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Project Guidance

*Apply within the application category that represents your organization's primary purpose. Consider first your organization and its mission. Only after confirming eligibility should you then begin to consider your approach for the proposal of your project.*  After you’ve confirmed your organization's eligibility, this guidance will help confirm project eligibility.

In 2023, we've included what Trustees consider ideal projects. These have the strongest alignment to our trust and the vision of original donors Halsey and Phyllis Davis.


Notes for specific applicants

Returning applicants: Repetitive or similar requests from the same organizations are less likely to receive funding, particularly if submitted every two years.


Education projects

In addition to projects submitted by institutions, the Foundation considers projects from other education organizations to be eligible if they meet some or all of the following four criteria: 

  • The organization works directly with schools.
  • The organization has certified teachers on staff or offers programming approved by certified teachers.
  • The organization has a formal curriculum with educational goals that connect to Maine standards.
  • The organization enhances learning by offering credit or certification.

Ideal education projects

  • Are innovative, inspirational, and based on research
  • Involve educators in both design and execution
  • Strive to make a meaningful impact:
    • Transforming the learning experience or post-academic outlook for specific learners
    • Inspiring systemic change in Maine education


Medical projects

In addition to projects submitted by hospitals, clinics, and medical research nonprofits, the Foundation considers projects from other medical organizations to be eligible if they involve licensed clinicians, will directly and measurably improve healthcare for Maine community members, and are founded in research.

Ideal medical projects

  • Solve systemic medical issues through programs or initiatives backed by evidence. The project should be scalable, replicable and ultimately sustainable independent of grant funding
  • Improve the quality and/or reduce the cost of delivering and/or managing care


Cultural/Arts projects

The Foundation seeks Cultural/Arts Projects that will create an engaging and/or informative cultural/arts experience for Maine community members, or preserve important cultural and historic elements of Maine in a manner that reflects best practice.

Cultural/Arts proposal budgets should include multiple funding sources.

Ideal cultural/arts projects

  • Are unique and not ongoing
  • Increase/expand access to year-round residents of Maine
  • Support an organization's strategic goals as defined in a strategic plan
  • Include multiple funding sources


Pilots encouraged

Requests to fund new positions, programs, or initiatives, are welcomed. Our application will ask you to reflect on financial sustainability i.e. your plans to fund the initiative beyond your Davis Grant.


Project budget

Strong project budgets:

  • Focus on project-unique costs vs the costs of the organization to operate (including % of overhead)
  • Salaries/wages/benefits are limited to project specific roles. 
  • Indicate exactly what is being asked of Davis Family Foundation to fund
  • Provide details of additional project funding including source, amount, and status (received, committed, requested) to date

Discouraged project expenses:

  • General operating requests
  • Percentage of overhead including but not limited to general administration, rent and executive salary. All costs should be project-specific. 
  • Budgets that reflect the request is similar/repetitive to past requests
  • Shortfalls
  • Re-granting projects
  • Multi-year grants
  • Scholarships
  • Endowments

Prohibited expenses (application will be declined):

  • Religious programs/projects
  • Annual giving campaigns
  • Deficit reduction
  • Fellowships
  • Loans 


Grant request size

Grant awards have varied widely, depending on the organization, the need, and other applications received in a given cycle. Trustees may issue partial, restricted, or conditional grants. Organizations should feel encouraged to approach our Foundation with innovative applications, and these may be smaller or larger than past projects.


Next Steps

If you have questions, please visit our FAQ or contact the Davis Family Foundation staff.

Once you have confirmed your organization and project align with Foundation priorities, please proceed to the Application Instructions page.