, if any, of the requested funds will flow to the parent organization and how much will be available for the proposed purpose or program; and (3) include financial information (e.g., budget, year-to-date activities, other contributions) pertaining specifically to the proposed purpose or program.

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.