Still me, Rick


I came on the board of the FHL Foundation in 1980. Back in those days we used a fairly simple printed application form. When I took the reins in 1999, I decided to push for an online application. We used an online application service for about three years. The online application was a two-step process: a Letter of Intent (LOI) followed by a Full Application, if there was interest on the part of the board. What we discovered was that we would often approve a grant based just on the information presented in the LOI (along with a few follow-up emails or calls to fine-tune things). So, today, we have a hybrid: a simple online Organization Profile form (which is linked to at the bottom of this page) followed by an online LOI form (the link to which will be sent to you in an invite email if your Organization Profile is complete and meets our general guidelines—more below). In most cases, the LOI is all we need, thus making for a streamlined application process. If we need more information or a quick clarification, we’ll call or email.

Our board meets four times a year, typically in:

  • October (our annual meeting)
  • January
  • April
  • July (our end-of-year meeting)

Our fiscal year starts August 1st. We typically set our next meeting date at each meeting. So, if you contact me (using the Contact menu item) after the July meeting, I can tell you when we will meet in October. We send out our agenda two weeks before each meeting. Once the agenda goes out to the board, staff, and consultants the agenda is fixed. If an LOI comes in and there’s more than two weeks before the next meeting, then in most cases I’ll be able to get it on the agenda if it fits well enough with the focus areas mentioned in the About area.

Here are some general “deal breaker” guidelines:

  • No grants to individuals
  • Only grants to organizations recognized as a non-profit at the federal level (typically a 501(c)(3))
  • No grants to organizations operating under an umbrella group
  • No grants to organizations that have a 501(c)(3) pending
  • No grants to international organizations
  • Grants to college or university foundations are OK, however we request a 5% pass-through cap
  • We must have a copy of your IRS ruling letter, which can be attached to your Organization Profile

Here are some general “suggestion” guidelines:

  • We highly recommend that you signup and create an Organization Profile at
  • We typically do not make multi-year grants
  • We typically do make grants for general operations
  • We typically do not get involved in match grant campaigns
  • We typically do not work well with grant writers [1]
  • We tend to favor New Mexico-based organizations, but a number of our research grants go out-of-state mainly because the research we’re interested in (say, attachment research) is not being conducted in New Mexico
  • We’re not big fans of private-public partnerships. Why? They tend to blow up. Contact me (using the Contact menu item above) and I’ll tell you a few horror stories (like the night the lights went out on behavioral health in New Mexico). More specifically, we consider your organization to be a public entity if more than 50% of your income comes from government contracts or through insurance like Medicaid or Medicare. It’s a long story but many social service organizations are being forced (as a condition of The Affordable Care Act) to receive reimbursement through the medical model (e.g., Medicaid or Medicare). This shift has made private-public partnerships even trickier. For more one this, see the following post over at our BLT blog site REPRINT: The Department of Health & Human Services: A New Strategic Plan & A New Vision.

I believe that’s it. If you have any questions or are not sure if your project fits with our focus areas or guidelines, contact us before submitting your Organization Profile and/or LOI form and let’s kick things around. No sense wasting time. Feel free to browse our Grant Listing (in the menu above) to get a sense for the types of organizations and projects we have funded since 1999.

We typically make grants totaling about $250,000 per year. The typical grant award is between $10,000 and $20,000, which means about 12 to 14 grant awards per year. However, in the last couple of years, we have sought out larger, single projects, like the solar project mentioned in the About area. If we continue to find these large, single projects (and they’re hard to find), this will limit our ability to make smaller grants. I try to post grant awards to our Grant Listing area as soon as they are made. The Grant Listing should give you some idea of where we stand with respect to our $250,000 per year giving requirement. If in doubt, give us a shout and we can update you.

If you do receive a grant award, two things:

1) Grant time frame: We typically like to see the project completed within one year of the date on the grant award letter. If you absolutely cannot finish within one year, contact us and let us know what the heck is going on. And, yes, we do expect a final report at the conclusion of the project (which will be submitted by an online form). Interim reports are greatly appreciated and always welcomed. We may post reports (in part or in whole) to this web site, so please do not send any copyrighted, confidential, or proprietary materials. Do not send originals (we may lose them). If you send us pictures (which we encourage), we assume that you have secured the proper use waivers and that we are able to post these pictures to the web.

2) Grant recognition: Often organizations like to broadcast to the world news about receiving a grant, especially in this day and age of social media. We get that impulse. However, from our view, a “broadcast to the world” approach may open a floodgate as far as unsolicited grant requests are concerned. So, our recognition policy tries to strike a balance. If you recognize a grant from our Foundation in printed materials sent to an in-house, managed mailing list (e.g., printed newsletter, annual report, or funding report), we’re fine with that. As opposed to broadcasting to the world, you’re targeting a specific audience using good old analog formats. The digital world is a different beast. We have no problem if you acknowledge our grant on your organization’s web site as long as this is a separately maintained, in-house web site and not a web site hosted by, say, Facebook or Twitter. So, no announcements on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. These are “broadcast to the world” digital formats. If you send out your newsletter via a service like MailChimp to an in-house, managed mailing list, this is fine (we use MailChimp for our monthly newsletter). Please do not acknowledge our grant during any media interview—TV, radio, article, etc.—without first gaining permission from our Foundation. If you have any doubts about appropriate forms of acknowledgement, contact us and let us know what you have in mind. Thanks.

Here’s the link to our Organization Profile form. You will need to complete this Organization Profile form before you are able to compete the LOI form. You only have to complete the Organization Profile form once. You will receive an Organization ID # by email that you will use to complete LOI forms. The Organization Profile form will open in a separate window. Once you submit your form, you can close this window and you will be returned here. You can continue exploring our web site or go off to Internet realms yet unknown.

Organization Profile form

Once an administrator has a chance to review your profile (for instance, verify your EIN number) and finds it complete and in keeping with our general guidelines (for instance, no international organizations), you will receive an LOI invitation email with your Organization ID #.

A note to mobile users: Technically you are able to access our online forms using a smartphone. However, you will probably be more comfortable using a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. This is especially true if you are going to cut and paste prepared text into text fields such as Organization Mission and Organization History. Keep in mind that you will be asked to upload your IRS Ruling Letter.


[1] In our experience, grant writers tend to make promises the organization they represent cannot keep. In some cases, organizations are not aware that grant writers are making promises on their behalf. Often grant writers will list themselves as the main contact person. We’d rather work directly with you. Who knows your organization better than you? We have encountered situations where the grant writer lived thousands of miles away and had never visited the organization they represent. Sure, use grant writers as consultants, but we’d prefer that you take the lead as far as securing funding from our Foundation.