Here are some frequent asked questions — with answers! — that we’ve received about the Spark Prize Application.
Our program has been in operation longer than five years, but we became a separate 501c3 more recently. Can we apply?
If your organization can demonstrate five years of nonprofit service in Brooklyn, you are eligible to apply. For 501c3 organizations that have spun off from umbrella nonprofits within the past five years, please detail that relationship in your Narrative. All applying organizations need to provide their most recent 990 showing an operational budget of $350,000 or more. This award is not for emerging organizations.
We are a national organization, but have been operating in Brooklyn for more than five years and our fiscal sponsor is based in another city. Are we eligible?
If your organization serves the people of Brooklyn and can satisfy the other eligibility requirements, you are eligible to apply.
My organization has programming in Brooklyn but is based in Manhattan. Are we eligible to apply?
If your programs serve the people of Brooklyn and can satisfy the other eligibility requirements, you are eligible to apply.
How strict is the $350,000 budget requirement? We are close but do not have a $350,000 budget, are we eligible?
For your organization to be eligible, your most recently completed fiscal year budget has to be a minimum of $350,000 in expenses. This should be reflected in the most recently filed 990 that is part of the application process.
Is there a maximum operations budget for applying organizations? Will there be bias against larger budget organizations?
There is no maximum budget requirement and there is no bias toward or against larger organizations.
If we are a current Brooklyn Community Foundation grantee, can we apply?
Yes, current grantees are eligible to apply. Please note that being a current grantee does not affect your application positively or negatively.
Are schools eligible to apply?
If you are a nonprofit entity and have a 501(c)3 determination letter, then you are eligible.
What are you looking for in terms of content in our application?
The Narrative is limited to 1000 words. There are four Application Criteria that we would like you to detail within this word count. Applying organizations should be able to clearly address all application criteria.
We are “born” in Brooklyn but our vision for the future is expanding beyond the borough. How does that impact our application?
If your organization continues to serve Brooklyn and satisfies the other eligibility requirements, then you are eligible to apply. You can discuss your organization’s history in Brooklyn and your vision for your organization’s future in the Narrative.
Can we submit videos, press clips or kits?
No, please do not send videos, press clips, newsletters and/or promotional materials. Any attachments other than the ones requested will not be reviewed, and will be discarded.
We understand that the Spark Prize award is general operating support. However, if we have a specific program that aligns with the Prize criteria, can we submit a project support request?
Your organization can choose to focus your Narrative around a particular program or project if it specifically aligns with the criteria; however, if your organization is selected, funds will be awarded as general operating support.
Some of the questions in the online application regarding the people we serve may affect the privacy of our stakeholders (for example: Trans and non-gender conforming youth). How should we respond when the questions are required in the application?
We appreciate the need for confidentiality and hope that the aggregate number will not violate any constituent’s privacy.
My organization is well known in the community and I understand that the Foundation has a recusal policy in place for Selection Committee members. How will you ensure that an organization’s application is read by enough people?
Selection Committee members are required to complete and sign a Disclosure of Affiliations in which they must state any affiliations with organizations applying for the Spark Prize. Members will be asked to recuse themselves from reading an application where they might have a material conflict. We will ensure that at least three Selection Committee members read each application.
What does Giving Tuesday entail?
All 20 Finalist organizations will be featured during our Giving Tuesday campaign to encourage local donors to give to Brooklyn nonprofits that day. The Foundation will match up to $5,000 per organization of funds raised on Giving Tuesday, marked on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This is an opportunity for all Finalists to be recognized by the community and donors. The Foundation will provide support and guidance to each Finalist to help them maximize the Giving Tuesday match and surrounding promotions.
If an organization is a Finalist, does the organization’s ability to raise the Giving Tuesday match affect its chances in the final round?
No, it will not affect the organization’s chances in the final round.
Who is the appropriate person to represent the organization at the Finalist interviews, held from October 17-25?
Interview participants are chosen at your discretion and can be anyone who is able to represent your organization effectively, such as a member of your program staff, a constituent or client, or a Board member. We request no more than three representatives per organization.
You state that the $100,000 Prize will be distributed over a two or three year period. Could you clarify how we will be able to collect the funds?
Five organizations will be awarded a total of $100,000 each in general operating support to be distributed over a minimum of two years or a maximum of three years. Organizations will be able to decide how much of the Prize to access per year, with a maximum amount of $70,000 in a single year.
What are expectations regarding reporting from the Spark Prize winners?
We do not have a formal reporting requirement for the five winners or 20 finalists. We do hope to capture stories of how the Prize helps transform or propel organizations, and any feedback to refine the Prize for future years.