The Grantmaking Process

11, 12

This lesson briefly explains the process a group goes through as they deliberate and decide upon which applicant organizations will receive grant awards.

PrintThree or more meetings throughout the grant cycle

Youth will know and be able to do:

  • identify key ideas of a mission statement
  • distinguish grant styles, grant types, and grant strategy
  • determine the questions to ask when reviewing a grant application
  • prepare, organize, and carry out site visits to youth serving nonprofits that applied for grants and were selected as finalists by the class
  • make responsible decisions on which grant requests should be funded

Note: In Lesson 1 (Getting Ready) of this course, we learn how Kentucky Country Day students in the "Hands On Philanthropy" class become Board members responsible for a donor advised fund (called the Artemis Fund) held at the Louisville Community Foundation. As members, the students decide which applicant organizations will receive grants from their fund. This lesson briefly explains the process the class goes through as they deliberate and decide upon which applicant organizations will receive grant awards.

  • A grant application form developed for nonprofits to apply for grants from your group. If you are working with your local community foundation, it will likely have a standard form that can be adapted by you or your youth. 
  • A grant review youth feedback form (in Word or a Google document) that can be used to gather and share participants’ thoughts as they review applications. 
Teacher Preparation 

Each year prior to the start of the semester, the grant opportunity is shared through different media outlets in the community to encourage local youth serving organizations to apply (KCD typically receives 30-40 applications). Information about how to apply (including access to the grant application) is shared. If you are working with your local Community Foundation, the grant opportunity may be shared with the community through it. 


grantmaking, grant review, community foundation, limited resources, site visit, decision-making, mission, effectiveness


  1. Prior to grant review sessions, help youth understand the following:

    • grant styles, types, and strategy
    • the organization, communication and character needed to run an effective nonprofit organization
    • the structure and importance of a mission statement. 
  2. Early in the grant cycle, give youth an example application and review it together as a group. Go through the types of questions that are important to ask when reviewing grant applications.

  3. Have youth complete a Motivation Style for Learning survey. This will provide information on each participant as you prepare to separate them into groups; use the survey results in order to get a mixture of thoughts and opinions in the groups.  

  4. Split the overall group into teams to review grant applications, paying attention to diversity in each group.

  5. Now you are ready for  groups to research and review grant applications and to present their findings to the class. This will take place over the course of several meetings.

  6. The group votes on which grant applications are “finalists.” 

  7. Select a participant to be responsible for communication with the youth serving organizations, including contacting the finalists and sending rejection letters to those that were not selected after the group reviews and votes on grant applications. 

  8. Plan site visits to the finalist organizations. The facilitator may coordinate the site visits or guide youth as they coordinate. Visits can take up to one full school day, depending on organizations’ locations and planned activities. 

    Coordination includes determining the date/time of the visits with approval of school staff, getting permission slips from parents, recruiting or scheduling a bus driver, and preparing for the site visits. The site visit date(s) are communicated to the school(s) as soon as they are confirmed.

  9. After the visits, students review all the information gathered and vote on which organization will be awarded the grant and receive the funds.

    (The amount to be distributed is determined at the start of the class semester, using a summary/financial report from the Community Foundation).