Writing Your Letter of Inquiry (LOI)

The Letter of Inquiry, or LOI, is our introduction to your organization and proposal. This is a short form, requiring contact information, a brief description of your organization, a description of your project, some fundraising information, and a budget. It should take about an hour. Your invitation to submit a full application is based on your LOI, therefore your project plans must be finalized before you approach us for funding. Changes to your proposal between an LOI being approved and the full application submittal are not accepted. Please keep in mind that the project description submitted with your LOI will stay with your request through the entire process. When the Board sees a summary of your application (if invited) the LOI description will be included.

1. Create an account and/or log in.

If you are new to our system, create an account on our online system.

If you have applied before, you can log into our system with the original email address and password you used last time. If you do not have these, call 503-879-1637, or contact us and we can transfer the account or reset the password.

2. Complete the eligibility quiz.

The next step is a brief eligibility quiz with the following questions:

  • Does your request benefit an individual(s) through a scholarship or loan?
  • Is your project a fundraising event, short term conference or event?
  • Are you requesting multi-year funding?
  • Is the application agency a school district or individual school located OUTSIDE of Polk or Yamhill Counties?
  • If your organization has received funding from SMCF in the past, did you submit your final report and was it approved by SMCF staff? (If you are a first time applicant, please answer "yes" to this question)

If your answer to any of the first 4 questions is "Yes", you may not be eligible for our funding. If your answer to #5 is "No", you may not be eligible for funding. Please read the questions carefully. If you are given a message that says you are not eligible, and you feel it is an error, please call. If you think you answered a question incorrectly, you will have to clear your browser cookies and start over. The system will remember your "incorrect" answer until the cookies are cleared.

3. Complete and submit your LOI.

The Letter of Inquiry form is short and asks for contact information, a brief description of your organization, and the proposal. There is a budget template that you will need to download, complete, and upload back to the LOI. Please do not alter the general formats of our templates. We can accept them as .pdf, MS Word, or MS Excel documents. Once completed, you will submit the form. You will receive confirmation that is has been submitted.

4. Wait for Board/Staff Decision.

If you are applying for a large grant, your LOI will be vetted by the Board of Trustees, who will decide who is invited to submit a full application. You will be notified within a few weeks of the deadline whether or not you are moving to the next stage. Small grant LOI's are reviewed by staff, and applicants are notified of their status within a few days of the deadline.

5. Plan for next grant cycle.

If your LOI is declined, you may reapply with the same project as soon as the next deadline.