Management Assistance Grants (MAGs)

The Forbes Funds collaborates with community-based and human services nonprofit partners in the Greater Pittsburgh region.




Develop Project
with Shared Goals

Promoting collaboratives of human service and community-based nonprofits building their capacity and increasing the impact of their mission work.

Management Assistance Grants are intended to support the cost of hiring third-party consultation for a collaborative capacity-building project.

Allegheney County-based 501(c)(3) organizations can apply, along with partners willing to undertake a collaborative process and a third party to guide the work

Possible areas of support include the following.


Financial strategy to support operational needs and sustainable growth


Ideas for growing the mission and capitalizing on program opportunities


Enhanced strategic and generative performance of the board


Models for generating more impactful employee performance


An objective and experienced sounding board with whom you can share your leadership challenges and dreams

Frequently Asked Questions

Please get in touch should you have any additional questions.
What do we fund?
  • 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 (e.g. Joint sustainability plan, collaborative earned revenue strategy)
    • Strategy projects will set a direction and plan to pursue joint activities and outcomes (e.g. Strategic plan for a collaborative, shared business plan)
    • Organizational realignment projects involve formalizing partnerships through a shared structure (e.g. Shared back office, shared positions, strategic affiliation)
  • Capacity-building projects that seek to produce impact at the organizational and systems-level (e.g. Partners from multiple sectors, more efficient use of shared resources)
  • Collaboratives addressing known Social Determinants of Health affecting the region such as
    • 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 underway, 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?
  • 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 three 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.

What is the grant application process?

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.

  • 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 email. Please add to your address book to ensure they do not go to spam.
What is the timeline for a 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 (e.g. MAG with four partners would be eligible for $20,000-$40,000, depending on the project type and scope of work). If you are considering submitting a proposal, please contact Emma below to set up a meeting.

2022 Grant Cycle Schedule

QuarterLOI DeadlineInformation SessionApplication DeadlineFunding Decision (tentative)
Q1December 22, 2021January 12January 27March 10
Q2April 5April 12April 28June 9
Q3June 30July 12July 28September 8
Q4September 27October 4October 27December 8

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 the MAGs team with a brief summary of your assistance needs 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.

What should applicants demonstrate in their application?
  • Strategic partners will be key participants in the proposed project
  • The organizations involved have the capability and commitment to 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
  • The organizations are committed to completing the RFP process
How should approved grant recipients seeking to hire outside consultation consider for their 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.

“The Forbes Funds is about achieving what you are not prepared for: planning, execution, resource management, and continuing education.”

Since it began, this program has brought assistance of more than $345,000 funding awarded to 14 grant projects serving 56 organizations (average $28,750 per grant). The average grant has four organizations, a 400% increase from 2017.

Increase Organizational Sustainability

Increase Organizational Impact

Increase Organizational Agility

Increase Organizational Capacity

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The Management Assistant Grants program builds capacity of human service and community-based nonprofits. Please get in touch with us today to learn more.

Vision: The catalytic grants awarded by MAGs program primarily fund projects that focus on strategy, finance and organizational realignment with two or more organizations partnering to broaden their impact. These capacity-building efforts support the collective impact of the collaborative.

Connect the MAGs team to learn more


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