Grantmaking | Deaconess Foundation
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What we Fund


Deaconess Foundation helps people in need build careers that sustain them and their families.


We provide grants to 501(c)(3) organizations  in Cuyahoga County that:

  • Help individuals both enter into and advance along a career pathway to a family-sustaining wage
  • Strengthen the workforce development system to benefit people in need.

More information on our strategic framework can be found here.


DF also values being a collaborative partner in philanthropic efforts that strengthen the human services sector in Cuyahoga County. DF maintains the flexibility to lead or participate in efforts that offer:

  • The potential to strengthen multiple human service organizations or the environments in which they function
  • The opportunity for impact beyond what we know we can achieve on our own given our limited resources
  • The possibility of systems impact.

Grantmaking Process


Please note that this process is followed for all applicants, even those who are returning grantees.


Proposal Planning


The grantmaking process starts with what may be a series of conversations between the organization and DF staff. Proposal planning discussions are intended to be substantive conversations through which the Foundation and  the organization can work together to shape a project for consideration. The Foundation will ask that those conversations be reflected in a pre-submission document – containing the draft responses to certain critical grant application questions. Once both the Foundation and applicant are satisfied with the content, a proposal will be invited.


Please note that this process may take some time; it may not always be possible to meet the next upcoming deadline from that point at which the conversations begin.


To begin a conversation with DF, please contact Lissy Rand at or 216/741-4077.


Application Submission


Once a proposal has been invited, the organization will be given an access code that can be used to enter our grants dashboard . If you would like to view the application questions before getting to this point of the process, please feel free to contact Lissy Rand.


Applications are accepted on a quarterly basis, according to the following schedule:




Application Due Date Decision Date
January 15 March 12
April 15 June 4
July 1 August 16
September 30 December 6


Proposal Review


Foundation staff will follow up on applications to learn more. A visit to the organization and/or a conversation with agency leadership and relevant program director(s) may be scheduled. This process allows DF to round out the conversations that developed during the presubmission phase so that we can develop a complete set of materials on which decisions can be based.


These materials go to a small subcommittee of staff and Board leadership for review. This subcommittee prepares a recommendation which serves as a starting place for Board deliberation.


Board Decision


The Charitable Giving Committee, comprised of all the members of DF’s Board, reviews the materials prepared by the staff and makes a funding determination. Applicants are informed of the Board’s decision immediately after the meeting via phone and/or email.


Grant Agreement


The specific terms and conditions of each grant are summarized in a Grant Agreement, which is sent via email to the primary contact for the application. Signed Grant Agreements can be returned to the Foundation office via mail or email. Funds will be released within 2 weeks of receipt of the signed Grant Agreement.


Grant Follow-Up 


DF staff makes a follow-up visit roughly 6 months after the grant is made. A written report using a specific form will be required 12 months after the grant award or at the same time as the next request to DF, whichever comes first. Grant Follow-Up Forms are specific to each grantee, and are initially sent out with the Grant Agreement. The Form can also be downloaded from the Grants Dashboard.


Mission Outreach Fund


The process for the Mission Outreach Fund is different, and is summarized here.