Samuel S Fels Fund

Location: 1528 Walnut St Ste 1002, Philadelphia, 19102 PA

EIN: 23-1365325

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Top descriptors for this funder

18Responsive17Builds relationships17Culturally sensitive16Positive leader in the field14Insightful13"Gets" nonprofits and issues13Openminded12Friendly10Risk taker7Gives more than money7Likes site visits

Advice from a Friend

Samuel S Fels Fund

Apr 17, 2022

Grant Applicant - applied in 2022

I reached out to a program officer at Fels to discuss support for a new organization that was aligned with the Foundation's mission. Of all the Philly based foundations, Fels is by far the most professional, mission driven and and forth coming. I appreciated how curious the program officer was, her deep attention to detail and her ability to manage expectations without draining critical capacity from my work. Throughout the whole process she was forthcoming, supportive and highly capable. My expectations were not high, but she saw my work for what it was worthy of investment. After a few email back and forth she drafted a proposal that ultimately got funded above the formally requested amount. SR called personally to deliver the news and has made herself available to answer questions and offer technical assistance and training opportunities to the portfolio of grantees. I am certain that a significant amount of work has gone into developing processes that are aligned with Fels' stated mission, most notably, a highly flexible employee wellness fund to sustain the work. I cannot say the same for other Philly based foundations.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Gives more than money, Risk taker, Culturally sensitive, Insightful, Builds relationships, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Samuel S Fels Fund

Apr 18, 2022

Thank you for this review. We aim to be transparent and work with partners to make the application process more accessible.

Apr 07, 2022

Grant Applicant - applied in 2022

Call them. They are really kind and thoughtful, the Executive Director has experience in the non-profit sector so she will understand your challenges. But it's best to be prepared when you talk. They ask very good but very thorough questions.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Risk taker, Culturally sensitive, Insightful, Friendly, Builds relationships, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Samuel S Fels Fund

Apr 18, 2022

Thank you for this review. We plan to continue soliciting feeback and acting on it.

Jul 20, 2018

Reviewer 1657 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2018

I would contact the staff members at the foundation to really understand their mission (which has changed) first and then start the application process - the online app is great and easy to use! Good luck to all!

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Risk taker, Culturally sensitive, Friendly, Builds relationships, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Samuel S Fels Fund

Jul 23, 2018

Thank you for taking the time to review us. We are happy to answer questions during the application process in hopes of providing clarity.

Jul 19, 2018

Reviewer 5305 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2018

Paramount to speak with folks at the foundation to learn about the nuances associated with their new guidelines. Ask for specific feedback and integrate it into your proposal. They are focusing heavily on social justice so having an appreciation for the bigger picture is key.

Pros

Culturally sensitive, Insightful, Builds relationships, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Samuel S Fels Fund

Jul 23, 2018

Thank you for the review.

Jul 17, 2018

Reviewer 9659 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2018

There is definitely some back and forth during this process, but it really seems like the Fels Fund does their due diligence to represent each applicant as best they can to their board.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Culturally sensitive, Friendly, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Samuel S Fels Fund

Jul 23, 2018

Thank you. Throughout our application process, we are trying to learn as much as possible and foster a relationship with each organization and the individuals who represent the work; this enables us to be advocates for you with our Board and potentially other funders/organizations.

Jul 17, 2018

Grant Applicant - applied in 2018

This funder's priorities are fairly specific, yet broadly interpreted. It's always a good idea to email, call or schedule a meeting before applying to any funder for the first time. The good news, Fels Fund welcomes such inquiries and will probably also accommodate you (unless it's blatantly obvious that your organization or proposed program is not a fit).

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Gives more than money, Risk taker, Culturally sensitive, Insightful, Friendly, Builds relationships, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Samuel S Fels Fund

Jul 23, 2018

During our strategic planning process, we tried to be transparent and work efficiently to minimize any gaps in funding. Thank you for letting us know we how we did. Glad to hear the application is clear and simple.

Jan 08, 2018

Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

Ask for a meeting with the funder to make sure the request of your organization aligns with Fel's priority areas. Fels leadership is extremely approachable and will support prospective applicants in both the application process (if applicable) and will more generally provide useful feedback and insight. Transparency about intention and effort is crucial on both sides of the equation: Fels is truly about building resources and support in their key funding areas and will be honest about applications that don't align.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Risk taker, Culturally sensitive, Insightful, Friendly, Builds relationships, Likes site visits, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Samuel S Fels Fund

Jul 23, 2018

Unfortunately, we are not chartered to fund outside of Philadelphia. We have seen great projects and organizations who are working towards similar missions.

Since your review, Fels published a new website that hopefully provides more clarity on each funding priority, specific instructions about the application process, and FAQs. We encourage applicants to review our website then reach out with any lingering questions.

Dec 26, 2017

Reviewer 7569 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

Extremely personable leadership and staff; rolling deadlines for most of the grants are a plus; quick turnaround from applying to awarding; grateful for the focus on legal services

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Culturally sensitive, Insightful, Friendly, Builds relationships, Likes site visits, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Samuel S Fels Fund

Jul 23, 2018

Thank you for reviewing us.

Dec 22, 2017

Reviewer 3087 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

I recommend meeting with the Director before applying, as I think it definitely improves your chances. In my experience, they are pretty open to meetings if your organization works in their priority areas. The new application process is pretty straightforward and easy to navigate.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Friendly, Builds relationships, Likes site visits, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Samuel S Fels Fund

Jul 23, 2018

Thank you. Our apologies for appearing intrusive, that is truly not our intention. We are open to receiving additional feedback so we do not place other organization in that situation. Like you mentioned, we are committed to learning and understanding the ecosystem in Philly and want to create trusting relationships along the way.

Dec 19, 2017

Reviewer 454 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

Make sure your mission aligns with the Fels Fund's priorities. Be sure your application reflects the passion and commitment you have for your work! Understand your constituents and the context of your work in terms of the Philadelphia landscape and be able to clearly describe your work.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Gives more than money, Culturally sensitive, Insightful, Friendly, Builds relationships, Likes site visits, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Responsive

More Feedback

Response from Samuel S Fels Fund

Jul 23, 2018

Thank you. We look forward to hearing about your progress.

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Samuel S Fels Fund