As with all grant-making organizations, the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation follows a standardized process when issuing grants. As many people and organizations that apply for grants from the foundation are first-time applicants and are not familiar with such a process, we have prepared the below overview of this process for you. Please keep in mind that this is a general overview and does not include every detail of the process. Understanding this procedure before you apply for a grant from us will increase the chances that your grant application is successful and will reduce your administrative workload if you do receive a grant. The steps that you should follow are listed below.
- First, you should develop a basic concept for your project in advance. The concept behind the grant should be as detailed as possible and conform with the foundation’s funding guidelines and mission: to promote relations between the people of the United States and the people of Berlin. It may not be commercial in nature. You must also make a detailed financial plan in which you list your expected expenses and explain which of these expenses you would like the foundation to pay for. You should make this concept as detailed as possible, but may not start implementing the project before applying for your grant. Projects that have already been started are not eligible for funding.
- Next, you complete the foundation’s grant application form. Be sure to complete every section of the form, include a detailed financial plan, and sign the form. Take care that you are truthful, complete and accurate, as everything stated in the application will become binding for you if your grant is approved. Then send it to us at least four weeks before the next board meeting and well in advance of the starting date of your project. You may send the form by e-mail (scan or fax the signature page) or regular mail (be sure to include 10 hard copies). The deadline to submit applications can be found on the foundation’s website. The application is not considered submitted until it has been signed.
- After we receive your application, the foundation staff may have clarification questions or improvement suggestions for you. It therefore pays to not wait until the last minute to submit your application, and to be available by telephone in the days after you submit the application. If your application is complete, you will receive a receipt confirmation from us that includes a project number. If you do not hear from us, please follow up as applications can be delayed in the mail or can end up in spam filters.
- Assuming your application is submitted on time, the foundation’s executive board will review your application at its next meeting. The staff of the foundation do not decide on your grant application. For time reasons, applicants are not permitted to attend board meetings or speak before the board. The board can make one of three decisions, by majority vote: It can approve your application in full, approve it with restrictions (e.g. limit funding for certain expenses or make the receipt of the grant conditional upon certain activities) or reject it. Please be aware that a grant can be rejected for many reasons (unfeasability of the project, non-conformance with the foundation charter, a lack of available funds for the project time frame, to name just a few) and that the board does not give specific reasons for its decision.
- If the board approves your grant in full or with restrictions, you will be sent a grant contract between you and the foundation that lays out your legal obligations as a grant recipient. In particular, the contract requires you to stick to the grant proposal that you submitted and to file a finanical report. Sign the contract and return it to us if you agree to the obligations. You can, of course, refuse to sign the contract and withdraw your application at this time.
- When you are ready, you let the foundation know that you would like to take reciept of the grant funds. They will then be sent to the bank account specified in your application by wire transfer.
- You then implement your project. Please be sure to keep all receipts for expenses incurred during the project. This is extremely important and you will not be able to file your project report without them.
- After your project is over, write your project report, including an account of how the project went, a list of participants and/or program, and a detailed listing of your expenses by category (using the categories specified in your grant application) with original receipts for every expense funded by the foundation. In particular, the financial part of the report is extremely important. We strongly suggest writing your report immediately upon completion of the project, as it is much easier to do so when everything is still fresh in your mind. Weeks later it may be difficult to remember specific events or locate misplaced receipts. You must submit the financial report no later than two months after the completion of your project. Failure to submit a financial report will preclude you from receiving more funding in the future and you may be asked to repay the grant in full. Instructions on writing a report are here; an excel form that you can use for the financial part of the report is available here.
- If you have any grant money left over after the end of your project, you must return these in full to the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation. Once this is done, your obligations according to the grant contract are fulfilled and the grant process is formally concluded.