How to Become a Partner

**Voss Foundation’s grant process is currently closed. Please check back for information about the next grant cycle.**

Grant Process Overview

Voss Foundation awards grants based on alignment with our mission, tax requirements, legal compliance, quality of the proposal, and approval by Voss Foundation’s Board of Directors.

To identify and select new partners, Voss Foundation uses a two-step process:

  • Step 1: Completion of a Letter of Inquiry (LOI), which provides an opportunity for Voss Foundation to learn more about your organization, eligibility, and fit as a potential partner.
  • Step 2: Organizations who meet the LOI criteria will be invited to complete a formal grant application.

If you are interested in exploring a partnership, please review the timeline, criteria, and guidelines prior to completing the LOI.

2017 Timeline: LOI + Grant Application

31 May 2017: LOIs are due by 31 May 2017 by 23:59 Eastern Standard Time (GMT-05:00). Late submissions will not be accepted. Incomplete LOIs will be disqualified.

All organizations who submit LOIs will be notified via e-mail about whether or not they will be invited to complete Voss Foundation’s full grant application process once all LOIs have been reviewed. Those organizations who are invited to apply will receive the grant application via e-mail, and will have one month to complete it.

Given the volume of LOIs we receive, we are unable to provide individual feedback on all submissions. If your LOI is not selected, you can request feedback after you receive notification. Requests should be sent to programs@vossfoundation.org.

17 November 2017: Grant applications will be due by 17 November 2017 by 23:59 Eastern Standard Time (GMT-05:00). Late submissions will not be accepted. Incomplete applications will be disqualified.

If supplemental information is necessary, additional time and correspondence may be required. A site visit may also be required before Voss Foundation renders a final funding decision.

Voss Foundation will render final decisions and notify organizations about grants once all applications have been reviewed. Organizations who are awarded funding will receive a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for signature. Funds will not be released without a signed MOU.

Please note that Voss Foundation receives many more requests than we can support in a fiscal year. Although Voss Foundation supports an array of organizations, not all partnerships constitute a strategic fit. As such, if an organization is not invited to complete the grant application, or is invited but is not selected to receive funding, this does not imply that your program and/or the time taken to participate in this application process is not vital or valued.

Eligibility and Guidelines: LOI + Grant Application

Organizations that complete the LOI are more likely to be invited to complete the formal grant application process and receive funding if they:

  • Have a clearly articulated mission and 2 to 5-year action plan
  • Are registered with the local or national government as a nonprofit or charitable organization and/or are recognized by the IRS as 501(c)(3) public charities
  • Are either run by or utilize a large percentage of qualified local staff and workers
  • Have a board of directors or an advisory committee
  • Have experience in the region(s) of Sub-Saharan Africa in which they work
  • Operate in a country that is not currently involved in armed conflict
  • Operate in rural and peri-urban areas (Projects in urban areas, will be considered on a case-by-case basis.)
  • Are able to demonstrate inclusion of local input and a commitment to local priorities in the project design
  • Are able to demonstrate that access to WASH is necessary to achieve their respective missions
  • Implement technologically, culturally, financially, and environmentally appropriate programs
  • Be able to evaluate impact and adjust programs where necessary to achieve results
  • Have been awarded at least one program grant of comparable value to the funding requested from Voss Foundation, and can demonstrate successful implementation of this grant (The comparable grant does not have to be for a WASH initiative.)
  • Have an annual budget that does not exceed $500,000 (Organizations with a budget over $500,000 will be considered on a case-by-case basis.)
  • Can independently track Voss Foundation funding
  • Have a long-term commitment to the region and beneficiary communities
  • Are not requesting funds for “one-off” projects (Voss Foundation prefers to develop long-term partnerships to maximize impact.)

Voss Foundation does not generally support and considers ineligible:

  • Individuals
  • For-profit organizations
  • Private foundations, donor advised funds, or charitable gift funds
  • Start-up funding for the creation of new organizations
  • Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, age, mental or physical ability, national origin, or religion
  • Sectarian or religious organizations or endeavors that are limited to members of one religious group
  • Organizations that are actively engaged in highly controversial issues or use controversial tactics to advocate their position
  • Political campaigns and/or political, legislative, or lobbying organizations
  • Social, labor union, alumni, fraternal or political organizations, or organizations serving a limited constituency, and all related events
  • Capital campaigns or endowments
  • General operating costs that are not project-specific
  • Re-granting (Voss Foundation supports implementing organizations not pass-throughs.)
  • Marketing costs like website development and advertising
  • Costs associated with fundraising events, event sponsorship, or development efforts
  • Travel or organized field trips by groups or individuals
  • Organizations working outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, Voss Foundation’s geographic area of focus
  • Funding requests that fall outside the scope of Voss Foundation’s mission
  • U.S.-based organizations that do not have tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code, or the equivalent
  • Organizations formed outside the U. S. that do not have a charitable equivalency status under the laws and provisions of their respective government

Grant Terms

We determine a grant’s size based on the context. Voss Foundation typically awards grants in the amount of US $10,000 – $100,000. First-time grants typically range from $10,000 – $50,000. Overall project budgets may be larger and incorporate several financial partners. Unless specified, grants should be used within one year from when grant funds are disbursed.

All grants must be related to a specific organizational project and budget. We do not provide general support grants. Grant can be used to fund the portion of operational expenses (or, indirect expenses) that are for the specific project. (This cannot exceed 20% of the total project budget.)

Multi-year projects will be considered, but only funded on a year-to-year basis, i.e. the amount applied for should clearly outline what will be funded in year one, two, three, etc. For multi-year proposals, progress reports will be required prior to distribution of funds for subsequent years.

For the purpose of the LOI, an estimated project cost is sufficient. An itemized budget will be required from all organizations who are invited to apply for funding.


Voss Foundation expects all partners to provide updates throughout the cycle of the grant. In addition, partners are expected to share results, either good or bad, one year after completion. Upon receipt, representatives from Voss Foundation will discuss those results and next steps with your organization. Although we don’t specify the format, results should be clear and measurable.

LOI Instructions

To download the 2017 LOI, click here or on the image at the bottom of this section.

At this time, all LOIs must be completed in English. Please submit your LOI in English.

Please save completed LOIs as a word document not a PDF. Send completed LOIs to programs@vossfoundation.org with “LOI: [name of your organization]” in the subject line. We will only evaluate LOIs that have been sent via this method.

Upon receipt of your application, Voss Foundation team will review your submission and contact your organization. Organizations who meet the LOI criteria will receive further information about the formal grant application.

The majority of correspondence for both steps of the process will be sent from the email address programs@vossfoundation.org. Add this email address to your address book or safe sender list to avoid missed communications regarding your LOI or grant application.



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