Dr. Scholl Foundation: Should You Pursue Their Grants?
The Dr. Scholl Foundation is a private, independent grant-making foundation established by Dr. William Scholl, founder of the Scholl Manufacturing Company.
Since 1980, the Foundation has donated more than $312 million to charitable causes that align with its mission of improving the world.
The Dr. Scholl Foundation’s funding opportunities might be a good fit for your organization. However, before you invest the time to apply for a grant, you should understand the Foundation’s funding history and confirm that your project or program is a good fit for what they fund.
In this article, we will take a deep dive into the Foundation’s mission, learn the 3-step framework to evaluate its grantmaking priorities, and analyze valuable funder insights.
As you read through the article, you will be asked to score yourself and your organization based on defined scoring criteria. By the end, you will have a funder score that will reflect your fit to the Dr. Scholl Foundation.
If you’re a good fit, we will give you a few solid action steps to take before you submit a request.
If not, don’t stress! We will share a list of similar funders that may better fit your nonprofit’s needs.
Dr. Scholl Foundation: Mission and Background
Founded in 1947, the Dr. Scholl Foundation is committed to providing financial support to organizations that are working to improve our world. The Foundation believes that these solutions are rooted in its core values of innovation, practicality, hard work, and compassion.
The Foundation awards grants to projects or solutions that fall within the below categories:
Civic & Cultural
However, please note that these categories are not prescriptive. The Foundation’s website states they are open to considering any worthwhile project, even if it does not fall into one of the above categories.
The Foundation primarily makes grants in the United States. Non-U.S. grants are only given to organizations where the Foundation has an established relationship with the grantee.
Scoring Criterion #1
Add a score in the range of 1-3 to indicate how closely your nonprofit's mission aligns with the Dr. Scholl Foundation.
Add this when there is little to no understanding of the alignment between you and Dr. Scholl Foundation
Add this when there is a distant alignment between you and Dr. Scholl Foundation - e.g., Foundation supports a broader funding category.
Add this where there is an evident close alignment between you and Dr. Scholl Foundation.
Dr. Scholl Foundation: How to Apply and Active Grants
In 2019 alone, the Dr. Scholl Foundation awarded $7,408,000 in grants to charitable causes.
The Foundation accepts grant applications each year between October 1st and March 1st. All applications must be submitted online through the application portal.
The application process consists of 2 steps:
Applicants submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) through the Dr. Scholl Foundation Portal beginning on October 1st each year. LOIs are reviewed on a rolling basis, with an average five-day turnaround time.
If an LOI is approved, applicants will receive a link to the full grant application, which must be submitted electronically via the portal by March
Grant decisions are made each October, one year following the opening of the grant cycle, and awards are disbursed each November.
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The Dr. Scholl Foundation’s website outlines their giving priorities, grant cycle, and application process. Be sure to double-check the website each year to make sure that nothing has changed.
Before you invest your valuable time and energy into submitting an application to the Dr. Scholl Foundation, it’s important to evaluate how well your organization matches with the Foundation’s past giving trends and history.
Throughout the rest of this article, we will help you make this determination using data and funder insights from Instrumentl.
Don’t forget—you can create your free Instrumentl account today to get access to hundreds of good-fit funders!
Dr. Scholl Foundation: Interesting Funder Insights
A great way to determine if you’re a good fit for a Dr. Scholl Foundation grant is by reviewing some key data points from their tax form 990.
However, reviewing a 990 form can be overwhelming and unappealing; there is a lot of information crammed into a not-so-reader-friendly format. If this doesn’t sound like a ton of fun for you, don’t worry! Instrumentl analyzes and breaks down data points from the 990 forms into digestible, easy-to-read reports, making identifying trends super simple.
What data, you ask? Here are the top 3 things that Intstrumentl’s 990 tool can show you to help you determine if the Dr. Scholl Foundation is a good fit for you. Keep reading!
#1 General Giving Trends
First, take a look at the funder’s giving trends over the last several years. Past giving is the best indicator of future giving.
Instrumentl pulls the funder’s key financial stats from the 990s forms and displays them as easy-to-read and intuitive bar graphs.
As shown above, the Dr. Scholl Foundation’s giving is trending upward over the last several years, with a 32% increase in total giving since 2017.
This steady increase in giving is a good sign that the funder has been expanding its charitable efforts over time.
Scoring Criterion #2
Add 1 point to your funder score to reflect the Dr. Scholl Foundation’s positive giving trend over the last 3 years.
Add this since the Dr. Scholl Foundation has had an increasing giving trend for the last 3 years.
In addition to the “Total giving”, we should also review the “Number of grants” for a more holistic view.
As you can see in the above bar graph, the number of grants awarded by the Dr. Scholl Foundation has also been steadily increasing for the last 3 years. In fact, there’s been a 10% increase in the number of grants awarded since 2017.
Considering the 10% increase in the number of grants and the 32% increase in total giving, we can infer that the average grant amount has increased as well. This is good news!
Instrumentl actually has a tool that can confirm whether what we “inferred” above is true: it shows us the giving averages by year.
As you can see in the above graph, the average grant amount awarded by the Dr. Scholl Foundation in 2019 was $21,982, up from $19,611 in 2017. Our hypothesis was correct. This tool from Instrumentl takes all the guesswork out of analyzing past giving trends and makes it easy to analyze average grant amount change.
Scoring Criterion #3
Add 1 point to your funder score to reflect the increase in the average grant amount given by the Dr. Scholl Foundation for the past 3 years.
Add this as the average grant amount awarded by the Dr. Scholl Foundation has increased over the past 3 years.
This increase in the average grant amount is a good indication that the Foundation will continue with this trend in the future, which is great news for grant seekers!
It’s important to remember that these are just a few metrics—there are still more to review.
Stick with us through the remaining funder insights and scoring criteria to ensure that the Dr. Scholl Foundation is a good fit for your nonprofit.
#2 Funding by NTEE Codes
The fact that the Dr. Scholl Foundation gave more than $7.4 million in 2019 is promising. But that piece of data alone doesn’t tell you about how they allocate funds for specific projects that may or may not be similar to your project.
So, how do you find that information? Let us show you how.
As we discussed initially, the Foundation’s giving typically falls into one of the following categories:
Civic & Cultural
If you use Instrumentl’s NTEE Codes breakdown tool, you’ll be able to analyze the number of grant awards that fall into each of the above categories, as well as many subcategories listed under them. This will allow you to identify giving trends for projects that are similar to yours.
This information is super important—in fact, it is the most important piece of information to consider while evaluating funders.
As you can see in the list below, the Dr. Scholl Foundation’s grant giving is split very unequally between the categories and subcategories listed. This will directly impact the amount of the grant award you can anticipate for your project.
For example, looking at the above table, you can see that the Dr. Scholl Foundation has awarded “Arts, Cultures & Humanities” programs the highest overall amount of funding, with $4,032,500 awarded. In that category, 105 grants were awarded, with an average grant amount of $5,000.
“Science & Technology” has the highest average grant amount, at $20,000, but has the lowest overall giving amount, and only 5 grants were awarded in this category.
By now, you should be familiar with interpreting funding by NTEE code data. But this is just the beginning.
The general NTEE code categories include related subcategories with some significant differences in funding amounts that you might miss if you’re looking only at the category-wide averages. Don’t leave this important data un-analyzed!
For example, there can be a huge difference between the actual and average grant amounts. Let’s look at the “Arts, Cultures & Humanities” category to dive deeper into this.
The average grant amount for this category is listed as $5,000. However, when you look at the subcategories, you can see that many of the actual grants awarded far exceed that average amount. “Science & Technology Museums”, “Children’s Museums”, “Television”, and “Performing Arts” were all awarded grants averaging $25,000.
This is valuable insight! It’s a clear indicator that if your project falls into one of those subcategories, you stand to possibly be awarded far more than the average grant amount for the overall category.
You would never guess this information just from looking at the category averages and likely severely underestimate the potential that the Dr. Scholl Foundation grant program has for your organization.
Add a score in the range of 0-2 to your funder score to indicate whether the Dr. Scholl Foundation’s funding for your niche is what you desire.
Add this when the Dr. Scholl Foundation's funding for your niche lies below your desired amount.
Add this when the Dr. Scholl Foundation's funding for your niche is around your desired amount.
Add this when the Dr. Scholl Foundation's funding for your niche is greater than your desired amount.
#3 Openness to New Grantees and Their Average Grant Amounts
There is no “perfect ratio” when it comes to new versus repeat grantees, but our experience shows us that having a 40% to 60% ratio is a good place to start.
Since 2017, about 40% of the Dr. Scholl Foundation’s grants have been awarded to new grantees.
However, keep in mind that the average grant amount awarded to new grantees is only about half of what is awarded to repeat grantees, as you can see in the chart below.
Scoring Criterion #5
If you are a new grantee, add the Dr. Scholl Foundation's proportion of giving to new grantees to your funder score.
If you are a repeat grantee, add the Dr. Scholl Foundation's proportion of giving to repeat grantees to your funder score.
Make sure to convert the percentages into decimals (e.g. add 0.3 for 30%) and round them to the nearest 10th (e.g. add 0.4 for 0.36 or 0.3 for 0.33).
Add if you are a new grantee for Dr. Scholl Foundation.
Add this if you are a repeat grantee for Dr. Scholl Foundation
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#4: [Bonus Tip] Geographic Distribution of Past Grantees
Ready for a bonus tip? Funders are often prone to supporting certain geographic areas over others. These insights are super valuable, as they will help you determine if your location falls within the areas that the Dr. Scholl Foundation has previously supported.
Looking at the map above, you can see that states shaded in white are those that have not historically been awarded grants by the Foundation. These include Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Alabama.
States that are shaded in light purple are those that have been sparsely represented. In the case of the Dr. Scholl Foundation, those include New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Texas.
States shaded in darker purple are those that are frequently awarded funding. Only Illinois is shaded dark purple on the above map.
Remember—location is only one of the many variables that you should consider when you are evaluating a funder. If your state isn’t historically represented, but you align with the Foundation’s mission and vision, and score well on the other criteria, it is still possible that you would be awarded a grant!
Scoring Criterion #6
Add a score in the range of 0-3 to your funder score to indicate whether or not your organization’s state has been historically represented.
Add this when your state isn't historically represented - shaded in white - among past grantees.
Add this when your state is sparsely represented - shaded in light purple - among past grantees.
Add this when your state is represented more heavily - shaded in darker purple - among past grantees.
Add this when your state is represented most heavily - shaded in darkest purple - among past grantees.
Dr. Scholl Foundation: Key People and Past Grantees
At this point, you should be feeling confident about whether or not the Dr. Scholl Foundation is a good fit for your organization. And you’re probably wondering—now what?
We have two main action items to share with you before we wrap up.
Action Item #1: Get in Touch with the Dr. Scholl Foundation’s Key People
Even though the Dr. Scholl Foundation’s grants are not invitation-only, networking with the Foundation's key players is a great way to bring visibility to your work and increase your odds of receiving a grant.
It is pretty unlikely that you know anyone at the Foundation to reach out to, but that is where Instrumentl can help. The “Key People” report includes a list of the Foundation’s employees by name and title.
From this list, you can determine who the best person is to reach out to and begin building a relationship. How you do this is up to you—you can send a handwritten card asking for a meeting, connect on a social media platform such as LinkedIn, or invite them to your organization’s next community event.
No matter which of these strategies you choose, you now have a list of the right folks at your fingertips to begin communicating with.
Action Item #2: Contact Past Grantees
No one has better, more accurate insight into the nuances of the Dr. Scholl Foundation’s grant process than those who have applied and been awarded funds in the past.
Using Instrumentl’s past grantees feature, you can identify a handful of past grantees who have been awarded an amount in your expected range, and reach out to them for advice. It’s quite possible that you’ll get some incredible insight from them to help you tweak and adapt your approach, hopefully leading to a successful proposal and a grant award!
Foundations Similar to Dr. Scholl Foundation
If the Dr. Scholl Foundation turned out to not be the best fit for your organization, don’t fret! It’s good that you made that determination now before you spend your time and energy writing a grant.
Here’s a set of other grantmaking foundations that are similar to the Dr. Scholl Foundation, but might be a better fit for you.
The Seabury Foundation
J.S. Frank Foundation
Kaplan Family Foundation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Wrapping Up: Next Steps to Take from Here
The Dr. Scholl Foundation is a key player in the world of philanthropy, and contributes to causes such as education, social services, healthcare, and many others.
Before you invest your valuable time and energy into writing a grant proposal to the Foundation, you need to understand whether or not your project is a good fit.
Throughout this article, you’ve been scoring yourself on various scoring criteria to help you come to this determination. Now it’s time to add up your score and see what your final rating is!
Great fit: 8.5 - 11
Good fit: 3.8 - 7.8
Bad fit: <= 0.8
If it’s not a good fit, don’t worry. We gave you a list of other foundations to explore that may better align with your projects and programs. And now you know exactly what you are looking for when determining funder fit. The data from a funder’s 990 is invaluable and can help you identify trends in giving that you otherwise would miss.
And don’t forget - Instrumentl can help you sift through all that valuable data and help you find hundreds of good-fit funders. Create your account today!
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