FAQS for Applicants
Who can apply for an Opportunity Fund grant?
The Opportunity Fund awards grants to organizations that have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, and to certain governmental entities.
The Opportunity Fund does not make grants directly to groups without 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, or to organizations located outside of the United States. We cannot make grants to individuals, directly or indirectly.
Can groups that do not have 501(c)(3) status apply through a fiscal sponsor?
Yes. However, because the Opportunity Fund can only award grants to 501(c)(3) organizations, the entire grant request must come directly from the fiscal sponsor. The fiscal sponsor must fill out the Letter of Inquiry (LOI) and, if invited, the Full Application. In the Full Application, the fiscal sponsor must also submit a signed letter stating their involvement with the project and their willingness to administer any grant funds. For more information about fiscal sponsorship, check out the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors.
Does the size of my organization matter?
Yes, if your organization is applying for arts funding. The Opportunity Fund focuses its arts funding on small to mid-size arts organizations, which we classify as organizations with annual budgets of $1.5 million or less.
That said, any nonprofit organization may apply for social and economic justice funding, regardless of its size.
My organization does not focus on and/or is not located in the greater Pittsburgh community. Is it still eligible for funding?
Yes, but on a very limited basis. Special priority is given to projects that benefit the greater Pittsburgh community. A minimum of 75% of our yearly awards are granted to organizations serving this region. We define the greater Pittsburgh community as Allegheny County and its surrounding area.
What types of activities does the Opportunity Fund support?
The Opportunity Fund offers both project-based grants and operational support. As a new funding entity, Opportunity Fund is continually finding and adjusting its focus. As such, past grants are not entirely indicative of what will be funded in the future.
Do art-related proposals that have social justice (or social praxis) components receive special consideration?
No. We believe in the inherent value of art. While our funding categories (the Arts, and Social & Economic Justice) may intersect, it is not a requirement that they do so. Further, no special priority is given when they do.
What does our focus on craft mean?
Our visual arts funding is focused on supporting projects and organizations that work with glass, wood, ceramics, fiber, metals, and found materials.
Is there a cap on how small or large an amount my organization can request?
Not at the moment. We are new and curious to learn the range of requests that come our way.
We understand the value that a $1,500 grant may unleash great opportunities for some, while only a substantially larger grant will help others achieve impact. Contact us with any questions: twilhelm [at] theopportunityfund.org, (412) 362-1300.
Does the timing of my project or program impact when I should apply?
Yes. We strongly recommend that the activities included in your request take place after the award notification date. For example, if you apply in the first cycle in a calendar year, the grant start date should begin on or after June 1. For applications to the second cycle, the grant start date should begin on or after December 1. If you have a time-sensitive request, contact Tiffany Wilhelm at twilhelm [at] theopportunityfund.org.
If we receive a grant, how will we report back to the Opportunity Fund?
Final evaluation reports (online) will be required for every grant awarded with a deadline of 30 days after the project or grant period ends. It is important to design your evaluation process at the outset, and to collect data from the beginning of the project or program. You can preview our basic final report form here.
Does the Opportunity Fund offer multi-year support?
Potentially. We recommend contacting us with specific questions: twilhelm [at] theopportunityfund.org.
Are there limits on how frequently an organization may apply for or receive funding?
We strongly recommend submitting only one application per grant cycle. Past funding does not guarantee future funding, regardless of how frequently that funding was received. Generally, grantees should wait to apply again to receive new funding until after the final report of their current grant has been submitted.