Photo by Catherine Ridley
Step 1

Grantseeker Preparation

The Foundation works in three areas (health, eductaion, and the environment) and our board has developed priorities for each. For more information about these priorities, see the What We Do page. Also, for an understanding of how our Board translates priorities into funding decisions, review our Grant History. Once you've reviewed this website, and believe we may be a potential fit for your work, we encourage you to contact the Foundation by phone (404-574-2970) or email Rachel Sprecher ( to have an introductory conversation before submitting a Letter of Inquiry (LOI). During this initial conversation, we will learn more about your work, help you better understand our process, and determine if your request is a promising fit. 

The Foundation also offers monthly general information sessions for anyone interested in learning more about the Foundation. During an hour-long Zoom, Dobbs Foundation staff will be available to connect, answer questions, and talk about the grant-seeking/grant-making process. Information sessions are offered every month. Registration is required to participate.  If interested, please register here and a calendar invitation with a Zoom link will be emailed to you. If you have questions, please contact Rachel Sprecher, Relationships and Operations Manager. 


Step 2

Submit a Letter of Inquiry

After the conversation, if we’ve confirmed that your request represents a good fit, you’ll be encouraged to submit a Letter of Inquiry via the portal link below.  Our board reviews every LOI on file in the context of program committee and board meetings (typically held in February, June and October). We are looking for proposals that are aligned with programmatic priorities and present a compelling case for impact.  Our group has shown itself open to a range of organizations – from start-ups to well established non-profits, both large and small. Please see the calendar below for our LOI submission deadlines. 

Submit your LOI and supporting documents


Step 3

From Letter of Inquiry to Application

After reviewing all LOIs in file, trustees typically identify 8 - 10 proposals they would like to consider for funding during the following quarter. They look for proposals that are most aligned with programmatic priorities and present a compelling case for impact. Trustees act on each LOI in one of three ways:

  • The Foundation may decide to consider an application for funding during the upcoming cycle
  • The Foundation may defer an LOI. If the LOI is deferred it will be reviewed again in three months, provided the circumstances of the request remain valid.  Each LOI is eligible for review for up to three cycles.  If not selected after three cycles, an LOI will be automatically declined.
  • The LOI may be declined due to a lack of fit with guidelines and/or priorities.

Following each meeting, the Foundation will communicate in writing with grantseekers regarding LOI status and next steps.


Step 4

Application Submission

If your LOI is selected for consideration, you will receive an emailed invitation to apply. This email will include an application form, a request for supporting documents, and instructions for submitting information (including the deadline). The information provided in the application will serve as the foundation of our review process.  We will supplement understanding by reviewing your website, some social media, and recent tax returns made available by Candid. 

Once your materials have been received, Foundation staff will schedule and conduct a site visit or Zoom meeting as part of the review process prior to the Trustees meeting. When we meet, our hope is to use what we have learned as a starting place for conversation that will help us develop a working relationship both of us can trust – initially in the service of our grant review process but ultimately in support of an on-going community partnership.  Throughout the conversation, your questions are welcome.

We will use what we learn from the review process to develop a one-page report to our board about your request.  We compile these reports within a larger set of board materials which are distributed to trustees electronically about ten days before their meeting (again, typically held in February, June and October). During the Board meeting, trustees review each request individually.  We begin by presenting an overview, board members ask clarifying questions, and discussion follows.  While a formal vote is taken for each request, our board tends to work by consensus.

While the profile of a request that receives funding varies, here are some observations about successful requests:

  • There is strong alignment between the request and our focus areas and priorities;
  • The request reflects and serves an organization’s mission and strategy;
  • For an organization that doesn’t have a strategic plan, the proposed work reflects a functional plan that can be articulated by the organization’s leadership;
  • There is evidence of effective leadership by staff and board;
  • Innovation that aims for greater impact, improved organizational capacity, or systemic change is especially compelling;
  • While organizations with smaller footprints get funded, scale or its potential is attractive;
  • An awareness of community partners doing similar and related work is important and collaboration is better (if appropriate to the circumstances);
  • An organization’s financial integrity, stability, and sustainability are all important; the first is a must, the second is desirable, and the third should be a viable possibility.
  • That said, financial ups and downs are realities in the non-profit sector so a history of difficulty or the presence of current challenges are not deal-breakers;
  • The same is true for other aspects of an organization’s work – from operations to staffing to board relations or development, there are no “perfect” or fully actualized organizations; with this in mind, we especially value transparency.  If you help us understand what you’re up against and what you’re trying to do more effectively, perhaps we can help.
  • Finally, with the exception of endowment requests, the Foundation provides all types of support – operating, project, program, capacity building, and capital.  In addition, we’re in the process of adding impact investments to our work.


Step 5

Grant Decisions: Notifications, Grant Agreements, Payment, & Reporting



In most cases, grant applicants will be contacted by phone within 24 hours of the Trustee meeting with information about action taken by the Board of Trustees.

If your grant has been approved, we will confirm the grant via e-mail within 5 business days.  The e-mail will include terms of the grant and a request for wire instructions for transferring funds.  Funds are typically wired within 7 business days once we receive your information, and we will alert you to when you should expect the wire.

If you have received a multi-year grant, you will be asked to submit an interim report on the anniversary of the grant.  We will be especially interested in how your work is progressing relative to the objectives and anticipated outcomes outlined in your application. But we’d also like to know how you, the organization, and your work is going generally – highs and lows.  If there have been bumps in the road, and there usually are, tell us about them and perhaps we can help.

At the end of the grant term, we would like to receive a final report.  We would be glad to receive a report prepared for other audiences provided it speaks to the work funded by the Foundation with some specificity. If not already addressed in such a report, we’ll ask you to include an assessment of the extent to which the work funded achieved its objectives and anticipated outcomes.  Likewise, we would like to hear about unexpected challenges or circumstances and how you responded. Once we’ve received your report, we will schedule a 30 minute Zoom conversation to debrief if needed. 

We encourage and hope grantees will stay in touch after the grant has closed. We love to hear from grantees with updates about work in which we have invested. Please feel free to contact the Foundation at any time with these updates.

Grantmaking Calendar

 February CycleJune CycleOctober Cycle
Final Day to submit Letter of Inquiry January 1st May 1st September 1st
Notification of invitation to submit full proposal March 1st July 1st November 1st
Final Day to submit full proposal Late March Late July Late November
Board Meeting Late June Late October Late February
Notification of Grant Award Afternoon of Board Meeting Afternoon of Board Meeting Afternoon of Board Meeting
Payment initiated Approx. 2 weeks after Board Meeting Approx. 2 weeks after Board Meeting Approx. 2 weeks after Board Meeting

Additional Information

Grant applicants must be classified as a public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. An IRS determination letter certifying this tax status will be required to recieve funding.

The Foundation's grantmaking is focused in Georgia so we welcome inquiries from all parts of the state. The majority of environmental funding is allocated outside metro Atlanta.


The Foundation will not consider funding for special events, performances, or dinners (i.e., sponsorship, tickets and/or tables); booster clubs; churches or religious organizations when the project in question primarily serves members; or requests to retire accumulated debt resulting from operating deficits. The Foundation does not make grants or loans to individuals.

If your LOI or grant request is declined, please wait a minimum of six months before contacting the Foundation about a new submission.  If you receive funding, please wait a minimum of six months after the end of the grant term before contacting the Foundation about a new submission.