The Nathan Cummings Foundation



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Does the Foundation have application deadlines for Letters of Inquiry (LOIs)?

There are no deadlines for Letters of Inquiry—LOIs are accepted on a rolling basis and are reviewed by NCF staff within 60 days.


What happens after I submit an LOI?

After submitting your LOI you will receive an acknowledgement email. We will contact you within 60 days with a decision. If you are asked to follow-up with a full application, our staff will be in contact with you about how to proceed.


What should I do if I sent in an LOI and I haven't heard back?

If it has been less than 60 days since you submitted your LOI, please be patient. If it has been more than 60 days, please email us at loi@nathancummings.org.


Can I apply if my organization is not a nonprofit?

No. Only nonprofit organizations may apply for funding.


Can I apply through a fiscal sponsor?

Yes. If you are not a tax-exempt organization recognized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, you may apply through a fiscal sponsor. The fiscal sponsor must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has a formal relationship with the organization working on the project. Please note, in such cases the grant goes to the fiscal sponsor directly, and the fiscal sponsor is responsible for the proper expenditure of funds and all reporting requirements.


What is a Fiscal Sponsor?

A fiscal sponsor, also referred to as an intermediary organization, umbrella organization or incubator, provides programmatic, administrative and fiscal assistance to fledgling nonprofit groups, coalitions, and projects and assumes full legal, administrative and fiscal responsibility for the project and reporting to funders. The fiscal sponsor considers the proposed activities to be a project of its organization, not a separate entity. The fiscal sponsor is the applicant and potential grantee of record and must provide all application documents and grantee reports.


What types of programs are not eligible for funding?

  • Academic scholarships
  • Sponsorships, fundraising events, or dinners
  • Projects addressing specific diseases
  • Social services or direct services
  • Capital campaigns, building campaigns, or endowment funds
  • Holocaust or history-based projects
  • Jewish, Hebrew, or arts education
  • Projects addressing K-12 or higher education programs
  • Congregations/Churches
  • 501(c)(4) organizations
    • A 501(c)(4) is also a tax-exempt organization, but with the purpose to promote “the common good and general welfare of the community.” 501(c)(4) organizations can engage in unlimited lobbying so long as it pertains to the organization's mission.
    • Types of 501(c)(4) organizations: 
      1. Social welfare organizations: Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, and  
      2. Local associations of employees: the membership of which is limited to the employees of designated person(s) in a particular municipality, and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.
  • Individuals
    • Note: The Nathan Cummings Foundation supports individual applicants through the Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowship Program, for more information click here.


Can I schedule a meeting with Foundation staff before I submit an LOI?

NCF does not schedule exploratory meetings with applicants prior to their submitting an LOI. The best way to introduce us to your project or organization is to send an LOI so that we may determine if it is in line with the programs and focus of the Foundation.


Can an organization request funding for a project that was previously declined?

Yes; however, NCF requires applicants wait at least 12 months after the previous request was declined before submitting a new LOI.