Grant Program FAQ

All of the information about our grant program is available here! There's so much stuff here that it can be kind of overwhelming, so we've also made a SoundCloud playlist that you can listen to if you prefer.

What's different applying for a grant this year from last year?


For the 2019-2020 grant cycle, our biggest changes from last year are:

  1. We aren't able to accept applications from individuals or groups located entirely outside the United States.

  2. There are two submission forms to choose from: One if you're with a group or organization, and one if you're an individual (meaning that no one else is putting in as much time/energy into the work as you are). 

  3. You can let us know whether you want funds for either:
    - A one-off project (you want to make a book, a film, an event, a photo shoot, an art installation, ...)
    - Ongoing work (you're doing sex-positive artistic and educational work over a period of months or years by leading workshops, giving presentations, running a series of events, ...)

  4. We have a new selection of Special Topics: areas we are particularly interested in funding grants in. If your submission fits into one of these topics, you can let us know in the Open Call for Submissions survey. See "What is a Special Topic?" for more information.

Who can apply for a grant?


Unfortunately, at this time we are unable to accept submissions from individuals or groups located entirely outside the United States. Aside from that: anyone is welcome to apply, regardless of identity or background. The Effing Foundation focuses on supporting #ownvoices: that is, people who are members of disadvantaged groups doing work that's grounded in their experiences. In particular, we are looking to fund ongoing work and one-off projects by people with one or more marginalized identities, including women (cisgender and transgender), people who are members of gender/(a)sexuality/relationship minorities, people of color, people of size, neurodiverse people, and/or people with disabilities (mental illness, chronic illness, and/or other physical disabilities). 

We have published a table of our grant funding demographics, which includes data from our past funding cycles and our goals for the current cycle.

Can I apply for funding if I am outside of the US?


If you, your group, or organization is based entirely outside the United States, unfortunately we can't accept your application at this time. If your organization or group includes some people or offices inside the US and some outside the US, you are welcome to apply.

What types of submissions are you looking for?


The Effing Foundation promotes sexuality education and artistic expression of sexuality, which can include many different types of activities. We accept submissions from individuals, from groups, and from organizations; no fiscal sponsorship is required to apply. We offer general support for ongoing work as well as support for specific, one-off projects.

For ongoing work, we offer general support to help groups and individuals continue what they've been doing or help to take their work to the next level. Examples of grants to support ongoing work to organizations include our grants to the Survivor Theatre Project and the Native Youth Sexual Health Network). We also offer general support to individuals who are doing ongoing sex-positive work (giving presentations, running workshops, making YouTube videos, etc.); examples include our grants to HonestlyNae and Yoseñio V. Lewis.

In terms of support for specific, one-off projects, you could propose to host a conference, workshop, or other type of event; write or edit a book (fiction/non-fiction/comics/poetry/collection/zine/...); put on a play or storytelling event; make a film or short video series; do a photo shoot; create a podcast or vlog; make a game (videogame/boardgame/RPG/LARP); build an art installation; or create a website; to name just a few ideas. Some projects we have funded include the conference PolyDallas Millennium and The Black Trans Prayer Book.

The exact medium you use is less important to us than that your activities are 1) artistic and/or educational in some way; 2) grounded in your own identity and experiences; and 3) sex-positive (and that your sex-positivity includes being respectful of people with marginalized identities). If you aren't sure what "sex-positive" means, check out "What I Mean When I Say I'm Sex-Positive" by Cliff Pervocracy and "10 Things Sex-Positivity Is Not" by Miri Mogilevsky and read our values to get a broader sense of what sex-positivity means to us.

New for 2019-2020, we have a list of Special Topics to indicate areas we are particularly interested in.

We prioritize submissions that do not have other options for grant funding or government support; we are not looking to fund public health or general LGBTQ advocacy, for example.

What is a Special Topic and is my submission included?


New for the 2019-2020 grant cycle, you'll be able to indicate whether your submission fits into one of a set of Special Topics. Special Topics represent areas that the Foundation is particularly interested in funding. If you meet the Special Topics requirements (below) and indicate which Special Topic applies to your submission, selecting that in the online survey will highlight your submission in our system.

If your submission doesn't meet the Special Topics requirements, just leave the Special Topics question blank. Don't worry! We will be funding all kinds of submissions, not just Special Topics.

Special Topics (2019-2020):

  • Intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence (IPV/SV): This includes (but is not limited to) submissions that provide support, resources, or community by survivors for survivors.
  • Financial accessibility: This includes (but is not limited to) submissions that target privileged folks to educate them/offer solutions for them to execute or submissions that target marginalized folks to offer them possible solutions, submitted by economically disenfranchised people.
  • Asexuality: This includes (but is not limited to) submissions that provide support, resources, or community by asexual-spectrum folks for asexual-spectrum folks; submissions that may help educate the general public about asexuality; or submissions that facilitate or showcase the self-expression of asexual people with respect to their asexualities.
  • Intersex people and their (a)sexualities: This includes (but is not limited to) submissions that may help educate the general public about intersex people and their (a)sexualities or submissions that facilitate or showcase the self-expression of intersex people with respect to their (a)sexualities.
  • Neurodiverse people and their (a)sexualities: This includes (but is not limited to) submissions that may help educate the general public about neurodiverse people and their (a)sexualities or submissions that facilitate or showcase the self-expression of neurodiverse people with respect to their (a)sexualities.
  • Religion/spirituality and sex-positivity: This includes (but is not limited to) submissions that provide support, resources, or community by sex-positive religious/spiritual people for religious/spiritual people; or submissions that help to educate the general public about sex-positivity and religious/spiritual tradition.

In order for your submission to be considered for a Special Topic, it must meet the following requirements:

  1. #ownvoices: The individual or group applying for the grant must be members of the community covered by the Special Topic. Examples:
    • An asexual person who does ongoing work educating the public on Asexuality would be a good fit for that Special Topic; a person who isn't on the asexuality spectrum would not.
    • A Jewish person whose project is about creating sex-positive spaces in Jewish communities would be a good fit for the Religion/Spirituality Special Topic; a Jewish person whose project is running an online workshop about kink would not be a fit for that Special Topic, although it would be totally fine for them to submit that project for a grant.
  2. The submission you would like us to fund is primarily about the topic. That is, if someone were to ask you what you're doing, you would say "We're doing work on [Special Topic]" or "I'm making a [comic, show, video series, workshop, whatever] about [Special Topic]." If the Special Topic isn't central to the work, the work isn't a fit for that Topic. Examples:
    • If you are proposing to write a book on non-monogamy that includes a chapter on intimate partner violence, that's not a good fit for the IPV/SV Special Topic since the book isn't entirely focusing on IPV/SV.
    • If you are proposing to write a book on IPV/SV that includes a section on IPV/SV and non-monogamy, that would work since the book as a whole is about IPV/SV.
  3. The work you would like us to fund is strongly related to sexuality or sex-positivity (see "What types of submissions are you looking for?") Special Topics are focused on supporting people with particular identities doing (a)sexuality-related projects or ongoing work based in those identities.
  4. We will ask you to choose just one Special Topic per submission. If you're debating between multiple Special Topics, please choose the one you think is most central to the submission.

Can I apply for funding for my sex-positive product?

Our mission is to promote sex-positive art and education. If your product's primary focus is on teaching the user something and/or on helping the user make art, that might be within our mission.
If you think your product might be in one or both of those categories but you aren't sure, contact us with some more details about your product and we'll try to provide additional feedback.

How does the grant selection process work?


Our grant selection process has three major steps:

  1. Open Call for Submissions: Anyone who is interested in applying for an Effing Foundation grant completes an online survey (called the "Open Call for Submissions") to let us know who they are and what they would like funding for. 
  2. Invitation to Submit Grant Application: Based on the responses to the Open Call for Submissions, our staff and Advisory Council will invite about 16 respondents to submit a full grant application.
  3. Review of Grant Applications: Our staff and Advisory Council review the submitted applications and provide feedback to the applicants. Applicants have time to revise their proposals before they go back to the Advisory Council (who may update their reviews based on those revisions). The applications are then sent to the Board of Directors, who make the final decision about which applications are awarded a grant.

What is the timeline for the next grant cycle?


Our current schedule for the 2019-2020 grant cycle is as follows:

  • May 1: Open Call For Submissions (online survey) goes live
  • July 31 (two months): Open Call for Submissions closes at 11:59pm US Eastern time
  • Aug 1-Aug 25 (3.5 weeks): Advisory Council & staff review responses and select 16 applicants to submit full applications
  • Aug 26-Sept 20 (3.5 weeks, although includes Labor Day weekend): Applicants write full applications
  • Sept 22-Oct 13 (3 weeks): Advisory Council & staff review applications
  • Oct 15-Oct 22 (1 week): Applicants receive their feedback, ask questions of reviewers, and start revisions
  • Oct 15-Oct 30 (2 weeks): Applicants finish revisions & submit final versions of their applications
  • Nov 1-Nov 8 (1 week): Advisory Council & staff update reviews if anything changed significantly as a result of revisions
  • Nov 9-Nov 24 (2 weeks): Board reviews proposals & votes on grants
  • Sometime between Nov 25 - Dec 2: Grant candidates announced

By the end of November, the Board of Directors will have decided how much funding to award which applications. We'll let everyone know and continue fundraising. Funds disbursement will begin in early 2020 or as soon as we've raised enough funds.

These dates are available in the official Effing Foundation calendar; instructions on how to view it or add it to your own calendar are available through Google Drive.

Can I submit more than once?


Yes. You're welcome to submit the survey more than once, but we will only award one grant per person, group, or organization. (That said, we're a really small organization with limited resources. If you can narrow down your submissions your top couple of ideas, we'd really appreciate it!)

Are funds available to support work by marginalized people?


YES. Because we don't want the Effing Foundation to perpetuate existing structural inequality, we have decided specifically that we want the demographics of our grantees to include people with (potentially multiple) marginalized identities.

We have published a table of our grant funding demographics, which includes data from our past grant funding cycles as well as some of our goals for the current cycle.

My particular identity isn't named in any of your materials. Should I complete the Open Call for Submissions?


Yes! Everyone eligible is welcome to complete the Open Call for Submissions. If you have another identity or marginalization which we don't mention specifically, please go ahead and include it in the question(s) where we ask you about yourself. 

Do I need to be a 501(c)(3) organization or have a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor to apply for a grant?


No. To facilitate greater equity in grantmaking, we absolutely do not require applicants to have any affiliation with a 501(c)(3) organization. 

Once grants are awarded, if you or your group/organization is not affiliated with a 501(c)(3) organization, we will sign a fiscal sponsorship agreement with you. This agreement will specify that we will be overseeing the distribution and use of your grant funds, in accordance with best practices and IRS requirements. We have a disbursement process that specifies how you request funds and what documentation you need to provide. Once we become your fiscal sponsor, you may be required to pay taxes on funds that are sent directly to you (see "Do I have to pay taxes on grant funds I receive?" for more information).

Grantees who are with a 501(c)(3) organization or who have a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor are not required to sign a fiscal sponsorship agreement and do not participate in our financial oversight process.

How much money will be awarded?


We expect to give out around 12 to 14 grants worth a total of about $60,000. Most grants awarded are for $2,500 or $5,000. Since we don't already have a big pile of money to give away, this partly depends on how much money we can raise. 

How much money can I request?


Most grants awarded are for $2,500 or $5,000, so we recommend that you plan for one or both of those amounts. If you are selected to submit a full application, we may invite you to submit a budget for a larger amount.

If you are an artist or educator who already has a large audience and/or you've run successful crowdfunding campaigns in the past, our partnership program might be a better fit.

What can grant money be used for?


To support equity in our grantmaking practices, funds granted from the Effing Foundation can be used for literally anything that helps to accomplish the work. Our grantees have used their Effing grants towards travel expenses; stipends for grantees to be able to afford to devote time to their work; supplies and equipment; venue rental; and payments for performers, video editors, and sound crew, to name a few. 

Is the information that I submit in the "Open Call for Submissions" private?


Yes! The only people who will have access to the specific information you share with us as part of the Open Call for Submissions are those individuals within our organization who will help decide which of the survey respondents will be asked for a full application: this is our staff who reviews the survey responses, the Advisory Council, and the Board of Directors.

We may share non-personally-identifiable demographic information about the survey responses as a whole (such as how many submissions were from people of color or how many submissions were from people with disabilities), but no individual, organization, or project names will be shared in connection with that information.

If you are asked to submit a full grant application, we may later ask your permission to share specific excerpts of those materials, but by default everything is assumed to be private and is only shared within our organization to the staff who review proposals, the Advisory Council (who review proposals), and the Board of Directors (who review proposals and make final funding decisions).

See our Privacy Policy for more details.

What responsibilities do I have if I am selected to receive a grant?


If you, your group, or your organization is selected to receive a grant, we expect you to:

  • Help promote our fundraising campaign that will pay for your grant. 
  • Use your grant funds towards the project/work that you submitted to us in your application.
  • Conduct your project/work in a way that is in line with our values.
  • Use inclusive language when possible, particularly in terms of distinguishing genitals from gender and including non-binary and/or trans and/or intersex people.
  • Follow our disbursement process to request funds and provide receipts.
  • Track impact data associated with your project/work: This might include things like number of website views, number of social media follows, or number of audience members, depending on your project/work.
  • Provide photos and/or testimonials for us to use to promote your project/work and the broader work of the Effing Foundation.
  • Reply to a check-in email once a month or quarter (depending on the project/organization) with your impact data and letting us know what successes and/or challenges you are facing.
  • Publicly acknowledge our support of your project/work. We'll work with you to figure out what method(s) make the most sense -- we may ask you give us a quick shout-out when you run your event, include our logo on print materials or videos, put up a sign, set out some of our flyers or include them in goodie bags, etc.
  • Pay any applicable taxes (see "Do I have to pay taxes on grant funds I receive?")
  • Pay it forward: We would appreciate your help promoting future Calls for Submissions and fundraising campaigns.

What responsibilities does The Effing Foundation have towards me as a potential grantee?


It is our responsibility to:

  • listen to you and respect your time and expertise.
  • answer your questions and otherwise communicate with you in a clear and timely fashion, particularly with respect to schedules and deadlines.
  • ensure that our needs for documentation and oversight result in processes that are easy to understand and not overly time-consuming or burdensome to you.
  • share your work with our community of donors and supporters through our monthly newsletter and social media.

Do I have to pay taxes on grant funds I receive?


If your grant is paid to a 501(c)(3) organization, or a project or organization which has a 501(c)(3) organization as your fiscal sponsor, the answer is no.

If your grant is paid to any other incorporated entity (like an LLC, if you have a business), it's the responsibility of that entity to calculate and pay any applicable taxes.

If those two situations don't apply, you're either an individual or you're with an unincorporated group. In that case, any grant funds that are paid directly to you as a stipend or payment for your work for the grant ARE taxable income. We will file a 1099-MISC form for anyone we pay more than $600 in compensation in a tax year: that could include you, your collaborators, or contractors that are paid for their labor with your grant funds.

If the Foundation buys goods on your behalf for a grant -- we directly pay for equipment, hotel, airfare, etc. -- that does not have any tax implications for you. If you buy something for your project/work and request reimbursement from your grant funds, that reimbursement is NOT taxable income.

If you expect to be receiving a lot of your grant funds as a stipend paid to you, you may want to include the added tax burden in your budget.

What is a conflict of interest?

The Open Call for Submissions asks if I (or anyone else in my group/organization) has a relationship with anyone currently affiliated with the Effing Foundation. What kind of information are you looking for, and why are you asking?


We ask about your relationships with people currently affiliated with the Foundation to prevent possible conflicts of interest. By "people currently affiliated with the Foundation," we are talking about staff members, current Advisory Council members, and current Board members, but not other grantees.

By a "conflict of interest," we mean a couple of things:

  • Is there a situation where someone at the Foundation would not be able to fairly evaluate your submission? 
  • Is there a situation where, if we awarded you a grant, someone at the Foundation would benefit financially?

Just because you do have a relationship with someone currently at the Foundation, you can still send us your submission! Knowing what the situation is means that we can take steps to address it.

What does it mean for the Effing Foundation to be the fiscal sponsor of a grantee?

While you don't have to be a 501(c)(3) organization OR have a fiscal sponsorship in order to apply for a grant, if you're selected to receive a grant, the Effing Foundation will become your fiscal sponsor. What does that mean?


If you aren't applying for a grant as part of a 501(c)(3) organization or as part of a group that has a 501(c)(3) organization as your fiscal sponsor, in order to receive funds from the Effing Foundation, you'll have to sign a fiscal sponsorship agreement with us. 

The fiscal sponsorship agreement says a couple of things:

  1. The Effing Foundation will do the fiscal oversight of the funds you have through us. That means that you'll have to follow our disbursement procedures to request money, whether that's paying you directly as a stipend or as reimbursement for expenses for your work (which has tax implications), or whether that's buying equipment for you or paying contractors on your behalf. That basically means that we have to have invoices or receipts for everything so that we can prove to the IRS that your funds are actually going towards charitable causes (in our case, sex-positive art/education.)
  2. We don't own any of your intellectual property. You keep the copyright to everything you make using our help.
  3. If you want to raise more money from donors (and give them tax deductions), you can do that! The money has to come to us first, and we will keep 5% of the funds we receive to cover our administrative costs. (The industry standard rate for fiscal sponsorship is about 10%.) This doesn't apply to your grant funds: it would be a pretty jerk move if we said we wanted to keep 5% of that! Our 5% fee only applies to any extra money you raise through us so that donors can get tax deductions.
  4. In order to make the guarantee to the IRS that our donors' dollars are only supporting charitable causes, the fiscal sponsorship agreement says that our Board has the final say on how funds are used. That sounds really scary! But that's the only way that we can make these grants and keep the IRS happy. The good news is that the Foundation tries to stay as hands-off as possible: we recognize that you know your own work the best. You're welcome to reach out to any of our grantees, or ask us for an introduction, if you want to hear directly from them what it's like to work with us.

You can absolutely apply for a grant and ask for things like funds to help get incorporated or apply for 501(c)(3) status. But because we'll become your fiscal sponsor if you get a grant, you also don't have to rush to incorporate. You can choose to use grant funds to help get your work going and then possibly become your own non-profit later.

When the Open Call for Submissions asks about "the people who run your group or organization," what does that mean?

In the version of the Open Call for Submissions for groups or organizations, several questions ask about "the people who run your group or organization, including you." What does that mean, and why are you asking?


When we say "people who run your group or organization," we are interested in the people who have leadership or driving roles. The Foundation is particularly interested in funding groups and organizations where marginalized people lead the creative process and/or the decision making process.

Different groups and organizations are structured differently, but here are some things to consider to help you figure out who to include as "people who run your group or organization" in terms of our survey questions:

  • If your group is fairly small and all of you will be putting in about the same amount of time and energy into the work, it's all of you.
  • If your group or organization has a leadership team or committee of some kind, a group of people who are responsible for setting the direction of the work that you do, that's probably the people we are talking about.
  • If you aren't sure, you can think about who will drive the work forward, facilitate the creative process, or facilitate the decision-making process.
  • If you still aren't sure, contact us with your situation and we'll try to help.