Grant approval process

When you establish a fund with County Durham Community Foundation, we guarantee that every time a grant is approved from your fund, each application has been through our strict approval process. This ensures that every single applicant is eligible for your help, and only the most deserving causes are put forward to your fund.

Initial assessment
Each person or group wishing to apply for a grant is first asked to submit basic details of their request for funding. If their request passes our criteria, applicants then go on to complete a comprehensive application form. The form is designed to be straightforward, whilst allowing us to obtain the detailed information we need to make an appropriate decision.

Financial checks
It is vital that we ensure your money is used correctly, by people and organisations with the skills to financially manage the project. Therefore, for group applications, we always investigate whether the group is solvent, and that they do not already have large amounts of their own money, or any deficits that are not being adequately addressed. For individuals, we make sure that their ideas have been costed out appropriately and that they are genuinely in need of financial assistance.

To ensure that the group is well-governed and effective, we insist that they have a set of rules outlining their responsibilities and area of work. We check that they are democratic, legal, and working to help good causes rather than themselves.

We ensure that comprehensive equal opportunities and child protection policies are in place, and you are assured that we have children and vulnerable people’s best interests and welfare at heart. Hopefully, this helps to avoid incidents - but should one occur, we know that the applicants are trained and equipped to deal effectively with the situation.

Other safeguards
In order to safeguard your interests, a range of further compulsory checks are carried out to ascertain that an applicant is genuine and in real need of your support, ensuring that your fund is only used for what it is intended.

Once all of the above stages have been satisfied, the applicants are interviewed by telephone by our assessors who will review their application and explore their ideas in more depth. We look for good ideas and the ability to deliver, not just applicants who are good at filling in forms.

Final decision
You choose how much involvement you have with approving applications to your fund. It may be that you take advantage of our professional expertise and leave us to make the decisions on your behalf, safe in the knowledge that you have set the guidelines. 

However, if you have chosen to be involved in the decision-making process, once the applicant has met our criteria at all the above stages, and we are certain that an applicant is eligible for your support, we would forward the application to you.

Because we always follow these procedures, it means that your money is unlikely to be misused, taking away any distress or embarrassment this might cause you. If you decide to support the applicant (or if you leave the decision in our hands), you can be certain your money is being used in accordance with your wishes, whilst enabling the implementation of genuinely good ideas that will make a real and effective change to the lives of local people.