Strengthening Nonprofits Grants Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to frequently asked questions for our Strengthening Nonprofits Grants process.

Strengthening Nonprofits Phase I (CCAT) FAQ's: 

What is the Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT) and why does our agency need to complete this assessment?

The Area Foundation has chosen to use the CCAT as a tool to provide an objective assessment. While some agencies may intuitively know their strengths and deficiencies, the CCAT may draw attention to areas for improvement you have not identified. The results can also serve as a catalyst to engage your board and staff in dialogue about capacity needs.

How many people should take the survey? Who should take the survey?

We recommend that 5 to 10 staff or board members take the CCAT. ALL senior staff leaders and managers of an organization should take the CCAT (this includes the Executive Director, administrative director/managers, program directors/managers, financial directors/managers, etc.). TCC Group developed the CCAT to be administered to senior leaders with the belief that senior leaders are the key decision makers at an organization and are therefore the best judges of specific types of organizational capacity. Ideally some key board members also will participate in the CCAT.  If a senior staff leader has not been with your nonprofit for at least a year they may not know enough about the organization’s operations to answer the CCAT questions.

We suggest that you choose respondents who are comfortable with technology because the tool is completely online. Lastly, select respondents who will follow-through and complete the survey. Your organization’s CCAT report can only be printed after all the surveys are complete.

How many board members should take the CCAT?

One to two board members should take the CCAT (perhaps three for larger organizations). Invite board members who know a lot about the organization and can adequately respond to questions about its functioning and capacity. (You do not necessarily need to choose the board chair.) Most of the CCAT questions have to do with the day-to-day operations of the organization. TCC Group understands that there are many board members who will not be able to respond to most questions. 

TCC Group suggests inviting one to two board members because some organizations have more board members than paid staff leaders. The CCAT is intended to be primarily a staff leaders' assessment, and while it needs to include the board voice, it should not be skewed to a level where findings in the report are in fact the "board's assessment" of the organization.

Can volunteers or part-time staff members take the survey?

Only full-time senior staff members and board members who know the organization should take the CCAT. The only exceptions are if your organization is comprised entirely of volunteers or has part-time senior leaders. While TCC Group does not recommend that volunteers (with the exception of board members) take the CCAT, volunteers play key leadership roles in some organizations. For these organizations, it is appropriate for those volunteers to be included in the organization's assessment process.

I am a newly-formed agency. Is it a good time to apply for a Strengthening Nonprofits grant? When is a good time for a new nonprofit organization to apply for a Strengthening Nonprofits grant?

Agencies should submit a grant application two years after being incorporated to ensure that survey respondents are able to answer the questions in the CCAT.

What does a complete organizational assessment grant application include?

The application is considered complete if all of the questions are answered, the board and leadership staff information is included and the letter signed by your agency’s executive director and board chair acknowledging commitment of the full engagement of the organization to participate in the organizational assessment is included.

What is the deadline for submitting Phase I 2018 Strengthening Nonprofits grant applications? When are Strengthening Nonprofits Phase I grants awarded?

Strengthening Nonprofits Phase I application deadlines will be determined soon. 

Applications must be submitted electronically to the San Antonio Area Foundation no later than midnight CST by the application deadline. All applications must be complete. Phase I applications submitted after the deadline will be held and considered in the next grant cycle.

Is there someone I can get in touch with at the TCC Group if I have questions about purchasing or taking the CCAT?

Yes. Please contact

Strengthening Nonprofits Phase II FAQ's:

Why did the Area Foundation decide to make grants to strengthening their nonprofits?

In 2011, the Area Foundation decided to use a portion of our discretionary dollars for Strengthening Nonprofits. The Area Foundation now makes grants that build the capacity of nonprofit agencies and help them better fulfill their missions. We did this because it aligns with our mission of “helping our donors achieve their charitable goals for the greater benefit of the community.” When we strengthen local nonprofits, we leverage the support our donors provide to the community.

Is the application for funding through the Strengthening Nonprofits initiative different from the Annual Responsive Grants process?


What is the deadline for submitting the 2018 Strengthening Nonprofits grant application?

Strengthening Nonprofits Phase II applications are accepted once a year. Deadline to submit the application will be determined soon.

Applications must be submitted electronically to the San Antonio Area Foundation no later than midnight CST by the application deadline. All applications must be complete. 

SNP Phase II grants are awarded approximately three months after the application deadline.

What does a complete Strengthening Nonprofits Phase II grant application include?

In addition to answering all of the required questions in the General Organization, General Project, Narrative, Board of Directors and Staff Information sections of the application, a complete Strengthening Nonprofits application MUST include the following:

  • Program/Project Budget
  • Financial Summary
  • Audited Financial Statements (If audited financial statements are not available, send balance sheet and statement of revenues/expenses for most recent fiscal year. Do not submit the IRS form 990.)
  • PDF copy of CCAT report
  • Consultant's bid(s), if applicable

Is it possible to speak to someone before submitting an application?

Yes. Please contact Gavin Nichols, director of Grants and Programs at or 210.242.4720. 

Will we be able to save the application prior to submitting?


How are applications submitted to the Area Foundation for review?

All Strengthening Nonprofit applications and required attachments must be submitted electronically. We will not accept faxes or hard copies.

What organizations are eligible to apply for funds to conduct an organizational assessment? What organizations are eligible to apply for funds for capacity building?

There are two types of grant applications available through the Strengthening Nonprofits grantmaking initiative – the Organizational Assessment (Phase I) grant and the Strengthening Nonprofits (Phase II) grant. 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations serving Bexar County and surrounding counties are eligible to apply for the Phase I Organizational Assessment grant. 

501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations serving Bexar and surrounding counties that participate in the CCAT and develop a corresponding plan for strengthening the agency may apply for a Phase II Strengthening Nonprofits grant.

Can a nonprofit organization submit a Strengthening Nonprofits application and an Annual Responsive Grant application?

501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations may submit both a Strengthening Nonprofits application and an Annual Responsive Grant application. However, please note that the applications have different deadlines.

Can universities apply for funding through the Strengthening Nonprofits grantmaking initiative?

Because the initiative is designed to build the capacity of the nonprofit community, it is not a good fit for higher education institutions.

Are nonprofit organizations that provide training and consulting services eligible to apply for this funding? May we apply for funding to provide scholarships to nonprofit agencies seeking our services?

Nonprofit organizations that provide training and consulting services to help strengthen nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for this funding; however, only if the funding is to build their own agency’s capacity. We will award grants to nonprofit agencies that allow them to access training and consulting services.

Is there a minimum or maximum amount of funding that can be requested?

The amount of the organizational assessment grant is $250. This covers the cost to take the CCAT and a small amount to purchase snacks or refreshments to convene your board of directors and leadership staff to review the results. In terms of the SNP Phase II grants, organizations should ask for the amount needed to fund the program, but applicants should keep in mind that the entire funding pool for the SNP process in 2017 was approximately $425,000.

How will we know if the Area Foundation received our application?

When you have submitted an application, you will receive an automated response stating that the Area Foundation has received it.

Does the Area Foundation conduct site visits?

We may conduct site visits or conduct phone calls with the agency if we have questions about the application.

How are funding decisions made for the Strengthening Nonprofits grants?

There are two stages of review. Phase II applications that do not make it through the first stage will be notified approximately four weeks after the deadline. Applicants that remain in the process will be notified according to the schedule.   

The applications are carefully reviewed by our Strengthening Nonprofits Advisory Committee, a diverse group of community volunteers and Area Foundation staff with experience and knowledge of the community’s needs, nonprofit management and sound business practices. 

Following thorough review, the committee will make funding recommendations. Recommendations are submitted to the foundation’s board of directors for final approval. Please note that the Area Foundation maintains a conflict of interest policy.

Our agency has already taken the CCAT. May we submit those results or do we need to apply for funds to conduct another organizational assessment if we are interested in apply for a capacity building grant?

Agencies may submit a CCAT report so long as it is not more than one year old.

Our agency has participated in an organizational assessment already, but it wasn’t the CCAT. May we submit the assessment results along with our Strengthening Nonprofits grant application? Will we be required to apply for and receive a grant to conduct the CCAT?

In order to use the same baseline, we will only accept the CCAT.

Why do I have to submit the CCAT along with my Strengthening Nonprofits grant application? What if I submit an application without submitting the CCAT results?

The purpose is to ensure that the proposed use of funds aligns with an area of need identified in the assessment. 

The assessment results are a required element of the Strengthening Nonprofit application. If you submit an application without including the assessment results, the application will not be considered for funding.

How will the Area Foundation use the results of the CCAT to make funding decisions? Will my request for Strengthening Nonprofits funding be denied if the results indicate that my agency has significant needs?

We will use the results only to ensure that the funding request for capacity building corresponds with a need(s) identified in the CCAT. We will not use the results in a punitive way. 

303 Pearl Parkway, Suite 114
San Antonio, TX 78215

The San Antonio Area Foundation helps donors achieve their charitable goals for the greater benefit of the community.

Contact Information

(210) 225-2243   Email Us

Working With Us

Access My Fund   Board Login

Connect with us