Oh, deadlines. They have a tendency to sneak up on us. Whether it’s Tax Day or a stack of Kohl’s Cash about to expire in your wallet, we are all familiar with that “is it really already that day?” feeling.

Here at the Community Foundation, we have a list of deadlines posted near Katie’s computer that gets longer every year. With over 200 funds granting over $2,000,000 each year, it seems like some batch of applications is in process at all times.

But when it comes to making grants around here, everything pales in comparison to the annual Community Grants Program. If you aren’t familiar with this program, this is the one time per year any nonprofit serving the citizens of Chemung and Southeastern Steuben counties is welcome to apply. This “all call” isn’t restricted to one kind of program, like youth.

(You can learn more by clicking here.)

We understand that there is a fair amount of turnover among the program staff writing these applications, so we try hard to have a predictable set of deadlines that nonprofit teams can etch in stone on their annual planning calendar.


These dates are September 1 to send us your letter of intent and September 15 for the complete application. No matter what, we stick with September 1 and 15.

Five years out of seven (or something like that… I know leap-years complicate the picture every four years) these dates land on a weekday. But every so often, they both fall on a Saturday or Sunday, as they did in 2019.

We understand this is frustrating for some grant seekers. No one likes the idea of hitting submit at 5:29 p.m. on a Sunday evening. (This is prime “making dinner and choosing a Hallmark movie to watch” time.) Fortunately, the deadline is just the LAST chance you have to submit. Something that can get lost in the rush of daily life is perhaps the most important date of all: JULY 1.

On the stroke of midnight on July 1, the grant portal for the new Community Grants cycle springs to life. Grant seekers are welcome to submit a letter of intent immediately, though Sara is an early riser so she is guaranteed to be sound asleep at 12:01. However, if you have a pretty solid idea about what your program needs, you can enter those few sentences knowing you have over two months ahead to submit the full application. For those who like to celebrate Labor Day with a true day off, you can even set your own internal deadline for the full application before that well-loved three-day-weekend.

Really, it is up to you. September 1 and 15 are just cut-offs in our system to ensure a well-managed and fair process. They aren’t intended to create stress for the already overworked grant writers in our community or to force anyone to work on a Sunday. We delight in receiving submissions earlier! Anything that arrives ahead of the rush gets even more time, which translates to more attention.

So please scroll ahead in your calendar to July 2020 and make a note of July 1. We promise that you will thank us on Tuesday, September 1 when you are making plans for Labor Day 2020!