Management Assistance Grants

The Forbes Funds awards Management Assistance Grants (MAGs) to help human service and community-based nonprofits build their capacity and increase the impact of their mission work. Modest grants ($500 to $20,000) are made for new, well-defined projects with two or more organizations partnering together. Indirect costs (e.g., salaries and rent) are not covered.

If your agency is interested in applying, you are encouraged to complete an LOI. Please contact if you have any questions about project fit or eligibility.


What We Fund

All Management Assistance Grants must be used to hire a third party expert to develop a solution for a capacity building challenge. Below is a list of the priority areas of capacity building we can support. 

Priority is given to:

  • Proposals focusing on FinanceStrategy, and Organizational Realignment (Click here to download a copy of this table).
  • Capacity building projects that seek to produce impact at the organizational and systems level.
  • Capacity building projects that promote a collective impact model.
  • Organizations addressing known social determinants of health affecting the region.


Note: Management Assistant Grants (MAGs) are not made to cover fees and/or costs already incurred, or projects already under way, including capacity-building projects for which the organization has already signed contracts with its preferred provider. Additionally, The Forbes Funds does not provide operating, program, or staffing support.



Who Can Apply

An organization may qualify for a grant if it meets all of the following criteria:

  • It is located in Allegheny County
  • It is a 501(c)3 organization
  • It is a human services and/or community development organization
  • It will use a consultant to guide the project work
  • It is willing to undertake a capacity-building challenge that is not already underway
  • It is willing to meet the requirements of the application process, including the completion of an organizational assessment and financial scan

While we cannot provide financial support to every agency that approaches The Forbes Funds, we do consider it a priority to meet with and provide advice and guidance to CEOs and their Board regarding management capacity challenges and opportunities.


Grant Application Process & Deadlines

The Forbes Funds’ application process is designed to be a supportive and educational experience for applicants. Our staff will work with you to determine the most appropriate scope of work, provide tools to help you assess your organizations financial picture, and support you through the submission of the application and supplemental documents.

The Forbes Funds believes that requests for assistance are more than just completing an application.  They are processes of discovery and learning, where we expect applicants to demonstrate commitment to their goals through this process.

Timeline for Grant Application

The Forbes Funds accepts Management Assistance Grant (MAG) requests on a rolling basis, our board of directors makes funding decisions on a quarterly basis for requests between $10,000 and $20,000. For grants below $10,000, requests are also approved on a quarterly basis but are not subject to the full review by the board of directors. To ensure review in the most current quarter, please follow the below timeline for submission deadlines.

2019 Grant Cycle Schedule
Grant Meeting LOI Deadline Application Deadline
Q1 January 11 January 25
Q2 April 12 April 26
Q3 July 12 July 26
Q4 October 11 October 25


If your agency is interested in applying, please complete an LOI by the LOI deadline listed aboveIf your are concerned about project fit or organizational eligibility, please contact with a brief summary of your assistance need and how our support would enable your organization to succeed in meeting the objective of the project.  This summary will help us determine eligibility before we work with you to complete a full application.  


The full application process includes the following:
  • Completion of The Forbes Funds Nonprofit Needs Assessment.
  • Consultation with The Forbes Funds staff to determine fit and scope of a request for requests over $10,000. All requests require completion of an LOI.
  • Completion of a financial dashboard using The Forbes Funds' financial scan tool. The three most recent fiscal audits and current financial statements will be needed.
  • Completion of the grant application.
  • The Forbes Funds will promptly notify the point of contact and/or the executive director of the organization once a decision has been made on the application through the online application system.  These emails come through The Pittsburgh Foundation’s e-mail. Please add to your address book to ensure they do not go to spam.
Applicants Should Demonstrate That...
  • Strategic partners will be key participants in the proposed project.
  • The organizations involved have the capability and commitment to vigorously pursue recommendations that emerge from the project.
  • The proposed project has specific observable outcomes as well as a plan to assess the impact of the project on the organizations’ management and operational capacity.
  • The organizations clearly understand what The Forbes Funds supports through grant funding.
  • The proposed project will:
    • Build or enhance a collective impact framework.
    • Enhance the organizations ability to utilize the identified strategic partners.
    • Enhance the ability of the organizations to address known social determinants affecting the organization's service area
    • Enhance equitable partnerships between the organizations and the communities or populations served.
Approved grant recipients seeking to hire outside consultation will use the following process:
  • The Forbes Funds requires applicants to obtain at least three bids for the project and to work with The Forbes Funds to confirm expected outcomes, design, and cost. Our Consultant Directory and staff can help direct you to the consultants that may be a match.
  • Once the contract with the consultant(s) has been fully executed, an initial kick-off meeting will be held with the applicant's Board Chair, Executive Director, other relevant staff, The Forbes Funds staff, and the consultant(s). The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that there is a clear and shared understanding of the goal, process, timeline, and deliverable(s).
  • Depending on the length of the engagement, a mid-point meeting may also be held with the Executive Director and consultant(s) to review progress-to-plan and to iron out any obstacles or challenges that may have impacted the deliverable or timeframe. The need for a mid-point meeting will be decided at the kick-off meeting.
  • Grants will be paid on a reimbursable basis. Grantees will submit payment requests through the online account online follow-up form. An invoice from the organization to The Forbes Funds, a copy of the consultant invoice to the organization and proof of payment will be reviewed. 
  • Upon completion of the project, grantees are required to submit a final report through their online account and to have a final review meeting with The Forbes Funds to discuss the project and lessons learned. Grantees are then required to complete an impact assessment and submit a financial dashboard one year after the final report.



Submit an LOI

The LOI application system uses The Pittsburgh Foundation’s online grant portal. If your organization already has an account with The Pittsburgh Foundation’s site, you can use the same login information. If not, please “Create New Account” and fill in the required information. Once your account has been created you can log in and “Apply” at the top left of the screen. Scroll down to find the application link for The Forbes Funds - Management Assistance Grants 2018. Click Apply to fill in and submitting the LOI. Once your LOI has been approved you will receive further instructions to complete the application.