Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to contact the Foundation prior to submitting a Letter of Inquiry?

No, you do not need to discuss your proposal with staff before submitting a Letter of Inquiry (LOI).

How soon after applying can I expect a response from the Foundation?

Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) are reviewed at the first and third quarterly Board of Directors meetings, generally held in March and September. The Foundation will review all inquiries and provide an emailed response within two weeks following the Board meeting at which your LOI is reviewed – either a denial, a request for further information, or an invitation to submit a full grant proposal. Only those applicants who have received a favorable response to their LOI will be able to access the application to submit a full grant proposal. Full proposals are reviewed at the second and fourth quarterly Board meetings (generally held in June and December).

Does the Foundation have a specific geographic focus?

The Foundation funds organizations with programs that serve the communities of Bexar and Travis counties in Central Texas. Proposals from organizations working in other areas of Texas, the United States, or internationally are by invitation-only.

Note that under our environmental priority area, the Foundation focuses on the Edwards Plateau, the Gulf Coast, and the Trans Pecos regions of Texas. We also consider requests from conservation organizations working statewide in the areas of education and public policy. Proposals from environmental organizations working nationally or internationally are by invitation-only.

Does the Foundation fund general operating expenses?

Yes – the Foundation considers grants for the following expenses: capital campaign, endowment, program, capacity building, or unrestricted operating expenses.

What is the Foundation’s average grant size?

The Foundation’s average grant size is around $10,000, although the Foundation may choose to fund organizations at lower or significantly higher levels. The Foundation may choose to spread larger grants over multiple years, and its largest grants have primarily been to organizations with which the Foundation has an existing relationship.

Is there an application deadline?

Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) must be received by February 15 and August 15 to be considered at the first and third quarterly Board of Directors meetings, respectively (generally held in March and September). The LOI form is posted online 4-6 weeks in advance of the submission deadline.

If my application is declined, am I eligible to apply again?

Organizations are eligible to apply to the Shield-Ayres Foundation once in a twelve-month period, regardless of the approval status of the organization’s last application.

Does the Foundation fund multi-year requests?

The Foundation will consider multi-year commitments of up to three years. In order to be considered for multi-year funding, the case for multi-year funding should be made clearly in the proposal. The Foundation typically will not consider multi-year funding for organizations that the Foundation is funding for the first time.

Does the Foundation have a policy regarding consecutive year funding?

Organizations are eligible to receive grants from the Shield-Ayres Foundation for up to three consecutive years, after which they are required to wait 24 months following their most recent application before applying to the Foundation again.

For example: An organization that received its third consecutive year of funding in our fall 2022 grant cycle would next be eligible to apply in the fall 2024 grant cycle (skipping the fall 2023 cycle). If the third year of funding occurred during our spring 2023 cycle, applicants must wait until spring 2025 to reapply (skipping spring 2024).

What are the Foundation’s expectations after a grant is awarded?

Grantees that receive funding from the Foundation will be required to submit a brief report to the Foundation approximately ten months following the initial grant payment. If a grant is payable over more than one year, this report will be due before the next payment is made. We use an online form, similar to the LOI and application forms. You can access and submit the form via the Foundation's online grant management system.

Does the Foundation have a policy regarding recognition for grants awarded?

The Foundation desires that all resources be dedicated to furthering the charitable endeavors of our grantees. The Foundation does not seek to be recognized with certificates, plaques, or similar mementos. Generally, in any written materials published by your organization, you are free to identify the Shield-Ayres Foundation as a contributor to this effort. The Foundation reserves the right to review and approve in advance all written or spoken public announcements or signage that use the Foundation's name or logo. Please submit in writing your announcement for our approval via email: [email protected].