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Harnessing the Power of Foundation 990s on Candid: A Must-Have Tool for Grant Proposal Writers

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For nonprofit professionals seeking funding through grants, thorough research, and strategic planning are essential. One invaluable resource for fundraisers interested in grants is Candid (formerly GuideStar), a platform that provides access to essential financial information about foundations and nonprofits. Among the wealth of data available on Candid, Foundation 990s stands out as a goldmine of insights. In this article, CharityBox will explore why searching through Foundation 990s on Candid is the best tool for grant proposal writers, empowering them to make informed decisions and craft compelling grant applications.

Unveiling the Foundation 990s:

Foundation 990s are annual tax returns filed by private foundations with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These documents offer a comprehensive view of a foundation's financial health, mission, activities, and grantmaking history. They serve as a treasure trove of information for grant seekers, providing valuable insights into a foundation's giving patterns, focus areas, past grantees, and financial capacity.

Why Foundation 990s on Candid are Invaluable:

Informed Decision Making: By reviewing a foundation's 990s on Candid, grant proposal writers gain a comprehensive understanding of the foundation's philanthropic goals, priorities, and areas of interest. This knowledge allows them to tailor their proposals to align with the foundation's mission and increase the likelihood of securing funding.

Identifying the Right Fit: Foundations have specific funding preferences and may prioritize certain causes over others. With access to foundation 990s, grant seekers can identify foundations whose missions closely align with their own, creating meaningful connections between their organization's work and the foundation's goals.

Grantmaking Patterns: Foundation 990s provide a historical record of the foundation's grantmaking history. By analyzing past grants, grant seekers can identify trends, understand the size and scope of previous awards, and craft proposals that resonate with the foundation's giving patterns.

Financial Capacity: A foundation's 990 offers insights into its financial health and assets. Understanding a foundation's financial capacity is crucial when seeking large grants, as it ensures that the grant seeker is targeting foundations capable of providing the level of funding required.

Evidence-Based Proposals: Using information from Foundation 990s, grant seekers can bolster their proposals with evidence of the foundation's past support for similar projects. Demonstrating alignment with previous grantees and proven success can enhance the credibility of their application.

Tips for Effectively Utilizing Foundation 990s on Candid:

Filtering Your Search: Candid provides advanced search filters to narrow down foundations based on location, funding areas, and grant amounts. Utilize these filters to identify foundations that align with your organization's mission and geographic focus.

Analyze Giving History: Review a foundation's past grants to identify common themes or issues they consistently support. Tailor your proposal to match these focus areas and demonstrate how your project aligns with their giving history.

Explore Financial Data: Assess a foundation's financial stability and capacity to award grants of the size you are seeking. Ensure that their giving capacity aligns with your funding requirements.

Check for Deadlines and Requirements: Some foundations may have specific application deadlines and requirements listed in their 990s. Take note of these to ensure you meet all submission guidelines.


As nonprofit professionals dive into the world of grant writing, leveraging Foundation 990s on Candid is an invaluable strategy for success. This powerful tool allows grant proposal writers to make informed decisions, identify the right funding opportunities, and tailor proposals that resonate with the philanthropic goals of potential donors. By mining through foundation 990s, grant seekers gain a deeper understanding of each foundation's mission, history, and focus areas, which ultimately elevates the quality and relevance of their grant applications. Harness the power of Foundation 990s on Candid and unlock a wealth of information to fuel your nonprofit's mission and secure the funding needed to drive meaningful impact in your communities.

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