Working To Enhance The Quality Of Life
In Baltimore And In Maryland.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How should I contact the Abell Foundation to explore funding opportunities? 

Initial contact can be made by sending a one- to two-page letter to Robert C. Embry Jr., President, and providing a description of the project and funding needs, and a timeline. The Foundation can then determine whether the project fits within the scope its interests. If you seek more information about our process or about our program areas, staff will field questions at 410-547-1300.

What kinds of projects does the Abell Foundation fund?

The Foundation has seven broad program areas of interest: education, workforce development, health and human services, community development, criminal justice and addiction, environment, and arts. Within these areas, the Foundation invites requests for demonstration projects, feasibility studies, capital improvements, new construction and equipment, program development and enhancements, research, and program-related investments.

What is the geographic scope of the Foundation?

The Foundation funds nonprofit organizations located and active in Maryland. Our focus is on Baltimore City, with more than 95 percent of our grants being awarded to organizations in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

Are there other limitations?

The Foundation does not tend to fund educational programs at higher education institutions, medical facilities, individual scholarships, fellowships, annual operating expenses, sponsorships, deficit financing, endowments, travel, or memberships.

What is a reasonable amount to request?

Our average grant size in 2013 was $74,100.  We suggest that you review our most recent Annual Report for an indication of our current focus and average size of grants. All requests should be carefully considered in light of other alternative funding sources and overall project costs. Sole source funding is discouraged.

Do you have deadlines? If so, when is the next deadline and how soon will I hear about your board's decision?

Given the high number of worthy projects brought to our attention throughout the year, the Foundation allocates six deadlines in a calendar year.  In order to accommodate our staff’s desire to conduct thorough due diligence and analysis, we request that applications be submitted approximately six weeks before our bi-monthly board meetings.  You will receive a postcard within a week of the Foundations receipt of your proposal; you may subsequently receive a telephone call from a designated program officer requesting more information. This may include a request for a site visit, or office visit, as well as additional clarification and/or supporting information about the program and its budget. Usually, you will be informed of the Board of Trustees decision in writing within one week of a scheduled board meeting.  Please refer to Grantmaking Process, Guidelines and Procedures for more information.

Shall I contact individual board members to solicit support for our request?

As the Abell Foundation is fully staffed with program officers in each area of interest, it is our policy to discourage direct “lobbying” with our individual board members.

Are there any hints on what the Abell Foundation would look for in order to receive favorable consideration and funding?

Weighted consideration is given to those applications that include:

  • evidence of a clear understanding of the nature of the issues
  • a well-developed description of the proposed program that addresses the issue
  • well-articulated goals and objectives surrounding impact
  • evidence of strong internal fiscal management and long-term fiscal viability
  • evidence of personnel with qualifications to achieve anticipated goals
  • realistic dollar amount of request
  • evidence of enhancement of services to the community
  • capability to measure results and communicate findings and lessons learned

How often may my organization apply?

The Abell Foundation funds projects based on their individual merit.  Therefore, if your organization is currently being funded, or if you have a proposal under consideration, you are welcome to submit an additional proposal for another project. 

If our request is denied, when can we apply again for the same purpose?

It is the policy of the Foundation that organizations should wait at least a year before reapplying for the same project.

Why was my proposal denied?

Competition has become increasingly stiff. In an average year, approximately one in five proposals is funded. The current geographic focus on initiatives in Baltimore has limited the Foundation's ability to fund many proposals submitted from around the state.

How many copies of the proposal does the Foundation need?

One mailed copy is sufficient for our internal purposes.

What are the Abell Foundation hours of operation?

The Foundation’s office is open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.

How should proposals be submitted?

Please submit one copy of your application delivered by mail to:

Abell Foundation
Suite 2300
111 S. Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21202-6174

Do you fund requests from individuals?

No, we only fund qualified tax-exempt nonprofit organizations located and carrying on activities in the state of Maryland.

What is a 501(c) (3) designation? How do I go about obtaining a nonprofit status for my organization?

501(c) (3) refers to the section of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code that defines a nonprofit organization. For more information about the code and how to obtain a 501(c) (3) designation, please contact the Internal Revenue Service.

Does your foundation offer assistance in grant writing?

No.  The Foundation is willing to answer any questions about the application, but it does not assist in the actual process of grant writing.

Whom should I contact regarding media inquiries?

Please contact Robert C. Embry, Jr., President.