Grant Guidelines

If you're interested in applying for a grant, please review the areas of focus, funding methods, and eligibility requirements below, as well as our major grants process and timeline or leadership development grants program information before submitting an application.

Submissions that do not fall within our stated areas of focus, funding methods and follow our grant application instructions will not be reviewed.

Areas of Focus

Before proceeding, please review Our Mission for more information on the types of programs we support and areas of focus. You may also review our Grant History to see examples of previous grants made, as well as basic information on typical grant sizes and types. 

We are currently accepting unsolicited LOI submissions from organizations that are operationally based in, or that provide services and support to, the communities where our board members and advisors live and work. This includes Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, and Frederick County.  

In effect, this geographic focus affords us with better opportunities to provide a more personal level of support to our grantees, beyond just grant dollars, and to cultivate positive relationships and share resources amongst other local nonprofit associations and organizations in these regions.

While we may, from time to time and solely at the discretion of the board, consider grant proposals outside these main focus areas, please email our Program Officer, Kerry McHugh, before submitting a Letter of Inquiry of any size, scope or capacity that may fall outside of our geographic focus or target funding areas.

Funding Methods

We are flexible in our funding methods. While we most commonly make direct grants (which may include unrestricted, restricted and matching), we are open to Program-Related Investments (PRI), loans, bridge funding, and other creative funding mechanisms. For more information or questions specific to your needs, please contact our Program Officer, Kerry McHugh, directly.

Eligibility Requirements

All organizations seeking funding, regardless of amount requested, are required to meet the following criteria:

  • Provide services in and/or be based in one of our geographic areas of focus (exceptions may be made on invitation of the board);
  • Provide evidence of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3), OR, in the case of international grantees, provide similar proof of tax exemption to the satisfaction of the Executive Director;
  • Provide up-to-date contact details for regular communications;
  • Adhere to the principles of the Foundation and the Foundation's mission statement.

The Helen J. Serini Foundation will not make grants to the following:

  • Organizations that engage in discriminatory hiring, benefit or service practices based on race, color, nationality or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran status or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law. 
  • Individuals
  • Political Action Committees (PAC) or lobbying efforts (exclusive of research)
  • 509(a)(3) organizations
  • Religious institutions that have not submitted a 1023 form and/or received their 501(c)(3) status
  • Reimbursement for prior expenses