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FAQ about Community Grants

Giving back. Doing good. Making an impact.

Use the quick links below to find answers to your questions about applying for a Community Grant:
 

Grantmaking cycle and application deadlines
Eligibility
Areas of focus
Types of support and grant amounts
Requesting a grant
General guidelines
Funding process

 

Download the Community Grants Guidelines [PDF]

View the list of 2012 Community Grant recipients [PDF]

Grantmaking cycle and application deadlines

 
Grant Cycle Grant Request Submission Deadline Grant Request Submissions Accepted Decision Date
1

March 1

February 1 – March 1

May 1 
2

September 1

August 1 – September 1

 November 1


GRANT APPLICATIONS may be submitted in the thirty days prior to each deadline using eGrant. If a deadline or decision date listed above occurs on a weekend or holiday the appropriate action will occur on the following business day.

Grants for a project on a particular date should be requested so that a decision can be made prior to the actual date of the program or event.

If you would like to prepare information for a grant request in between grant cycles, please download our list of Alliant Energy Foundation Community Grant Questions [PDF].

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Eligibility

How do I qualify for a grant from the Alliant Energy Foundation?

We provide support to a wide array of non-profit organization within the Alliant Energy service area. Eligible institutions include charitable organizations holding a current Section 501(c)(3) designation letter from the Internal Revenue Service, fully accredited public or private schools and universities, and instruments of a federal, state or local government as provided by Section 170(c)(3) of the Code.

What if my program is located outside the Alliant Energy utility service area?

We place priority on supporting organizations in areas where Alliant Energy has a presence and in communities where Alliant Energy employees live and work.

Non-profit organizations located outside of Alliant Energy's utility service territory but that serve populations in Alliant Energy's areas are also eligible for consideration.

My organization receives a significant amount of funding from the United Way and local, state and federal government. Are we still eligible for funding?

Your organization is eligible for funding, however United Way funding is a consideration in our decisions. The Alliant Energy Foundation contributes more than $500,000 annually to United Way organizations across the company's utility service area, and therefore limits support for United Way member agencies.

I have two projects that I would like the Foundation to support/fund. Can I submit more than one grant proposal for review?

An organization will only be eligible to receive funding once per calendar year. We ask that you only submit one application per cycle.

We received a cash grant from the Alliant Energy Foundation earlier this year. Am I eligible to receive another grant for a different project?

Typically, only one grant will be committed to an organization in a calendar year. For example, if your organization receives a grant anytime in 2013, you are able to apply again in 2014. Some exceptions may be made when an organization hosts multiple divisions or departments, or when the projects target different areas of focus.

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Areas of focus

Will the Alliant Energy Foundation consider a request for capital needs?

No - since 2002, the Foundation has denied funding for capital campaigns and projects (more commonly known as “bricks-and-mortar” projects) in order to direct more resources to projects and organizations that address community needs and benefit a large number of people.

Our board of directors reviews this policy on an annual basis. We also do not provide funding for endowments.

Do you support organizations that are requesting funds for general operating support?

Generally, we prefer to provide grants for specific programs, projects or initiatives in lieu of general operating support.

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Types of support and grant amounts

Do you only provide cash grants?

The Foundation focuses its resources on providing cash grants to qualifying non-profit organizations. We periodically also coordinate in-kind donations and volunteer support from Alliant Energy.

If you have a specific request, please send it to foundation@alliantenergy.com.

What is an appropriate request amount?

There is no standard amount that should be requested. The amount should be based on the program's budget, existing organizational resources, and the forecast for additional funding.

As you determine the amount to be requested, keep in mind that we have limited resources and there are a significant number of needs in all the communities we serve. A request for an amount that is not feasible may eliminate your project from our consideration.

You may find it helpful to review our most recent list of grant awards (which can be found at the top of this page) to get an idea of the size of grants typically awarded for similar projects.

What is the range in size of Alliant Energy Foundation grants?

Our grantmaking process is highly competitive. Due to the volume of requests we receive, our focus areas are broad. Based on the past several years, the majority of our grants have been for $2,500 or less. Grants of $10,000 or more are rare.

We consider many factors, including the specific project, program or initiative to be funded and the organization making the request, to determine funding amounts. Before allocating grants, the Foundation also takes into consideration many aspects of your proposal, including your organization's mission, strategy, reputation, financial health, support from other funding sources, and the proposal's overall budget and projected impact on the community.

Playground Equipment Guidelines:

Playground equipment grants will be awarded only to Alliant Energy communities and will be based on the size of the community. Grant amount is up to $1,500.

Because funds are limited, we need to exclude private and daycare facilities from receiving playground equipment grants. The matching gift program was expanded to allow for employee interest in funding private school's initiatives.

Can we apply for free or reduced rates on electric or natural-gas service for our non-profit organization's office or facility?

No - regulations that govern the operation of charitable foundations like the Alliant Energy Foundation prohibit self-dealing activities. As such, we cannot provide support for programs that provide assistance with energy costs or energy-related projects.

Ineligible projects include: energy-efficiency building upgrades, new or improved lighting fixtures and equipment, holiday light displays and other projects that might provide a benefit to Alliant Energy or its utility subsidiaries.

As a general rule, we prefer to provide grants to support specific programs, projects or initiatives in lieu of general operating support.

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Requesting a grant

Do you accept applications online?

The Alliant Energy Foundation utilizes an on-line grant request process. There are now three Community Grants cycles per year with deadlines on January 15, May 15 and September 15. If a deadline or decision date is on a weekend or holiday, the appropriate action will occur on the following business day.

Our online program, eGrant, will be open for one month prior to each of these deadlines so please check back for information on how to access the link for Community Grant submission.

If the website is only open at certain times, how can I prepare a grant request in advance?

You may review a list of the questions we ask on our grant application here: Community Grant Request Questions [PDF].

Will you still accept paper application forms?

No. We only accept grant applications through eGrant.

There is not sufficient space in eGrant to answer the questions. What should I do?

We encourage you to be as brief and concise as possible when completing your request. Please keep in mind that each "character" you are allowed in your answer is a space, whether it contains a letter or not. So if you create outlines or bulleted lists in a document and copy and paste it into eGrant, you may run out of space quickly because of all the blank spaces those formats create.

If you have more information you want to share with us, you may include it in either download we request: your Board of Directors list and the budget for your project. However, we ask that you do not include more than a few additional pages.

Should we send the Foundation a copy of our grant request or any additional documentation?

No, we do not need copies of your request. If you have any additional information you would like to provide to us, please scan it along with your project budget or the list of your Board of Directors. We ask that you do not send us anything regarding your grant request in the mail.

What do you mean when you ask for a “complete listing of the organizations officers and board of directors, indicating their affiliations and roles separate from the organization?"

We are interested in knowing the names of your board members as well as what companies or community groups they represent and their responsibilities/titles with that company or group.

What if I miss the deadline for submitting the form?

If you miss the deadline, please call us at 866-769-3779. We will do our best to accommodate you but if we are too far into our review process you will have to wait until the next cycle to submit your request.

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General Guidelines

Only eGrant applications are accepted.

The Alliant Energy Foundation awards grants as detailed.

Grant Cycle Grant Request Submission Deadline Grant Request Submissions Accepted Decision Date
1

March 1

February 1 – March 1

May 1 
2

September 1

August 1 – September 1

 November 1


The eGrant site opens 30 days prior to the grant cycle deadline and must be submitted by the request deadline stated above. As a general rule, requests for funding will not be considered outside of one of the three grantmaking cycles. Grants for a project on a particular date should be requested so that a decision can be made prior to the actual date of the program or event. The Foundation will accept proposals in any of its areas of focus during each cycle.

Priority is given to those projects that:

  • Originate from organizations in areas where Alliant Energy has a presence and in communities where Alliant Energy employees live and work. (Non-profit organizations located outside of Alliant Energy’s utility service territory but that serve populations in Alliant Energy’s areas are also eligible for consideration.)
  • Exhibit community partnerships and funding support from various sources;
  • Meet identified needs and have a measurable impact in the community;
  • Come from organizations that exhibit strong financial management and board commitment;
  • Are sustainable and demonstrate innovative solutions to problems; and/or
  • Have an internal “advocate” or “sponsor” within the Alliant Energy family of companies.

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Funding process

Who makes the funding decisions?

Requests are reviewed by the Foundation staff with input from local employees in the Alliant Energy service areas that are targeted by the organization, project, program or initiative. Local employee panels make funding recommendations.

The Foundation board of directors, which is comprised of executives of Alliant Energy Corporation approves all budgets and any grants of $10,000 or more.

How can I improve my chances of receiving a grant?

You can increase the possibility of receiving a grant and improve the quality of your proposal by carefully reviewing our guidelines and ensuring that your request is complete, well organized, concise, and includes all of the required documents. Incomplete requests will not be considered.

Our non-profit is based in a small community and we are sending the request to your headquarters. How can we be sure that our proposal will receive a fair and thorough review?

To ensure sensitivity to local needs in all Alliant Energy service communities, the Foundation staff works closely with managers and employees who live or work in the area that will benefit from a specific program, project or initiative for which a grant is sought. The local review panels make the funding recommendations.

Administering our grants program from a centralized, headquarters location reduces costs and ensures that maximum resources are available to fund grants.

When will we be notified if we have received a grant?

We expect to make funding decisions according to the timetable outlined for each grantmaking cycle and will notify the contact person identified in the grant request by e-mail.

Will my non-profit receive the amount requested?

Our grantmaking process is highly competitive. Due to the volume of requests we receive, our focus areas are broad. As you determine the amount to be requested, keep in mind that we have limited resources and there are a significant number of needs in all the communities we serve. A request for an amount that is not feasible may eliminate your project from our consideration. You may find it helpful to review our most recent list of grant awards (which can be found at the top of this page) to get an idea of the size of grants typically awarded for similar projects.

Many aspects of your proposal are considered when we make funding decisions. We ask that you be realistic when determining what amount you are requesting from the Foundation and encourage you to provide a rationale for that amount in the proposal letter.

The Foundation receives many more funding requests than it can grant. If it is necessary to deny funding for a worthwhile organization or project, it is not a reflection on the value of the group or its services, but rather on the need to be selective because of limited resources during each grantmaking cycle.

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Brochures and Fact Sheets

Download the Community Grants Guidelines [PDF]

View the list of 2012 Community Grant recipients [PDF]

Download the 2012 Alliant Energy Foundation Report [PDF]