Grants FAQs

Please click on a question below to see the response.


    What is a funding circle?

Funding Circles are Threshold’s interpretation of a giving circle, a format first introduced in the Threshold community in 2007. Threshold Funding Circles began as small collectives of donors convening for a limited amount of time to address narrowly tailored social, environmental, or cultural issues. Funding Circles formed and disbanded according to the changing interest and financial participation of Threshold members. Whereas our two standing core committees prior to 2015 served as permanent, institutional fixtures in Threshold’s philanthropic constellation, Funding Circles were authorized and re-authorized annually only if there was sufficient member interest and if their mission and strategy remained vital and of service.

In 2015 we sought to simplify Threshold's overall grantmaking structure and moved to an all Funding Circle grants program. Based on the fundamental collaborative and participatory nature of Threshold members' approach to grantmaking, we found Funding Circles to be the clearest vehicle for future Threshold grantmaking.

Funding Circles strike a balance between traditional philanthropic practices and more flexible, streamlined philanthropy. By forgoing lengthier grantmaking procedures, Funding Circles strive to respond swiftly to rapidly changing events and challenges facing our society and the planet.

We now envision Funding Circles as collaborative funding vehicles driving the philanthropic visions of the Threshold network. Funding Circle members contribute time and money to pooled funds, engage in dynamic decision-making processes inspired by Threshold’s culture and rich history of grantmaking, and engage the larger Threshold community to contribute funds to support the local, national, and global issues they are addressing. The Funding Circle structure enables members to increase their awareness of, and engagement in, the issues most important to the Threshold community and, in turn, share their stories of impact across the growing global Threshold network.

Please visit each Funding Circle’s individual webpage to learn more about their focus, strategy, process, and timeline.

    Do you fund internationally?

Yes, we have funded a number of international organizations in the past. Please refer to each Funding Circle's webpage for specific information about funding priorities.

    How large are your grants?

Grant amounts have historically ranged between $1,000 and $100,000. A typical grant is between $15,000 and $30,000.

    What is an appropriate amount to ask for?

A general rule of thumb committee members may reference is the 5/50 formula. That is, the amount you request should not be less then 5 percent of your total budget or more than 50 percent of your total budget.

    Does Threshold commit to repeat or multi-year funding?

Yes, in specific circumstances. Because Threshold members contribute grantmaking funds annually at amounts that may change from year to year, Threshold can only commit a limited amount of funds to repeat or multi-year funding for grantees. Specific committees or funding circles may have multi-year funding designations. Please consult individual committee or funding circle pages for more information.

    We have missed the deadline for your annual grants program, do you have discretionary or emergency funds we can apply for?

No. Threshold has one annual grants cycle and does not provide discretionary of emergency funds.

    How do I meet a Threshold member? Can you give me their contact information?

We do not match grantseekers with Threshold members, and do not share our membership list.

    The Executive Director of our organization will be in town on “x” date and would like to schedule a meeting with you and/or a Threshold member. When are you available?

Unfortunately, Threshold members do not have the capacity to meet with grant-seekers outside the process of evaluating potential grantees during the grantmaking cycle. Threshold staff also does not meet with grant-seekers, as our role is to facilitate the grants administration; we do not play a role in the decision-making process for funding.

    I hear you have an upcoming conference. Can you give me the address so I can mail materials about my organization to the meeting?

Unfortunately, we don’t have the capacity to display organizations’ materials, unless a Threshold member brings the materials to the conference themselves.

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