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    Recognizing that terminology may vary across the sector, we have identified words related to our grant process and foundation operations that we hope will provide some clarity for organizations seeking funding.








    Anticipated outcomes:

    What you expect to see happen as a result of an implemented program, capital investment or service expansion.  While "outputs" often focus on the activities themselves, i.e., number of meals served, trainings offered etc., "outcomes" refer to the effects that these outputs have on the popluation being served, i.e. how the meals served have reduced hunger within a population or, how the introduction of technology in a school has changed curriculum delivery or student behavior.


    Archdiocese of Baltimore:

    The Archdiocese of Baltimore, established as a diocese in 1789, comprises the City of Baltimore as well as Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard and Washington Counties.



    What your organization owns.  This is the total amount of capital or principal — money, stocks, bonds, real estate, or other resources — that an organization controls.



    Supporting documentation that is included with your submitted request.  The Knott Foundation requires the submission of a standardized financial analysis form with all letters of inquiry.  Additionally, our grant proposal, cash flow loan, and discretionary grant applications have specific forms that are tailored to each request that are required for funding consideration.


    Audited financials:

    Most recent statement prepared and certified by a Certified Public Accountant.


    Balance sheet:

    A report showing the financial condition of an organization at a particular moment in time.  Also called a Statement of Financial Position. 


    Capital support:

    Funds provided for buildings, construction, or equipment.


    Capital support - equipment:

    Funding provided for the purchasing of specific equipment such as a van, a refrigerator, furniture etc.


    Capital support - new construction:

    Funding provided to build a new facility or construct an addition to an existing structure.  Any request in this category whose project budget totals $30,000 is required to submit three bids to the foundation for review.


    Capital support - renovation:

    Funding to enhance an existing structure, such as adding an ADA restroom, replacing a roof, repairing/upgrading an HVAC system etc.


    Capital support - technology:

    Funding provided for the purchasing of technology related hardware or software and peripherals.  This could include but is not limited to laptops, SMART boards, teaching software and servers.



    Cash or any funds that can be quickly and easily converted to cash.  This generally consists of bank accounts, money market funds, or other investments which mature within 90 days. 


    Cashflow statement:

    A financial statement presenting how changes in an organization’s balance sheet over a period of time; essentially the flow of cash into and out of the organization over time.  This statement is also referred to as the “Statement of Cash Flows.”


    Charitable registration, State of Maryland:

    Charitable organizations soliciting funds in Maryland must register with the Office of the Secretary of State.  All applicants invited to submit a full proposal are required to provide an up-to-date registration form as part of their completed grant request.


    Cost effectiveness:

    How a proposed program, project or service improves the financial operations of an organization or outperforms the costs associated with similar operations locally or nationally.  This may also apply to capital requests in terms of costs per square foot, efficiencies gained through technology, or energy savings.


    Discretionary grant:

    Smaller, but often more responsive grant awards.  Awards  range from $500 to $2,500.



    Funds which the donor has indicated may not be spent by the organization, but which are invested to produce a stream of income (investment earnings) that can be spent.  Frequently restricted by the board or donor for a specific purpose, such as financial aid.  Depending on market conditions and an organization’s spending policy (how much of the endowment’s earnings the organization’s board approves to spend), endowments may not produce income for an organization in years where the endowment fund dips below the original (principal) value, as established by the donor.



    What your organizationspends.  Also called costs.

      • Program Expenses – Direct expenses incurred by an organization to provide one or more of its programs or services.  Examples include salaries and benefits of staff members working exclusively on program delivery (e.g., teachers, social workers), travel expenses and equipment costs attributable to these staff members, supplies and materials for particular programs, and rent (where the program uses a particular facility).
      • Other Expenses – Anything other than program expenses, including fundraising expenses and management and general expenses.  Fundraising expenses support efforts to raise money for the organization and include such things as postage, professional fundraiser fees, and the salaries and wages of staff members engaged in fundraising activities.  Management and general expenses are those costs associated with the overall function and management of the organization and often include many executive personnel, accounting and legal fees, and office equipment and supplies.


    Fixed assets:

    An asset that has a relatively long useful life, usually several years or more.  Examples include equipment, furniture, buildings and land.  Also called capital assets.


    Fiscal sponsorship:

    Affiliation with an existing nonprofit organization for the purpose of receiving grants. Grantseekers may either apply for federal tax-exempt status or affiliate with a nonprofit sponsor.


    Form 990:

    The information return that public charities file with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


    Form 990-N:

    Organizations whose annual gross receipts are normally $25,000 or less must complete the 990-N unless they choose to complete the 990 or 990-EZ.  Organizations that fail to file for three consecutive years will automatically lose their tax-exempt status.


    Grant period:

    The timeframe during the grant award period that a project will occur and/or grant expenditures will be made.  Awards made by the Foundation must be expended within a one-year time frame from the date of the award; the grant period may either encompass the full year or some portion of that year.



    The Foundation has established specific geographic and programmatic giving policies as well as application procedures that all grantseekers must follow when seeking funding.  Applicants should familiarize themselves with these guidelines prior to approaching the Foundation.


    Income (revenue):

    What your organization earns or takes in.  Also called revenue. 

      • Program Income – Income earned from the sale of goods and services to customers and/or clients.  Examples include tuition, membership dues, participant fees, and merchandise revenue.
      • Other Income – Anything other than program income.  Examples include gifts, grants, and government awards/grants.


    Interim grant conversation:

    A requirement for all grant awards.  The conversation is scheduled six (6) months after the grant award date and is designed to provide an opportunity for grantees to share updates with the Foundation around the work supported by their grant award.


    Letter of inquiry:

    The first step in the Foundation’s grantmaking process.  Letters should be clear in stating who is seeking funding, for what purpose and how an award will impact the organization’s ability to achieve its mission.  We review letters of inquiry in February, June and October of each year.



    What your organization owes. Liabilities largely fall into two categories:

      • Current Liabilities – Those liabilities due to be paid now or within the next twelve months.  Includes accounts payable. 
      • Long-Term Debt – Any loan or other obligation with a maturity or due date of more than one year. 


    Memorandum of understanding:

    A legal document outlining the terms and conditions of an agreement between parties, including each parties requirements and responsibilities.



    The written portion of your grant, describing who, what, when, where, why, and how the funding will be used. Our grant proposal application consists of three narrative sections:  Purpose of Request & Anticipated Results, Organizational Capacity, and Financial Narrative.


    Operating - capacity:

    A grant to cover the expansion of an existing program or the addition of a new program or personnel.


    Operating - leadership:

    A grant to support the leadership development of an organization, such as through training, credentialing, networking/collaboration, or professional development.


    Operating reserve:

    Unrestricted funds (or a pool of cash or investments) set aside by an organization’s board to stabilize finances by providing cash as a cushion for planned or unplanned future expenses or losses. 


    Operating - support:

    A grant to cover the regular personnel, administrative, and miscellaneous expenses of an existing program or project. 


    Post grant report:

    A requirement for all successful grant applicants.  A one year report detailing how grant funds have been used to date and providing feedback as to how your organization measured against your anticipated outcomes.


    Profit and loss statement:

    A financial statement that summarizes and organization’s revenues, expenses and costs during a specific period of time.  This is often referred to as a “P&L”,  the “Statement of Profit and Loss” or an “Income Statement.”


    Program area:

    When submitting a letter of inquiry, organizations are required to select a Program Area and Request Type from a drop down list that best matches the purpose of the request.  This can be different from the main mission of your organization. For example, you may be a human service organization seeking funding for an educational program, in which case your Program Area would be Education.


    Program-related investment (PRI):

    A loan or other investment (as distinguished from a grant) made by a foundation to another organization for a project related to the foundation's philanthropic purposes and interests.  May also be referred to as a Cash Flow Loan.


    Project budget:

    The total cost of a specific project or program.  This may include salaries, supplies, training etc.


    Operating budget:

    An organization’s accounting of its estimated income and expenses for a given period of time; most often one fiscal year.  The operating budget generally excludes longer terms costs such as capital projects but does include salaries, general maintenance, supplies etc.



    The second step in our grantmaking process.  Applicants are invited by the Foundation to submit proposals after a successful review of their letter of inquiry and financial analysis form.


    Public charity:

    A nonprofit organization that qualifies for tax-exempt status under section 501(c) (3) of the IRS code. Public charities are the recipients of most foundation and corporate grants. Some public charities also make grants. 


    Request type:

    The kind of support that most closely reflects your request. See also capital support - equipment, capital support - new construction, capital support - technology, operating expenses - capacity, operating expenses - support, and operating expenses - leadership.


    Surplus (deficit):

    A budget surplus occurs when an organization spends less money than it takes in. The opposite of a budget surplus is a budget deficit.



    If you would like to learn more about common terminology used in the field of philanthropy, we encourage you to visit Foundation Center Glossary and the Good Practice Guide Glossary.