Frequently Asked Questions
What is your mission?
Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of North Carolinians. This mission is achieved through programs and services funded in response to grant requests, as well as through funding or proactively developing initiatives supporting needs identified by the Foundation.
What are the Foundation’s Focus Areas?
Our focus areas include: Health of Vulnerable Populations – improving health outcomes of populations served by safety-net organizations; Healthy Active Communities – increasing physical activity and encouraging healthy eating habits; and Community Impact through Nonprofit Excellence – increasing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations.
What is the history of BCBSNC Foundation?
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina established the BCBSNC Foundation as a separate, independent, nonprofit organization in November 2000 to ensure that resources would always be available to contribute to improving the health of North Carolinians.
How is the Foundation governed?
The vision and mission of the Foundation is guided by our board of directors, which is comprised of current and former executive-level employees within Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, in addition to representation from the medical community.
What is a Signature Program?
In addition to our grantmaking, the Foundation also supports several Signature Programs, which are direct service programs that address the health and well-being of North Carolinians or build capacity in the nonprofit sector. While Signature Programs are sometimes developed in concert with other nonprofit organizations, the Foundation serves as a driving force behind the creation, development and management of these unique initiatives. The Foundation's current Signature Programs include: Be Active Kids®, Breast Health Project, Community TIEs Awards Program, 5 Good Ideas Make them Great andHealthy Community Institute for Nonprofit Excellence.
QUESTIONS RELATED TO GRANTMAKING
Who is eligible to apply for a grant from your foundation?
Organizations are eligible for grants from the Foundation if they have qualified for exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code or are public instrumentalities (i.e., a government entity). Individuals, private foundations [as defined by Section 509(a) of the Code] and Type III supporting organizations are not eligible to apply or receive grants.
If my organization does not have its 501(c)(3) designation, can another organization apply for the money for my organization?
No. Grants are not awarded to an organization to be used as pass-through funds for another organization that is not a 501(c)(3) public charity or governmental entity.
Will my organization be required to submit an audit with its proposal?
Yes, depending on the size and type of organization:
- Organizations with $500,000 or more in annual revenues are required to submit a certified public accounting audit.
- Organizations with at least $100,000, but less than $500,000 in annual revenues are required to submit financial statements reviewed by an independent certified public accountant.
- Organizations with annual revenues less than $100,000 are required to submit financial statements certified as accurate and complete by the organization's chief executive officer. Financial statements should include at a minimum a Statement of Financial Position (or Balance Sheet) listing assets and liabilities and a Statement of Activities (or Income Statement) listing revenues and expenditures.
- There may be some exceptions to this general rule based on the focus area. Please be sure to check the specific requirements of the focus area for which you are applying.
If my organization is a government entity (such as a health department), will I need to submit our county's audit with our proposal?
No, government organizations do not need to submit the entire county audit with the proposal. Given the size of the audits, these entities are required to submit only four components of the audit: 1) the auditor's report (cover letter); 2) the balance sheet; 3) the statement of revenues and expenditures; and 4) the auditor's notes.
Investment Priorities and Restrictions
Does the Foundation provide grants to individuals?
No, but the Foundation is able to invest in agencies that help individuals.
Does the Foundation pay for indirect costs in a university setting?
The Foundation does not fund university overhead costs. These are the costs associated with providing facilities and administrative support for sponsored activities and include operating and maintaining buildings and grounds, equipment, the libraries and providing administration at the university, college and department levels.
Does the Foundation pay for capital, either equipment or construction?
The Foundation will invest in acquisition of equipment as it relates to a specific program. The Foundation typically does not pay for construction (a.k.a., bricks and mortar).
Does the Foundation pay for personnel expenses?
Yes, as they relate to a specific program. For instance, the Foundation would be unlikely to pay for ABC nonprofit's executive director position, but would more likely pay for personnel costs associated with a program (e.g., a nurse to provide diabetes management classes).
What type of operational expenses does the Foundation fund?
The Foundation will provide funding for direct service or program-related costs such as salaries, benefits, materials, supplies, etc. that can be directly associated to the project. If you have questions specifically related to budget development, please contact the appropriate focus area program officer directly.
Would the Foundation pay for 100 percent of a program's costs?
Typically, no. The Foundation prefers to be one of several different sources of revenue. An application is strengthened by seeking multiple sources of support as this is a key indicator of sustainability.
Is there a limit on the duration or size of a grant award?
Yes. Grants are limited in scope and duration based on the parameters of each specific focus area. Please refer to the specific focus area investment guidelines on this website for specifications.
Does the Foundation invest in existing programs or just new or expanding programs?
The Foundation provides support for existing, new and expanding programs.
Multiple Grant Requests
How often can my organization apply for and receive a grant from the Foundation?
Once the Foundation has invested in a specific program, it cannot be invested in again until after the original grant term expires. For example, if ABC nonprofit received a one-year grant for a cardiac rehab program in July 2011, the grant term would expire in July 2012. ABC could not apply for another grant for the rehab program, in any focus area, until July 2012 (once the term expires on the original grant).
Does the Foundation have restrictions on the number of applications submitted in various focus areas?
Yes, and they are as follows:
- An organization may apply for and receive a grant for different programs in multiple focus areas simultaneously.
Different programs within the same organization may receive a grant in different focus areas simultaneously. For example, ABC nonprofit may receive a grant in the Healthy Active Communities focus areas for a community garden and a grant in the Health of Vulnerable Populations focus area for a school-based dental sealant program.
- An organization is not eligible for an equipment/training grant while they have an open cash grant in the same focus area.
An organization with an active equipment grant will be eligible to apply for subsequent programmatic grant opportunities announced through Requests for Proposals.
- The Foundation encourages organizations to submit only one grant application per focus area per application deadline/cycle.
The number of applications received in each category far exceeds the amount of money available for grants. Therefore, the Foundation recommends that you determine which of your programs best meets our results sought and submit a proposal for that program.
Applying for a Grant
How do I apply for a grant?
If, after reviewing the Foundation's investment guidelines, you believe that your program/project would qualify for a grant, please refer to the process and procedures for applying for a grant available under each focus area section of this website. The BCBSNC Foundation has moved to an online application process. Instructions for how to access the proposals and the listing of required attachments that must be submitted online will vary based on the focus area to which you apply.
What are your proposal submission deadlines?
Please go to each focus area's "How to Apply" section to determine the due date, or check the Foundation calendar. Each of our 3 focus areas has a grant cycle once a year.
Do I need to contact the Foundation prior to submitting an application and/or may I set up a meeting to discuss my proposal?
All of the information regarding investment priorities and application instructions can be found on the website. However, if after carefully reviewing all information provided you still have questions, you may e-mail or call the designated team member on the contact list. Team members may help clarify the guidelines and application, but they cannot tell you whether your project will receive a grant. Discussing your proposal with a team member does not guarantee an investment. In addition, team members generally do not meet with organizations to discuss proposals or investment opportunities.
My organization is a government entity, what do I need to submit in lieu of an IRS tax determination letter?
If your organization is a government entity, you must provide the BCBSNC Foundation with a statement typed on your organization's official letterhead and signed by a responsible officer or other person authorized to make such representations on behalf of the entity, certifying that the organization (i) is a government unit described in Sections 170(b)(1)(A)(v), 170(c)(1) and 509(a)(1) of the Code and (ii) agrees to use the funds granted for exclusively public purposes within the meaning of Section 170(c)(1) of the Code.
Will the Foundation invest in collaborative groups?
Yes, the Foundation encourages collaborations and partnerships; however, the application must be completed and grant reports managed by one nonprofit organization.
Submitting a Proposal ONLINE
How do I access the online proposal?
Each of our three focus areas will have a link located on the focus area page once an application is open and available. Please pay close attention to grant cycle open and close dates. The links will not be available outside of the dates listed.
Can I get a copy of the online application form?
You will be able to print a copy as you are filling out the online application form. Click on the "Printer Friendly Version" link located in the top right hand corner of each application page.
Do I have to complete the application in one online session?
No, you can start the application and choose to save and finish it at another time. Just click on the "Save and Finish Later" button located at the bottom of each application page. It's important that you remember your login information and use the correct link to return to your saved proposal.
Is my application automatically saved once I create an account?
No, your application is not saved automatically. To ensure no application data is lost, please click on the "Save and Finish Later" button at the bottom of each application page.
How do I return to an incomplete application that I saved, but have not yet submitted?
Once you create an online grant application account, you will receive an e-mail notification that includes the e-mail address and password required to access your saved application.
How do I send my proposal online?
Once the application is completed and you have uploaded all of the required attachments, you will need to click the "Review & Submit" button at the bottom of the last page of the application to complete the process. Once your application has been submitted, a confirmation e-mail will be sent to the e-mail address that you used to create your online grant application account.
Can I send the application directly to a BCBSNC Foundation program officer?
No, the BCBSNC Foundation only accepts applications online.
Can I mail a copy of the proposal to the BCBSNC Foundation?
No, we currently only accept applications online. If you need any assistance or have a special circumstance, please contact Michael Gay at email@example.com or (919) 765-2826.
Do I need to have cookies enabled on my internet browser?
Yes, the online application system places a cookie on your computer to enable the "Save and Finish Later" functionality. Please check the user's manual for your internet browser to enable cookies if you receive an error message.
What if I have questions along the way?
If you are having trouble with the online application form, please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions about the content of your proposal, you should call or email the program officer responsible for the focus area you are interested in applying to.
May I submit attachments with my request?
Please submit only the attachments requested with the grant application. Attachments will need to be uploaded online.
How do I know if you received my proposal?
You will receive an e-mail confirmation from our online application system. Please keep this e-mail for your records.
How do I find out about the status of my request?
You will be notified in writing about the status of your grant application, regardless of whether it is accepted or declined. We ask you not to call the Foundation to track a proposal or to discuss the status of the proposal. Deadlines are posted on the "Grants" tab and under the calendar section of the website. If for some unforeseen reason the notification deadline is delayed, the Foundation will contact the grant applicants directly.
How long does it take to review a proposal?
Each focus area has its own review cycle; generally applicants are notified within three months of the proposal due date. Please refer to the Foundation calendar for specifics.
If I receive notification that I have been approved for a grant, when will I receive the actual money?
Once the grant is approved and the Foundation has all necessary materials, a grant agreement is prepared and sent to the grantee for a signature from the organization's executive director and board chair. Once the Foundation receives a signed grant agreement, a check is usually sent within 30 days.
What is a Grantee Outcomes Workshop?
All new grantees are required to attend a Grantee Outcomes Workshop. The purpose of the workshop is to kick off the relationship, get clear on the outcomes anticipated and expected, and make sure that all the plans are in place to set up a successful grant period.