Direct Service Grants

RRF awards Direct Service Grants for projects that:

  • Increase the availability and effectiveness of comprehensive community programs that will enable older persons to continue living in their homes

  • Provide supportive services to older persons in residential settings, such as congregate living facilities, group homes, and assisted living facilities

  • Coordinate the provision of care and services for older persons with chronic conditions who live in community settings 

  • Provide new and expanded opportunities for older persons to remain meaningfully engaged in community life, including intergenerational programs

Direct Service Grants are provided to nonprofit organizations that are:

  • Looking to enhance new direct service programs or significantly expand existing programs that intentionally focus on persons, ages 65 and older
  • Located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin, or Florida (or implementing a direct service project specific to one of these states)

Please review our general grant exclusions before applying for a grant.

Please review the Foundation’s eligibility requirements and exclusions before beginning the application process. If, after reviewing the eligibility requirements and exclusions you have sufficient reason to believe that the Foundation’s interest areas and funding preferences are compatible with the need of your organization, submit a Letter of Inquiry.

RRF has three deadlines for Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) and three deadlines for grant applications. Please note, RRF’s application process will be updated for the June 15th LOI deadline and August 1st proposal deadline. Current instructions will still apply for those submitting for the May 1st proposal deadline. Visit this page in early May or sign up for RRF’s newsletter to be alerted once updated instructions and procedures are available.

Organizations may submit only one proposal or Letter of Inquiry per grant cycle. Common exceptions include proposals submitted by separate departments of large universities.

Proposals and LOIs will be accepted no later than 11:59 PM (CT) of the deadline day. If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, proposals and LOIs will be accepted as late as 5:00 PM (CT) the following workday.

4/15/21: Please note, our LOI submission form is now closed. New instructions and procedures for the June 15th LOI deadline will be published soon. Visit this page in early May or sign up for RRF’s newsletter to be alerted once updated instructions and procedures are published.

RRF acknowledges the time and effort needed to submit a proposal and requires interested applicants to submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI).

This step is optional, but strongly encouraged, as it offers valuable one-time feedback as you prepare a full proposal.

The LOI should be submitted online using the link that will appear on this page in May. 

Please submit your LOIs according to these deadlines:

Submit LOI by:For the Following Proposal Deadline:
December 1February 1
March 15May 1
June 15August 1

LOIs will be accepted no later than 11:59 PM (CT) of the deadline day. If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, proposals and LOIs will be accepted as late as 5:00 PM (CT) the following workday.

Include the following information in your Letter of Inquiry submission:

  • Organization name and location
  • Identify which of RRF’s priority areas your project addresses (if any). Select only the primary area. If your project does not address a priority area, indicate why your project presents a promising opportunity to improve the quality of life of older people.
  • Timeframe
  • Estimated project cost, amount of funding already secured (if applicable), and amount requested from RRF
  • Brief outline or description of the project and what you intend to accomplish
  • Target population and geographic area for your project
  • Brief statement of need
  • Proposed objectives and outcomes
  • Principal proposed activities
  • Evaluation criteria and methods

Please note, RRF’s application process will be updated for the June 15th LOI deadline and August 1st proposal deadline. Current instructions will still apply for those submitting for the May 1st proposal deadline. Visit this page in early May or sign up for RRF’s newsletter to be alerted once updated instructions and procedures are available.

Proposals will be accepted no later than 11:59 PM (CT) of the deadline day. If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, proposals will be accepted as late as 5:00 PM (CT) the following workday.

RRF requests that all proposals include the components outlined below.  You will upload each of these documents as individual files via our online application.

Formatting Guidelines: 

  • Kindly use a 12-point Arial font.
  • Word documents should be single-spaced with 1” margins.
  • The Executive Summary, Proposal Narrative, Budget Narrative, and Timeline are to be uploaded as Microsoft Office documents (.doc/.docx or .xls files).
  • The Budget should be uploaded as a Microsoft Excel file.
  • Please note that, except for the Executive Summary and Bios/Resumes, there is no page or length restriction.
  1. The Executive Summary is a separate two- to three-page summary that concisely describes the project. The Executive Summary offers a succinct overview of your project and allows RRF to understand what you are trying to accomplish. Include brief information about the project’s need, objectives, methods, total cost, and the amount requested from RRF.
  2. The Proposal Narrative provides an opportunity for you to describe your project thoroughly to RRF by addressing the following:
    • Applicant Organization
      • Include a brief history of your organization, recent accomplishments, and the organization’s qualifications to lead this project
    • Project Significance
      • Importance and relevance of the proposed project
      • Background information on the issue(s) to be addressed
      • Anticipated contribution of the project
    • Project Goals and SMART Objectives
      • Concisely state the goals of your project and list Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound (SMART) objectives to achieve the goals. For more information, read RRF’s Guide on Developing SMART Objectives
      • Include anticipated outcomes and/or accomplishments
    • Proposed Methods 
      • Strategies and methods your organization will use for program expansion or implementation
      • Sequence of your work
      • Target population to be served, eligibility criteria, and recruitment measures
      • Resources needed for delivery
    • Evaluation 
      • The outcomes or impact you expect your work to have
      • Outcomes or impact that will be measured
      • How you will measure progress toward objectives
      • Types of information that will be collected and how you will collect it
      • For more information about evaluation, see RRF’s evaluation guidelines
    • Dissemination
      • While Direct Service Grants do not require a dissemination section, you may include information about how and with whom you will share the impact of your project, if applicable
    • Plans for Continued Support
      • Describe plans for continued support if the project is expected to operate beyond the period for which grant funds are requested
    • Personnel
      • Describe the key personnel and their qualifications to lead this effort
      • Include job descriptions for any staff to be hired
  3. The Budget, Budget Narrative, and Timeline will be uploaded as three individual Microsoft Office documents.  While RRF does not require a standard form for these documents, samples are provided for illustrative purposes.  You may use more than one page for each document.
    • The Line Item Budget includes all expenses and income, including grant funds requested from RRF and funds received and/or requested from other sources for this project, if any. Please include the percentage of time allocated for project staff.  Up to 10% of the funds requested from RRF may be allocated for indirect project costs. See RRF’s Budget Sample.
    • The Budget Narrative describes how the budget relates to the proposed project activities. Budget narratives generally contain a description for each line item identified in the budget, explaining how the request amount was computed. See RRF’s Budget Narrative Sample.
    • The Timeline corresponds directly to the activities that are described in the proposal. See RRF’s Timeline Sample.
  4. In addition to the documents listed above, you will also be asked to upload:
    • The Signature Page to provide proof of who in your organization has authorized this project. See RRF's Authorized Signatures Page
    • Resumes of no more than 2-3 pages for the Project Director and other key project staff. Include job descriptions for positions to be filled. Upload in one file
    • Current Board of Directors roster with affiliations. Upload in one file
    • Signed letters of support/commitment, if applicable. Upload in one file
      • Submit signed letters of support, letters of commitment, and/or memoranda of understanding from relevant stakeholders, collaborators, and/or consultants. Be sure all letters are personalized and express a clear understanding of the project, of roles collaborators will play, and any financial agreements.
    • IRS 501(c)(3) designation letter or other evidence of federal nonprofit status
    • Most recent audited financial report (preferred) or IRS 990
    • Most recent annual report (an optional item)

RRF has an online process to submit grant requests.

Please read the following instructions carefully before beginning a new online application. RRF recommends printing or saving these instructions for reference when continuing work on an application.

A. How to Create an RRF Online Application Account and Start an Application:

  1. Google Chrome will not work properly with RRF’s grant portal. You must use another Internet Browser to prevent issues while applying, such as Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, or Microsoft Edge.
  2. Only click on this button ONCE to login or create your RRF Online Application Account and create a form for a new application. Clicking on this button more than once will result in multiple blank application forms.
  3. Select Continue an Application in the sidebar if you want to continue working on an in-progress application.
  4. The first time you apply, you will need to click on the New Applicant? button located below the E-mail field to create your account.
  5. Once you sign in or create an account, a new online application form will be created. When you finish a section of the form, click on the Next button displayed at the bottom of the screen to continue to the next section.  If you need to stop working on the form before it is complete, click on the Save & Finish Later button, so that you can return to the application at a later date. We recommend saving your application regularly (every thirty minutes) to avoid timeout errors.

B. Tips for Continuing to Work on an RRF Online Application:

Please note inactive applications will be purged from our system following 120 days of inactivity.

To continue working on an RRF online application form, click on the Continue an Application button.

If you have multiple application forms listed, please delete each blank, unneeded form by clicking on the garbage can icon displayed to the right of the application form’s listing in your online account.

If you encounter issues or have any unanswered questions, please contact RRF Foundation for Aging at 773-714-8080 or via email.

The due dates for all grant reports are listed on page four of the RRF Grant Award Letters sent to applicants who are awarded grants.

The need for both interim reports and a final report is at the discretion of the RRF Program Officer assigned to a grant. Therefore, interim reports may be required for some grants, but not for others.

Grantees will submit their reports electronically via the applicable report form(s) uploaded into the grantees’ RRF Online Applications and Requirements accounts. Grantees will receive an email notifying them when the applicable report form(s) have been uploaded into their account. In addition, they will receive instructions about how to access the forms via an RRF Online Applications and Requirements Account.

Documents describing the information to be included in the grant report(s) may be accessed via the links below:

Interim Reporting Requirements For RRF Grantees

Final Reporting Requirements For RRF Grantees

Things to Know

Learn about general grant exclusions, search our FAQs, read evaluation guidelines and learn how to develop SMART objectives.

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