Collaborative Proposals + Fiscal Sponsorships

Collaborative proposals

Meyer believes that partnering with organizations, people and communities allows us to collectively identify and address key needs and opportunities.

Collaboration is one of our core values. Nonprofits rely on collaboration as a key strategy. For example

  • In advocacy work, nonprofits create coalitions that increase their influence;
  • Collaboration allows nonprofits to scale their efforts, strengthen their programs or streamline operations;
  • Collaboration allows nonprofits to tackle complex, systemic issues by bringing all stakeholders together to coordinate their efforts to achieve lasting impact. 

We understand that deep collaboration takes significant time and resources and we support these efforts through our grantmaking. 


Collaborative proposal applications

A collaborative grant is a grant that supports a collaborative effort, such as a coalition, that is not a separate organization, but includes multiple partners/organizations carrying out a project/joint effort with agreed upon goals.

Examples of collaborative grants are those in which: 

  • Several partners are working together on a large, joint project and at least two of the partner organizations receive a portion of the grant funds to carry the goals of the proposal;

  • One or more of the partners receive support for planning a joint policy campaign on behalf of the collaborative; or

  • One organization receives funds on behalf of a collaborative to hire staff to coordinate the collaborative.


For collaborative grants we expect that the following elements would be in place and clearly documented: 

  • Collaborative structure and priorities are inclusive and demonstrate equitable approach; 
  • Roles and responsibilities of collaborative partners are clearly defined and demonstrate an equitable approach; and
  • Decision making processes demonstrate an equitable approach.


Typically, the lead organization for the collaborative should submit the application and will directly receive any resulting grant award from Meyer.

If the collaborative is not yet formed and you’d like to explore partnerships, structures, etc., collaborative planning grants are available under “Capacity Building” support.

Read more about Collaboratives in this blog by Healthy Environment portfolio program associate, Mike Phillips.


Fiscal sponsorships

Meyer accepts grant applications from 501(c)(3) public charity fiscal sponsors on behalf of organizations, projects or initiatives that either do not have tax-exempt status or are tax exempt under a different section of the Internal Revenue Code.

Please note the following guidelines for fiscal sponsorship applications:

  • The fiscal sponsor is considered the applicant with the sponsored entity being the “project” that funding is being requested for. That is, most fiscal sponsorships will request project support.
  • Should a grant be awarded, the sponsor organization will execute the grant agreement and will have overall responsibility for monitoring the program and finances for the project, and for submitting interim and/or final reports.
  • Other supplemental materials requested in the application should come from the sponsored project.


Fiscal sponsorship application process

  • Both the sponsored entity and the fiscal sponsor should set up and/or update their profiles in GivingData (read more about our ongoing transition from GrantIS to GivingData).

  • When the sponsored organization submits a request to set up an account, we will ask them to identify who their sponsor is and request a copy of the fiscal sponsorship agreement or MOU between the two organizations.

  • Once the profile is approved and the two organizations are linked, the sponsored project will fill out their application form, but they will not be able to submit their application until after the sponsoring organization has reviewed the application.

  • Either the sponsored project or the fiscal sponsor will need to upload financial information for the fiscal sponsor. Here’s a template you can download and use to provide that information.

  • The fiscal sponsor will submit the application once it has reviewed and approved it.


Frequently asked questions about fiscal sponsorships

What’s the difference between a collaborative and a fiscal sponsorship?

In a collaborative, most or all the partners are doing some work or contributing something to the collaborative (staff, resources, space, etc.) and will likely receive a portion of the Meyer funding if the grant is awarded. In some situations, such as if no members of the collaborative have 501(c)(3) status, the lead member of the collaborative could apply with a fiscal sponsor.

A fiscal sponsorship is an agreement between two organizations—one tax exempt, the other generally not—where the tax-exempt organization provides oversight, financial management, and other administrative services to help support mission-aligned, charitable projects. While the sponsored entity generally does most, if not all, of the work, the fiscal sponsor organization has overall control and is considered the Meyer grantee.  The exempt sponsoring organization may charge a percentage of the project funds as a sponsorship administrative fee, and this may be included in the project budget submitted with a Meyer application as long as the two organizations have agreed to this in writing .

Our organization is a 501(c)(4)/501(c)(3) combo. Do we need to set up a profile for both or can we just apply as the 501(c)(3)?

If the 501(c)(3) entity will be conducting all of the work for the requested project, then only they need to set up an account and apply. If the 501(c)(4) will be doing the work* and using the 501(c)(3) as a fiscal sponsor, then a profile needs to be set up for each entity. In this case, the application should be completed by the (c)(4) but it will ultimately be approved and submitted by the (c)(3) (see the Fiscal Sponsorship Application Process section above).

*(Please remember that Meyer cannot fund the lobbying activity of the (c)(4).)

If you have more questions about this and/or other scenarios, please reach out to us at questions [at]


Our organization just applied for tax-exempt status from the IRS. Can we apply to Meyer?

Organizations that have not yet received their tax-determination letter from the IRS may not apply to Meyer unless they are fiscally sponsored by another, eligible organization.

We don’t have a fiscal sponsor. Will Meyer find one for us?

Meyer cannot arrange fiscal sponsorships for applicants. A good resource to learn more about fiscal sponsorships is the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors.

Does it matter who my fiscal sponsor is?

In order for a fiscal sponsorship arrangement to meet IRS and Meyer guidelines, the sponsoring organization and sponsored entity must have aligned missions, the board of the sponsoring organization must approve of the sponsorship, the sponsoring organization understands what is required and has the capacity to sponsor a project, and in most cases, there will be a fiscal sponsorship agreement or MOU between the two organizations. It is important for these items to be in place in order to ensure that an applicant is not “borrowing” another organization’s tax-exempt status, and to remember that it is the fiscal sponsor who is ultimately responsible for the funds received.

We had a fiscal sponsor but have since received our tax-exempt status. What should we do?

Please grantops [at] (send us) your tax determination letter from the IRS so that we can update your profile.


We applied to/received a grant from Meyer in the past with one fiscal sponsor but now are switching to another fiscal sponsor. What should we do?

Please contact grantops [at] so that we can advise you on how to transfer the grant to the new fiscal sponsor.