Management Assistance Grants

The Forbes Funds awards Management Assistance Grants (MAGs) to promote collaboratives of human service and community-based nonprofits building their capacity and increasing the impact of their mission work. Modest grants are made for new, well-defined projects with two or more organizations partnering together. Operational costs (e.g., salaries and rent) are not covered.  All Management Assistance Grants must be used to hire a third-party expert to develop a solution for a capacity building challenge.

If your collective is interested in applying, you are highly encouraged to complete a Nonprofit Needs Assessment. Please contact if you have any questions about project fit or eligibility.


What We Fund

Below is a list of the priority areas of capacity building we can support.

Priority is given to:

  • Proposals focusing on Finance, Strategy, and Organizational Realignment
    • Financial projects will seek to understand the financial standing of a partnership and develop planning for joint sustainability.  (ex. Joint sustainability plan, collaborative earned revenue stratgey)
    • Strategy projects will set a direction and plan to pursue joint activities and outcomes. (ex. Strategic plan for a collaborative, shared business plan)
    • Organizational Realignment projects involve formalizing partnership through a shared structure.  (ex. Shared back office, shared positions, strategic affilaition)
  • Capacity-building projects that seek to produce impact at the organizational and systems level. (ex. Partners from multiple sectors, more efficent use of shared resources)
  • Collaboratives addressing known social determinants of health affecting the region. 
    • Economic Stability
    • Education
    • Social and Community Context
    • Health and Health Care
    • Neighborhood and Built Environment


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

A collective may qualify for a grant if it meets the following criteria:

  • It is focused on Allegheny County
  • It has a lead organization that is a 501(c)3
  • It is composed of partners willing to undertake a collaborative process
  • It is led by a human services and/or community development organization
  • It will use a third-party to guide the project work, seeking bids from at least 3 consultants prior to signing a contract
  • 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 the Nonprofit Needs Assessment and financial scan.

While we cannot provide financial support to every collective 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 organization’s financial picture, and support you through the submission of the application and supplemental documents.

Timeline for Grant Application

The Forbes Funds accepts Management Assistance Grant (MAG) requests on a rolling basis, and our board of directors makes funding decisions on a quarterly basis for requests averaging between $5,000-$10,000 per organization (ex. MAG w/ 4 partners would be eligible for $20,000-$40,000 depending on the project tye and scope of work) . If you are considering submitting a proposal, please contact to set up a meeting with our staff.

2020 Grant Cycle Schedule

Grant Meeting

Application Deadline

Funding Decision


January 27

March 12


April 24

June 11


July 24

September 10


October 23

December 10


The Forbes Funds seeks to build partners and capacity through its grantmaking process. Given the complex nature of collaborative projects, organizations will typically meet with The Forbes Funds several times before their application is submitted to the board.  If your collective is interested in applying, 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. Collectives will be invited to submit an application once The Forbes Funds and collaborative partners feel the project is ready.


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. Please contact to set up a meeting with The Forbes Funds staff.
  • 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 an LOI and Application following working sessions with The Forbes Funds staff. PDFs of the online forms can be found by clicking the following links:
  • 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 collective’s ability to utilize the identified strategic partners.
    • Enhance the ability of the collective to address known social determinants affecting the organization's service area
  • The organizations are committed to completing the RFP process.
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. Following grant approval, a letter must be submitted detailing the three bids submitted along with the reason for selecting the consultant.  The approval to sign a contract will be provided following the submission of the letter.
  • 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 Forbes Funds, 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 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.