This information is related to the November 2019 grant cycle only.


What is the approval process?

In general, there are three steps to the approval process, as described below. All applicants will be notified of the status of their request at the conclusion of each phase.  

Presently, the Plough Foundation awards grants quarterly to nonprofit organizations in Memphis and Shelby County.  The Foundation will conclude its regular, quarterly grantmaking activities following the November 2019 Board Meeting. 


Step 1: Concept Letter

A brief Concept Letter (1200 words or less) should be submitted through the Foundation's website. To access the Concept Letter portal, applicants will answer the qualifying questions and then create login credentials. The Concept Letter should explain the specific project for which funds are needed and the results anticipated if the funding is received.  While not required, applicants can provide the amount requested if that information is available. 

Concept Letters will be reviewed and either declined or approved for additional consideration. If declined, applicants are usually notified via letter sent to the mailing address listed on the application.

For consideration at the November 2019 meeting, organizations may submit a Concept Letter no later than September 15, 2019.

Step 2: Grant Application

Organizations whose projects interest the Foundation will be invited to submit a full application. 

Full grant applications are also submitted online.  Staff will grant access to the full application once an organization moves to this stage.  Applicants are not asked to complete the full application in a single sitting.  It is possible to save and return to the application while it is in progress.  In addition to a more complete description of the request, applicants will be asked to upload documents such as Form 990 tax returns, a project budget, financial statements, annual audits, and supporting materials.

After the receipt of the full application, some or all of the following steps will be completed: staff & executive committee review, an interview with the applicant including a representative of the board and individuals who would play a significant role in the project, and a site visit. Review of the full application can be expected to take from four to six weeks.

Step 3: Consideration and Approval of Application

Select applications are forwarded to the Trustees for study prior to the quarterly meeting. The Board must approve any grants to be funded by the Foundation. Generally, applicants will be notified of their grant request status within 24 hours of the completion of the Board of Trustees’ meeting.