I am involved with a small foundation that provides scholarships to youth so they may attend events that will have profound impact on their character.  There are three grant cycles during the year.  Invariably a youth group will forget to submit an application during there preferred grant cycle and contact us after the funds have been distributed.  Some of these groups are organizations the foundation has historically funded and some are new.  I am often find myself trying to accommodate the late applications but inevitably the size of the grant these tardy applicants receive are deeply discount compared to what they might have been awarded if the organization had applied on schedule.

How firm should grant deadlines be?  Ultimately, it is the youth who are impacted by fewer scholarship dollars since the funds are restricted and do not go towards general operating expenses.  If the foundation is trying to achieve a mission of adding value, is it best to stand firm on principal or better to increase the number of opportunities?  Is it better to benefit the intended recipient or sharpen the youth organization’s attention to detail?

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