The purpose of the Organizational Capacity Responsive Fund, administered in partnership with Tides Foundation, is to make grants to current Heising-Simons Foundation grantees in support of: 1) diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) with respect to internal organizational awareness or program implementation; 2) fundraising and financial health (fund development and financial health-related strategies, systems, and capabilities); and 3) talent investment (grantee leadership, people, and organizational culture). This support can be used to address a specific issue in a timely manner; expand the reach of an existing effort; enhance the quality of an existing effort; or pilot a new approach.

Grants from this Fund are to be used to support: i) overall organization-wide efforts; or, if relevant, ii) capacity-building for the specific program or project for which you received Heising-Simons Foundation support. Funds can be used for consulting, training, coaching, facilitators, programs, or other relevant support.

Grants are intended to fund costs that help grantees initiate activities they would not otherwise be able to fund. Grants are not intended for ongoing staff salaries, and other costs such as contributions to retirement plans, health insurance, annual fundraising gala costs, etc.

Grants of between $10,000-$20,000 are available for a project or set of related projects that fall in one of the following areas:


I. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

  1. DEI with respect to internal organizational awareness, organizational culture, structure, policies, and procedures: consultant fees and other costs associated with clarifying/articulating organizational values or costs of offsite staff retreat related to DEI efforts; costs associated with other DEI efforts, such as a DEI audit, DEI specialized recruiting firm, staff training, and follow-up coaching, etc.
  2. DEI with respect to program implementation: consultant fees; costs associated with designing, reviewing, and implementing programmatic strategies related to DEI; costs associated with engaging external stakeholders (board members, volunteers, program participants, etc.) related to implementing DEI programmatic efforts.

What’s Not Fundable: hardware; ongoing operating costs.


II. Fundraising and Financial Health Capacity

  1. Fund Development Planning: consultant fees; training; workshops; donor target research; capital campaign planning.
  2. Systems/Databases: costs to perform due diligence and transition to a new system/database or improve current system; software expenses; consultant support fees; cost of staff training on new systems.
  3. Messaging to Donors/Donor Engagement: costs to develop and pilot new messaging to donor segments; testing new donor engagement strategies.
  4. Transitioning to a Fundraising Board: board training costs; consultant fees.
  5. Development Director Search: executive search fees; cost to market job opportunities.
  6. Business Modeling/Planning: includes scenario planning; consultant fees or other planning costs.
  7. Full Cost Analysis: consultant fees; software.
  8. Accounting or other Financial Management Processes: cost of organization’s first audit; costs to respond to audit findings or improvement recommendations.

What’s Not Fundable: sponsorship of events; hardware; ongoing operating costs.


III. Talent Investment

  1. Leadership/Professional Development: Developing personal and professional purpose, vision, self-awareness, and ability to motivate others, communicate, and collaborate; and/or building knowledge, skills, and managerial ability to work effectively. Costs associated with staff attending leadership training or retreats; attending training and educational programming; staff retreat; workshops in areas such management, communications, fundraising, finance, human resources, public speaking, facilitation, strategic planning, etc.; coaching expenses; costs to participate in peer or cohort learning.
  2. Personal Sustainability/Wellness: Enabling employees (collectively and/or individually) to develop a balanced approach to work, manage workload and stress, avoid burnout, and build endurance. Costs of wellness programs or activities (e.g., wellness retreat, biofeedback); mental health consultation and/or therapy not covered by insurance; costs associated with planning and/or executing sabbatical for nonprofit leader; life coaching.
  3. Board Development: Establishing and nurturing a high-performing board of directors or advisory board. Costs to recruit and onboard a more diverse board; governance review costs; costs to attend training on how to be an effective board member/chair, such as the BoardSource Leadership Forum; costs to administer board self-assessments; board retreat.
  4. Compensation & Personnel Policies: Ensuring reasonable salaries and benefits; and creating effective and equitable employment policies and practices. Costs associated with creating or revising salary scale and benefits offerings; costs to development or revise personnel policies.
  5. HR Infrastructure: Establishing basic and strategic human resource staffing functions. HR consultant fees; HR compliance audit; costs to introduce 360 employee review processes.
  6. Recruitment/Retention/Retirement: Developing procedures for intentional employee recruitment, retention, and retirement. Costs associated with human capital planning; expenses to build awareness of internships and employment opportunities; executive search fees; executive transition coaching costs; succession planning.

What’s Not Fundable: hardware; ongoing operating costs.



  • Applicants must have an active grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation to be eligible to apply. If your grant is scheduled to end within 90 days of your Fund support application, please note that in your request.
  • Intermediary fiscal sponsors are not eligible to apply. However, projects or organizations supported through a fiscal sponsor or intermediary are eligible to apply.
  • Organizations that have received Heising-Simons Foundation funding through an expenditure responsibility grant are not eligible to apply.

 Please note:

  • Grants through the Fund need to be executed and completed within 6-12 months from date of approval.
  • Should there be unforeseen delays in the execution and completion of approved grant activities, no-cost extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • If you will be using a consultant for the proposed project, we ask that you provide the consultant’s information on the application.
  • Limit of one Organizational Capacity Responsive Fund grant per organization per calendar year.
  • Current Heising-Simons Foundation grantees can apply to both this Fund and the Communications Responsive Fund in any one calendar year.
  • The Tides Foundation, not the Heising-Simons Foundation, will make all final funding decisions.
  • Neither the Heising-Simons Foundation nor the Tides Foundation is promoting the specific training and leadership development programs listed above but using them illustratively only.
  • For the proposed project budget, up to 15 percent of the request may include indirect costs, including staff time. Fiscal sponsorship fees can be included as part of direct costs for the project.
  • Grant recipients will be asked to submit a short final report at the end of the grant period.



Complete the application at any time starting March 31, 2022. The deadline for submitting the application is May 3, 2022.

A decision about your request will be made in June 2022.



In light of limited resources, preference for funding may be given to: a) small and medium sized nonprofits or university centers; and b) nonprofits that are continuing grantees of the Heising-Simons Foundation.

In the review of applications for funding, we will focus on the following areas:

  • fit with the spirit and guidelines described above.
  • the need and the importance of the proposed work to the organization.
  • the ability of the applicant to begin the capacity building within three months of application approval.
  • whether the requested support would not be funded otherwise.
  • if the requested support might jumpstart an idea or activity that leads to a larger or ongoing line of work.
  • (possible) input from your primary Heising-Simons Foundation program officer.



If you are in doubt about whether your need meets the criteria, or whether the support that you have in mind is eligible, please email [email protected].


Application Preview

1. Name of Organization *

2. Address *

3. City *

4. State *

5. Postal Code *

6. 501(c)(3) Tax ID Number *

7. Contact Person’s Name *

8. Contact Person’s Title *

9. Contact Person’s Email *

10. Contact Person’s Phone Number *

11. Do you have a fiscal sponsor? *

12. Fiscal Sponsor Contact Person’s Name (if needed)

13. Fiscal Sponsor Contact Person’s Title (if needed)

14. Fiscal Sponsor Contact Person’s Email (if needed)

15. Fiscal Sponsor Contact Person’s Phone Number (if needed)

16. Program Area (select one) *:
– Climate & Clean Energy
– Community & Opportunity
– Education
– Human Rights
– Science

17. Heising-Simons Foundation Program Officer for most recent grant. (If you do not know please answer N/A.) *

18. Grant # for most recent Heising-Simons Foundation grant. (if you do not know please answer N/A) *

19. Proposed Project Title *

20. Which area of support best fits your project? (Select one) *
– Financial
– Health Talent Investment

21. If DEI: Which category of support best fits your project? (Select up to two) *:-
– DEI with respect to: Internal Organizational Awareness, Culture, Structure, Policies, and Procedures
– DEI with respect to: Program Implementation

22. If Financial Health: Which category of support best fits your project? (Select up to three) *
– Fund Development Planning
– Systems/Databases
– Messaging to Donors/Donor Engagement
– Transitioning to a Fundraising Board
– Development Director Search
– Business Modeling/Planning
– Full Cost Analysis
– Accounting or Other Financial Management Processes

23. If Talent Investment: Which category of support best fits your project? (Select up to three) *
Leadership/Professional Development
– Personal Sustainability/Wellness
– Board Development
– Compensation & Personnel Policies
– HR Infrastructure
– Recruitment/Retention/Retirement

24. Which of the following best describes the purpose of your request? (Choose one) *
– Address a specific need in a timely manner
– Expand the reach of an existing effort
– Enhance the quality of an existing effort
– Pilot a new approach

25. What is the overall project and what specific need would be fulfilled through support from the Fund. (1- 2 short paragraphs) *

26. Please summarize your overall project and need outlined above. (1-2 sentences) *

27. Please share 1-2 anticipated outcomes for the proposed organizational capacity project described above.*

28. Please list all key staff members that will be overseeing and executing this project. *

29. What is the projected time frame for utilization of the requested grant, and how would that align with the timeline for the overall project? *

30. Amount Requested *

31. What is your 2022 FY annual budget? (If you are a fiscally sponsored project please use your project budget.) *

32. Project budget (Upload file) * Please note that your budget may include indirect costs up to 15 percent of the project’s total direct costs. Indirect costs are general or administrative costs that are necessary to deliver project services or activities, including a reasonable amount of staff time spent in training or working on the funded capacity-building project. (No additional staff time is to be covered by these funds.)

33. Have you received a responsive fund grant before? *

Consultant Information

34. Do you plan on using a consultant for this project? * If Yes:

35. Do you already know who the consultant is? *

36. Consultant role(s): e.g. executive coach, reviewer of compensation benchmarks, etc.

37. Consultant name(s)

38. Consultant website(s) or LinkedIn profile(s)

Final Report Requirements *
I acknowledge that at the end of this project, I will be asked to fill out a brief narrative report

* Indicates question is required



Funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation.