Grant Program FAQ

Last updated June 7, 2022.

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 grant cycle with applications opening in September 2022, our biggest changes from last grant cycle are:

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

  2. We will be awarding twelve grants of $5,000 each.

  3. There is only one application form: it's the same form whether you're with a group or organization or if you're an individual (meaning that no one else is putting in as much time/energy into the work as you are); it's also the same form whether or not you have previously won a grant from the Effing Foundation.

  4. We've updated our application form to include some new questions. The entire text of the application form will be available on our Grant Application Resource Guide in August 2022. 
    • We will ask if you have any past issues in sex-positive spaces around consent or safety. We will ask how you have handled those issues in the past and how you plan to handle them with respect to the work you are seeking funding for (if relevant).
    • We will ask about your COVID mitigation and contingency plans (if relevant).
    • We will ask about your plans to support diversity, equity, and inclusion; to support accessibility; and to support people who may be unable to engage with your work in person due to the ongoing risk of COVID (if relevant).

If you are awarded a grant, and you are not a part of a 501(c)(3) organization or have a fiscal sponsor, we ask that you use your funds within eighteen months.

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 people who self-identify as 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, fat people, intersex people, people with disabilities (mental illness, chronic illness, cognitive disability or impairment, intellectual disability, and/or other physical disabilities), neurodiverse people, people who live at or below their state's poverty line, people who are currently or formerly sex workers, and/or people who are currently or formerly incarcerated.

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.

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.

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. Grant Application: Anyone who is interested in applying for an Effing Foundation grant completes an online application form to let us know who they are and what they would like funding for.
  2. Review of Grant Applications: Our staff and Advisory Council review the submitted applications. Approximately ten applications are selected to be finalists.
  3. Revisions and Funding Decisions: Finalists receive feedback on their applications from the Advisory Council. Finalists are given time to revise their applications before the applications are returned to the Advisory Council (who may update their funding recommendations based on those revisions). The revised applications are then sent to the Board of Directors for final approval.

What is the timeline for the next grant cycle?


Our current schedule for the 2022-2023 grant cycle is as follows:

  • Sept 1: Online application form opens for submissions
  • Application deadline extended to Oct 10: Application form closes at 11:59pm US Eastern time. No further extensions will be granted.
  • Oct 4 - Dec 15: Advisory Council & staff review responses and select finalists
  • Jan 4, 2023 (at the latest): All applicants have been notified as to whether or not they have been selected as finalists
  • Jan 4 - Jan 25: Advisory Council draft feedback on finalists' applications
  • Jan 30 - Feb 13: Finalists receive their feedback, ask questions of Advisory Council members about their feedback, and start revisions
  • Feb 27: Revised applications due
  • Feb 28 - Mar 14: Advisory Council update their reviews if anything changed significantly as a result of revisions; finalizes funding recommendations for the Board of Directors
  • Mar 15 - Mar 29: Board reviews Advisory Council recommendations and votes
  • Mar 30 (at the latest): Grant winners announced

Funds disbursement will begin in April 2023.

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 more than one application, 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 grant application?


Yes! Everyone eligible is welcome to complete our grant application. 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). You can also read our Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement template online, and we have a Fiscal Sponsorship FAQ.

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 plan to give out twelve awards of $5,000 each, for a total of $60,000.

How much money can I request?


We are only awarding $5,000 grants this year, and we are asking applicants to submit a $5,000 budget as part of their application.

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. 

How much time do I have to use grant funds?

If I or my group/organization is awarded a grant, is there a time limit for using the funds?


If your work is part of a 501(c)(3) organization or you have a fiscal sponsor, not really: we write the full amount of your grant check to your organization or fiscal sponsor, and it's up to you to decide your timeline.

If the Effing Foundation becomes your fiscal sponsor for the work, we ask that you use your funds within eighteen months. After that time, if you still have funds remaining, we'll try to reach out to you. We absolutely understand that Life Happens and that the work takes the time that it takes, and we're trying to balance that against the Foundation's need to be able to budget for future commitments. If you let us know what's going on and what your plan is for the rest of the funds, that's great! If you aren't available or can't give us an update on when you'll be using the remaining funds, the Effing Foundation will take back any remaining funds from your grant for use in future years.

Is the information that I submit for my grant application private?


Yes! The only people who will have access to the specific information you share with us as part of the grant application are those individuals within our organization who will help decide which applications will be funded: this is our staff who review applications, the Advisory Council, and the Board of Directors.

We may share non-personally-identifiable demographic information about the grant applications 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 awarded a grant, we may later ask your permission to share specific excerpts of those materials publicly, but by default everything is assumed to be private and is only shared within our organization to the staff who review applications, the Advisory Council (who review applications), and the Board of Directors (who review applications and confirm the 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 fundraising campaigns taking place in the twelve months after your grant is announced.
  • Use your grant funds towards the work that you submitted to us in your application.
  • Conduct your 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 work.
  • Provide photos and/or testimonials for us to use to promote your 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 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 grant application openings 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 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 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 grant application form 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 grantees (current or past), past Advisory Council members, or past Board members.

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 apply! 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.

For more information, see our Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement template and our Fiscal Sponsorship FAQ.

When the application form asks about "the people who run your group or organization," what does that mean?

When the application form asks 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 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.