McCune Charitable Foundation: Open Application Cycle for 2022 Funding

Whew, what a year it’s been! We hope the past 12 – 18 months have brought some unexpected positive developments and learning your way. Our team continues on our learning journey and, indeed, have learned some valuable lessons in spite of (or perhaps because of) the public health crisis. We have found ways to streamline some of our processes. We have also learned new ways to connect and build relationships across phone and Internet lines. We quickly adapted our processes and work styles so that we could continue to serve our communities. And now we are ready to explore the “new normal” and whatever that has in store for us.

As you may know, due to COVID 19, last year the McCune Foundation paused our annual open application cycle (when the Foundation typically accepts grant requests from any eligible organization). For 2021 funding, the Foundation only accepted applications from grantees that had been funded in 2020. This modification was an effort to contribute to the organizational stability during the height of the pandemic for our current grantees and create a bridge to their future sustainability.

We are pleased to announce that for 2022 funding, the Foundation will once again have an open application process and accept 2022 funding requests from any eligible organization using the Foundation’s established tiered grant structureThe open application cycle will take place from August 15 – September 15, 2021 (5 p.m. MT). And, as in the past, funding decisions will be announced after our February Board meeting, typically by mid-March. The bulk of the grant funds are approved at the February meeting with a small amount of funds generally available around July and October. The July and October awards occur outside of the open cycle process and are by invitation only.

Between August 15th and September 15th, we look forward to receiving applications that are aligned with our Foundation Priority areas and invite you to review our updated (but not significantly changed) Priority Areas and Leverage Points. All the information you need to determine your organization’s eligibility, find out how to connect with our team members, and instructions on how to submit your application can be found on our “Apply” page or click here. The link for the application will go live on August 15th.

The grants process is competitive and every year it’s difficult to rank those applications that are most compelling and aligned. Unfortunately, many deserving organizations do not receive funding, even though they are doing important and valuable work.

As we approach this new funding cycle, we’d like to share some background on our portfolio and grants budget. Most Foundations’ portfolios suffered losses due to the most recent financial crises, including the one created by the pandemic, and the McCune Foundation was not an exception. In addition, the Foundation has been winding down its long-time Program Related Investment (PRI) in Downtown Albuquerque, which has also contributed to the loss of assets. Also, beginning in 2016, the Foundation began to count qualifying administrative expenses toward its charitable contributions (as is the practice of other Foundations) which further diminishes the amount available for grants.

After a decade of challenges in building our portfolio and with many of those challenges behind us, however, 2021 is looking much better and we hope to sustain this growth over the next few years.

The Foundation arrives at a grants distribution budget based on the prior year’s performance as well as a commonly used smoothing method that factors in 3 years of performance to avoid too many highs and lows. We expect that our Board will approve a grants distribution budget of roughly $3.4m for 2022 funding. Some may remember a time when the Foundation’s grants budget was higher (before the issues mentioned above). For reference, here is a snapshot of our grants budget from 2001 to 2021:

  • 2001 – Grants Budget $6,062,300
  • 2011 – Grants Budget $5,161,000
  • 2021 – Grants Budget $3,428,206

The Foundation’s grant budget for 2021 was $3,428,206, with 93 grants awarded at the 2021 February Board meeting with the remaining balance to be distributed through discretionary grants and at the July and October 2021 board meetings. For a breakdown of how the grants were distributed in 2021 (to date) by Priority Area, click here.

We’re excited about seeing a new crop of applications this year and hearing about the progress grantees are making with their work. We’ve provided the above information in the interest of transparency so that our grantee partners and community can have a better sense of where our grants budget now stands. Please share any feedback that would improve our approach and processes and we look forward to working with you as we move forward from this difficult moment with hope for a more inclusive, healthy and prosperous future for our sector. Feedback can be sent via email,


The McCune Charitable Foundation Team