Application FAQ’s

Important announcement regarding the 2020 grant cycle:

In light of the current COVID-19 crisis, the trustees have recently made direct grants to key Maine food and poverty relief organizations. They have also voted to suspend the Trust’s regular grantmaking program for 2020.

In its place, the Trust will accept proposals for General Operating Support from organizations that have received at least two Morton-Kelly grants over the past five years. This, we hope, will allow our longstanding nonprofit partners maximum flexibility to manage their organizations during the current economic crisis. Applications will be accepted electronically starting on August 14. We will observe our usual October 1 application deadline and anticipate decisions in December.

Details will be made available on this website in late July or early August.

We look forward to restoring our general grant program and again welcoming new applicant organizations in the future.

What types of organizations are eligible for grants?

All grant applicants must be eligible to accept tax-deductible donations as outlined in Section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code. This includes 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt organizations, public schools, public agencies or Indian tribal governments (and their political subdivisions) recognized by the Department of the Interior. The Trust does not make grants to individuals.

What types of projects does the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust consider?

The Trust will consider grants for public programming, capital expenses, and in some circumstances, operating support.

To assist applicants, the directors of the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust have identified the following areas of interest with a focus on serving individuals and communities in the State of Maine:

Educational programs, that provide participants with access to resources both inside and outside of the traditional classroom.  The trustees are  especially interested in supporting under-served populations and have emphasized youth and immigrant leadership programs as well as programs aimed at increasing economic independence.

Cultural resources, projects in organizations that serve as or provide statewide or community cultural resources. The Trust welcomes projects that strengthen or improve programming in Maine public libraries, museums, arts and cultural organizations.  Projects that expand organizational capacity are encouraged.

Historic preservation projects, for restoration and conservation of significant historic structures (National Register listed, community landmark or similar). For those projects, priority for funding will go to structural improvements and building systems (such as electrical service) rather than maintenance, painting or short-term repairs.  Applicants in this category should provide a letter indicating that the Maine Historic Preservation Commission is aware of the project, and that work is being conducted to appropriate preservation standards.

Applicants should demonstrate clear project planning as well as fiscal and fundraising capacity necessary to complete the proposed work beyond the amount funded by a Morton-Kelly grant.

Environmental initiatives, with priority given to programs that engage and educate young people in natural sciences as well as direct support for the preservation and protection of natural resources.  For projects involving land purchase or improvement, the Morton-Kelly Trust will prioritize support for acquisitions that have specific ecological, habitat, aesthetic or community value.  Applicants should demonstrate the fiscal and fundraising capacity  to complete the proposed work beyond the amount funded by a Morton-Kelly grant.

What is a typical grant size?

Generally, grants range in size from $5,000 to $20,000 depending upon the size of the organization or project. The Directors may use their discretion from time to time to make awards outside of that range.

Are there any special considerations?

  • Organizations are encouraged to partner and collaborate with others where there is an overlapping mission or geography.
  • Applicants that demonstrate how they are supporting or serving a need in their community are more likely to be funded.
  • Priority may be given to those applicants that serve rural areas where access to funding is less available.
  • Historic preservation applicants are encouraged to include a letter of support from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

Are there any restrictions?

  • Generally, the Trust does not provide multi-year grants but applicants may be considered for up to two consecutive years. Applicants who have had two consecutive grants are welcome to reapply after waiting for at least one grant cycle.
  • The Trust generally does not fund endowments or annual campaigns.
  • The Trust does not fund projects focused on political advocacy.
  • The following organizations are not encouraged to submit requests:
    • National or regional organizations based outside of Maine, except in cases where a project is being conducted entirely within the state;
    • Organizations that provide medical services, operate medical research facilities or focus on a particular disease or condition;
    • Organizations that are primarily social service providers;
    • Organizations that mostly serve non-resident audiences or focus on providing professional development.

How do I apply for a grant?

Please click here to view our application instructions.