The Betterment Fund

Created by the will of William Bingham 2nd

Trustees: William B. Winship • Carolyn S. Wollen • William P. Clough III
Carol Berg Geist • Andrew L. Tansey • Martin J. Grohman • Bank of America, N.A.

How To Apply

Contact Information

Substantive questions about your organization's request for support should be directed to

Christine O'Donnell
Tel: 646-855-1011
Fax: 646-855-5463
betterment@ustrust.com

Technical questions about the online application process should be directed to both of the following email addresses:

altansey@davidsondawson.com
cwollen@verrilldana.com
Please place "Betterment Fund Tech Support" in the subject line. You can expect a response within 24 hours during business days.

The grant application process for the Fund's cycles for 2014 is now active. The same application process will be used for the three grant cycles for 2014. (Note : This represents a shift from previous years, in which a new application process was used for each grant cycle.)

You can start the application process for the active grant cycle by clicking on the “Begin The Application” button at the button of this page. Please review all of the information and instructions on this page before starting the application process. From that date forward, if you have already started an application during the period for the active year's application process and are returning to work on a saved draft, you may click on the "Begin The Application" button below to continue the application. (This feature now applies to an application started in an earlier grant cycle and continued in a subsequent cycle, AS LONG AS it is within the same year's active grant process.) However, if you do not complete and submit an application by the deadline for the last cycle in the current year's active grant process, it may not simply be resumed in a subsequent year's grant process. You may still gain access to an application from a prior grant process (and, e.g., copy and paste any information into a new application), but it will be necessary to start a new application in the then active process.

Three annual grant application cycles – Applications due January 31, April 30 and September 30:

The Fund reviews applications and makes grant decisions three times per year, according to the following schedule:
  • Applications due January 31 at 5 p.m. for the Fund's cycle for March decisions;
  • Applications due April 30 at 5 p.m. for the Fund's cycle for June decisions; and
  • Applications due September 30 at 5 p.m. for the Fund's cycle for year-end decisions.

Before proceeding with the online application, please be sure to review the details on our Grant Guidelines and our Current Grant Priorities.

Online Application Instructions

First Time Users: The Betterment Fund uses the Foundant system for its online application process. If you are using our online system for the first time we suggest that you watch this 5 minute video on how to use the system.

Creating Your Account: The first time you use the system, you will not enter an email and password on the Logon page, but instead, you will have to create an account by clicking the "Create New Account" button. Please note that on the second half of the account creation screen, when you are asked for the Email/Login for the Chief Executive of the organization, all you need to enter there is the email for the Chief Executive - a login will not be created.

SAVE Your Application As You Go: Just like working on any important document, we recommend that you save your online application frequently to decrease the chances that information might get lost while you are working on it. Foundant recommends saving the application each time you complete the uploading of a document as well. Please note that the "Save" button is located at the bottom of the application form. It is also a good practice not to hit the "back button" on your browser while working on the application.

Printable List of Questions: Some applicants will find it useful to have a printed list of the application form questions for reference purposes. Applicants can generate a list of question by starting the application process, and then clicking on the link at the top of the application form that reads "Question List."

Character Limits: Character limits are given for each response. Please do not feel compelled to use all of the characters allowed. Succinct and clear is good. 3,300 characters = 1 page generally speaking. Please note for those of you who are building a word document and uploading, the character count of Foundant counts spaces as characters.

File Uploads: The online application requires that you upload files as part of the process. You may upload PDF files, Word Documents, or Excel Spreadsheets as long as they adhere to the file size requirements. In some cases more than one document may be required to be combined into a single upload, or you have paper documents that you would like to attach to the application. The simplest method is to convert them into a single PDF. If you don't have a method for scanning or converting to PDF, you may use Foundant's Fax-to-file system. Here are the instructions for converting a paper document into a single PDF file that you can then attach to your application in the appropriate location.

  1. To start, click the Fax to File link on the left hand side of the screen.
  2. Then click the Request a Fax # button and you will be presented with a toll-free fax number.
    • You have this number for 20 minutes.
  3. Fax your document to the number provided.
    • Send a separate fax for each document and do not include a cover sheet.
    • All faxed documents will be automatically converted to .pdf format.
    • You have 20 minutes to fax your documents before the number expires.
  4. After you have faxed each separate document click the Finished Faxing button to see your list of files.
  5. Download your converted documents to your computer and save them.
  6. Upload the documents to the appropriate questions on the online form.

Tax Exemption Requirements: An application will be accepted from an organization only if, at the time of application, it is either:

  • publicly supported and exempt from taxation under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) and not a private foundation;
  • exempt as a government agency or body; or
  • if not itself tax exempt, relying on fiscal agency or sponsorship by a separate publicly supported tax-exempt organization or government agency (please see additional application requirements below).

Additional Application Requirements for Fiscal Agency or Sponsorships: The Betterment Fund makes grants only to publicly supported organizations which are exempt from taxation under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) and which are not private foundations, or which are exempt as government agencies or bodies. An organization which is not itself tax exempt may rely on fiscal agency or sponsorship by a separate publicly supported tax-exempt organization or government agency.  Any organization relying on fiscal agency or sponsorship must upload the following additional information in the part of its grant application captioned “Fiscal Sponsorship Uploads,” under “SECTION 4: Financial Information Uploads,” near the end.  Please combine the following documents below into one file under 2MB in size.

  1. A brief statement addressing the following:
    1. Why your organization is not itself recognized as a public charity
    2. Whether your organization has filed an application for recognition of its tax exemption (Form 1023) with the IRS
    3. For the organization serving as fiscal sponsor
      1. Name of organization
      2. Employer identification number
      3. Address
      4. Contact person
      5. Telephone number
      6. E-mail address
  2. A copy of fiscal sponsorship agreement between your organization and the organization serving as fiscal sponsor. The fiscal sponsorship agreement must reflect dedication of grant funds to a tax-exempt purpose. If you are in doubt about what should be included in the agreement, you may download a sample form of fiscal agency agreement.
  3. A copy of the sponsoring organization’s board resolution authorizing it to serve as your fiscal sponsor.
  4. A copy of the Balance Sheet for the sponsoring organization's most recently completed fiscal year. This should include total assets and total liabilities. If applicable, please explain any changes that affect the sponsoring organization’s financial position. If the sponsoring organization has audited financial statements, you may supply this information from such statements.
  5. A copy of the Income Statement/Statement of Activities/Expenses for the sponsoring organization’s most recently completed fiscal year. This should include total income/revenue and total expenses for the past year by major categories. If applicable, please explain any changes that affect the sponsoring organization’s financial position. If the sponsoring organization has audited financial statements, you may supply this information from such statements.

 

Begin the Online Application Process

 

NOTE ABOUT REPORTING!!! Since 2012, many grant recipients were instructed to submit reports online by means of the same web-based facility by which grant applications are submitted. We regret that arrangements for online reporting have not been completed. Please see the “Reports” section of the Grant Guidelines page for guidance about how to submit reports.