West Harlem Local Development Corporation (WHLDC) is the recipient of funds contributed, and to be contributed, by Columbia University under a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). Consistent with a provision of the CBA, WHLDC has engaged the Tides Foundation (Tides) to be its fiscal sponsor and to provide additional expertise, transparency, and diligence in grant-making. The WHLDC staff presents WHLDC’s Board with grant application summaries. The WHLDC Board reviews, approves and recommends applications to the Tides Board for funding.
WHLDC’S Grant-Making Program
WHLDC’s priority is to support West Harlem-based community projects by deploying funds contributed by Columbia University pursuant to the CBA through its Grant-Making Program and other activities. WHLDC’s strategy is to address the needs of West Harlem through collaborations and capacity enhancements of Community Based Organizations and institutions.
Selected projects of organizations must be located in or provide services to the West Harlem community as defined by New York City, Manhattan Community District 9 (CD9): south to north: from 110th Street to 155th Street; east to west: from St. Nicholas, Bradhurst, Edgecombe, Morningside and Manhattan Avenues to the Hudson River. The application must address one or more of the following need categories (Community-Need Categories) that are identified in the CBA. WHLDC reserves the right to alter the list of needs and categories for CD9 and to set funding priorities.
Community-Need Categories (in alphabetical order only)
- Arts and Culture
- Community Facilities
- Employment and Economic Development
- Historic Preservation
To qualify for consideration under the WHLDC Grant-Making Program, the applicant must be a not-for-profit entity in good standing as an Internal Revenue Service 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. An IRS determination letter is required and a copy must be included with the grant application. To qualify for funding consideration, the organization must meet the following criteria:
- The project must be directed toward fulfilling one of the WHLDC Community-Need Categories.
- The organization must be charitable, educational, or scientific as defined by the Internal Revenue Service in Section 501(c)(3).
- The organization must identify measurable goals and agree to the monitoring of results.
Projects not funded
Projects not funded at this time include the following:
- Pilot or start-up projects that are not based on, or modeled after other existing projects with a history of results.
- Construction of buildings.
- Projects that are sponsored by religious organizations and schools with bias to a particular religion and are not open to the entire community.
- Non-project specific proposals.
- Endowment funding requests.
- Private for-profit schools.
- Proposals to fund individuals, private foundations, and donor advised funds.
Grant Application Process
The WHLDC Board reviews grant applications and makes grant recommendations to TIDES twice a year. Grant decisions are made two times per year according to the following 2013 schedule:
2013 Grant Cycle
Pre-Grant Application Deadline*
Grant Applications deadline
*Pre-grant Applications will be reviewed and notifications to apply or not to apply for grants will be sent to the applicant within 10 business days after the deadline.
How to Apply for a WHLDC Grant
STEP 1: Submit a Pre-Grant Application
Prior to consideration of a grant application for funding, WHLDC requires the applicant to submit a pre-grant application which is available on West Harlem Development Corporation’s website (www.westharlemdc.org). Pre-grant applications can be saved and submitted via the website (preferred) or downloaded and submitted via email.
Downloaded and completed pre-grant applications should be returned to the Director-Programs via:
- E-mail w/ attachment to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Upon receipt, WHLDC conducts an initial due diligence. If the pre-grant application is of interest to WHLDC, applicants are notified within 10 business days of receipt and invited to submit a full grant application.
STEP 2: Submit a Grant Application
Applicants are notified by electronic mail that they have been invited to submit a grant application and a project budget. After the invitation, WHLDC sends grant application and budget templates to the applicant via email.
STEP 3: Grant Review by WHLDC
Grant applications are initially evaluated by WHLDC in part on the following basis:
- Does the proposal align with stated WHLDC Community-Need Categories?
- If implemented, will the project have measurable impact on addressing the needs of the West Harlem community?
WHLDC will only review grant applications from organizations that have been invited to apply.
Please note that an invitation to submit a grant application does not imply that an invited charitable organization will receive a grant. It means only that the organization and its project meet the minimum criteria of WHLDC’s grant making requirements, and the inquiry will be given further consideration. After WHLDC staff reviews grant applications, it will submit applications meeting the stated criteria to the WHLDC Board for review, and the WHLDC Board then will make its recommendations to the Tides Board for funding.
STEP 4: Grant Review by Tides.
Grant applications approved by the WHLDC Board are submitted to Tides as recommendations for funding. Each recommendation for funding will be subjected to an independent review and due-diligence by Tides to determine the grant applicant’s organizational health and capacity. Additional information may be requested during this review process. All applicants will be notified of final decisions in a timely fashion. Funding decisions by the Tides Board, at the recommendation of the WHLDC Board, for the grant cycle are final and there is no appeal process.
Amount of Grant Awards
The size of grants considered by WHLDC for approval by Tides shall be no more than $350,000 per year (maximum) per grantee. WHLDC reserves the right to change the maximum grant amount and institute a reasonable minimum at any time. WHLDC makes only one-year grants and not multi-year grants. Organizations can apply for additional years. WHLDC’s Board reserves the right to put a limit on the maximum number of years that one organization can be funded.
All grants are paid in two installments: the first with the grant award letter from Tides; and the second after satisfactory attainment of milestones as agreed and noted in the interim report. WHLDC strongly encourages organizations to seek funding from additional sources to supplement requested support from WHLDC.
Avoidance of Conflicts of Interest
It is critical that all funding decisions be made objectively, based on the grant applications submitted and not for the benefit of any WHLDC Board Member, Tides’s staff, WHLDC’s staff, or member of Tides Board of Directors. Funding is made exclusively to maximize benefits for the West Harlem community under the CBA. WHLDC follows a conflict of interest policy for its staff, directors and those principals who may appoint directors.
Grant Selection Process
Phase 1: Review of Pre-Grant Application.
WHLDC staff is responsible for evaluating pre-grant applications. The projects of the applicants are evaluated based upon the following principal criteria:
A. Goals and Objectives: Is the proposed project consistent with the CBA and WHLDC’s Community-Need Categories?
B. Is the project based in West Harlem? Will the project significantly benefit the CD9 area of West Harlem?
C. Is the applicant an IRS recognized 501(c) (3) public charitable, education, or scientific organization and in good standing?
D. Is the budget sufficient for undertaking the project and achieving the anticipated outcomes?
E. Does the organization demonstrate the capacity to continue the project for a period beyond WHLDC’s support?
Phase 2: Review of Grant Application and Grant Awards.
WHLDC’s staff is responsible for the initial review of all grant applications. The staff prepares recommendations for grant action for the consideration of the WHLDC Board, based upon the following criteria:
1. Does the grant application sufficiently describe why this project is important?
2. Is there a clear statement of the need in CD9 that the project will address?
3. Is a target population identified?
B. Goals and Objectives:
1. Are the goals of the project consistent with the CBA and WHLDC’s Community-Need
1. What is the duration of the project?
2. How will the results achieved be sustained beyond the end of WHLDC’s support?
1. Is the budget realistic and sufficient to achieve the desired goals and objectives?
2. Will there be other funds to support this project?
WHLDC’s Board reviews proposals presented by WHLDC’s staff and determines the grants to recommend for final approval by the Tides Board of Directors. Grant recommendations require a majority of the entire WHLDC Board to vote in the affirmative. The Grant Application provides that by signing the application, the prospective grantee agrees to a series of conditions including monitoring and filing reports.
Phase 3: Fiscal Sponsor Review and Approval
For grant applications recommended for funding by the WHLDC Board, Tides conducts its own, independent due diligence. Tides reviews the reports and analysis submitted by WHLDC. WHLDC works closely with Tides, enabling reasons for rejections to be promptly conveyed to applicants. Applicants can correct identified demerits and reapply in subsequent grant cycles. Because of the constant loop of communication between Tides and WHLDC grant staffs, potential obstacles to final approval are identified and communicated to the applicant before the application reaches the Tides Board for review. Disapproval by the Tides Board of funding recommendations made by the WHLDC Board therefore are anticipated to be exceptions and rare. The Tides Board nevertheless has final decision-making authority and there is no appeal from its determinations. However, barring severe deficiencies in the application or with the applying organization, organizations whose applications have been denied may reapply in subsequent cycles.
Phase 4: Grant Administration and Payments
Grant Applicants recommended by WHLDC Board receive letters via e-mail of the actions by WHLDC Board that will indicate what to expect next. Upon approval by the Tides Board, successful applicants receive letters notifying them of the grant awards upon WHLDC’s Board’s recommendation. The first installment of the grant award accompanies Tides’ award letter. The conditions of the grant set forth in the grant application, to which the applicant agreed when submitting the application, are also summarized in the award letter for reference.
The grant conditions require grantees to submit two reports – an interim and a final report.
(a) Prior to receiving the first progress report, and approximately five months after the grant has been made, WHLDC and Tides personnel, accompanied at certain times by representatives of WHLDC’s Board, make site visits to assess progress and, where appropriate, make recommendations to maximize the impact of projects. The purpose of the site visits is to monitor and assess programmatic progress and review financial accountability.
(b) After the site visit, the grantee submits a six-month interim report, which is a self-assessment by the grantee. The report should identify the project’s achievements; problems encountered, and planned solutions to the problems. The interim report is due fifteen (15) days after the end of the first six months of receiving the award letter. Failure to meet this deadline will delay the receipt of the second installment. The final report is due thirty (30) days after the end of the grant period. Until a final report has been received, a grantee will not be invited to submit another grant application.
WHLDC’s staff reviews the interim reports and presents written evaluations of each grant to Tides and to the WHLDC Board. If there are no problems with the project, funding continues unimpeded. If there is a problem, WHLDC’s Board would recommend a termination of the grant to Tides. The ultimate decision to terminate a grant is made by the Tides Board of Directors.
Termination of Grants
If at any time the grantee is not in compliance with the terms and conditions of the grant award, WHLDC notifies the grantee and provides a reasonable period for the grantee to cure the deficiency. If acceptable corrective action is not taken by the grantee, WHLDC reserves the right to recommend a termination of the grant before the second installment is paid. Grantees will be notified in writing if their grants have been terminated. In some cases, WHLDC would require a return of the funds paid to the organization. Such cases would be caused by incidence of fraud, theft, and financial malfeasance that may subsequently come to the attention of WHLDC and/or Tides.
WHLDC will publicize grant-funded activities on its website, printed materials, and videos which may include the names and other identifying information of grantee organizations. Grantees are required to agree to such publications and waive privacy rights, or rights of publicity.
Consistent with its commitment to transparency and accountability, WHLDC compiles financial data and posts summaries on its website on a quarterly basis. The financial information includes a cumulative listing of the names of grantees, a brief description of the funded project, and the grant amount awarded for that project. Grantees are required to agree to such disclosures and waive privacy rights, or rights of publicity.