Schenectady's Community Foundation

The Schenectady Foundation was established in 1963 to benefit the people who live and work in Schenectady County, NY.  To-date we have invested about $22 million into our communities.


Foundation to Make Community Investments of $1.35 million in 2018

In 2018, the Foundation anticipates investing $1.35 million in the community through grants, community initiatives and scholarship programs.

The Foundation particularly seeks opportunities to invest approximately $1.1 million into programs with promise for high impact. The following are focus areas in which the Foundation’s 2018 priorities for competitive grant funding will lie, as well as the target for total investment in each focus area:

  • Call to Action for Schenectady's Youth -- $450,000
  • Neighborhood Revitalization -- $330,000
  • Capacity Building and/or "Open Grants" -- $275,000
  • Micro-Grants -- $55,000
  • Scholarships -- $30,000

The Foundation will contribute an additional $245,000 through its continued leadership role with the Schenectady County Weekend Backpack Partnership, as well as through its matching of funds raised for the Call to Action for Youth and the Schenectady STEM Alliance.

Catalytic and Transformative

The Foundation's emerging role is as a catalyst for community change. We are particularly interested in projects-- large or small -- where our injection of funding and engagement can more quickly and significantly deliver impact in our areas of focus. In our role as catalyst we may make initial investments to bring a project to a stronger level of impact over one to three years, but we rarely provide a high level of support for longer periods of time.

We also believe in supporting projects that have the potential to be transformative -- causing marked change in people, organizations, neighborhoods, and the broader community.  We prioritize our involvement in transformational projects and movements.


The Foundation has a two-step online grant process.  The first required submission is a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) which provides a general overview of the proposed project.  Upon acceptance of the LOI, applicants are provided with access to the full grant application. Note that for programs previously funded, grantees in good standing may be approved to bypass the LOI stage.

The Foundation has a "Micro-Grants" program -- an abbreviated process for consideration of requests of $10,000 or less. Organizations might consider applying for a Micro-Grant for planning, research and development of future projects, or to get pilot projects off the ground in anticipation of being able to bring the program to scale in the future.  While the maximum Micro-Grant award is $10,000, the average Micro-Grant awards fall into the $3,000-$6,000 range.

Please review our grant Criteria and Eligibility prior to getting started. This information is used to guide the grant decisions of the Distribution Committee.


It is a core value and responsibility of the Foundation to be a good steward of the funds gifted to us by donors. Given that there are 150 non-profit entities within Schenectady County -- most of them in need of philanthropic support -- the Foundation must be highly selective in its funding decisions. Most years, funding requests far exceed our available financial resources. We prioritize those grant requests most likely to have a significant impact in our areas of strategic focus. 

Of high importance to the Foundation are the measurable outcomes that can be achieved with our support.  The use of measurable outcomes may be new to some applicants, as is the “logic model” that is used to convey an applicant’s projected achievements. As such, the Foundation has developed a template to assist applicants with completion of the required logic model. Please review the Outcomes Guidebook for more information. Completion of the Logic Model worksheet is required for all grant requests, except for Micro-Grants.


Getting Started with Your Application

To access The Schenectady Foundation's online grant application site, please follow this link:  Foundation Online Grants.  If you are a new applicant, you will first need to establish an account.  If you have previously applied for funding through our grants portal, you may log on with your email address and password.  For assistance with your online grant application, please review the step-by-step instructions here, or if you require additional assistance, you may contact our office at (518) 393-9500.


Submission of Letters of Inquiry

Letters of Inquiry (LOI) may be submitted through the Foundation’s grant portal at any time. The Foundation strives to respond to completed LOIs within 30 days of submission. During the review period, applicants may be asked to submit additional information, or to meet with Foundation staff.

LOIs that are accepted will be moved immediately to the grant stage.

In general, the Foundation aims to serve as a catalyst for change, whereby its one-time financial support is used to assist an organization to secure plans for program/project sustainability. There are exceptions, however, where the Foundation may be able to consider a previously-funded project (for a total of up to three years) to ensure the project becomes sustainable, or is brought to scale. In such cases, the applicant will not be required to submit an LOI, but rather to discuss the next application with Foundation staff.

Submission of Grant Applications

Grant applications are to be submitted through the Foundation’s grant portal.  Those submitted by the pre-determined due dates - and that meet all requirements for completeness and substance - will be forwarded to the Foundation Board for consideration, approximately 5 weeks after submission due dates. The Foundation’s practice is to meet with each applicant, along with Board members with availability, to ensure that all decision-makers understand the proposed project, and have the opportunity to fully explore the potential of the project.

Once grant conferences take place, applicants can reasonably expect to be notified of funding decisions within approximately 2-3 weeks. Applicants will receive phone and/or email communications from the Foundation staff to make them aware of final funding decisions.

Grant Application Submission Dates

Please review the 2018 Grant Application submission dates.

If you have any questions regarding the process, please contact Kristi Miller by email at or by phone at (518) 393-9500.



Erbacher Scholarship

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/images/Young Teacher and students.jpgThe Anna Hudson Erbacher Scholarship program was founded in 1973 from a charitable trust established by John N. Erbacher in memory of his wife, Anna. A teacher in the Schenectady School system, Anna taught at Riverside school in Schenectady's Stockade when it was first opened. She graduated from New York University with both a master's and bachelor's degrees in Education, and she was a passionate, dedicated educator throughout her life. This scholarship is intended to support students who share her passion to teach.

The scholarship provides a total of $10,000 per recipient, paid in equal installments of $2,500 per year, subject to continued qualification. The Foundation generally awards two new scholarships each year. The selection of scholarship recipients is based on academic performance, financial need, character, and extracurricular activities. 

Payment of the grant is made directly to the college upon receipt of satisfactory evidence of enrollment and billing.  Grant funding may be used for tuition, room and board, activity fees, and any direct costs that are billed through the bursar's office.

Applications are made available on the Foundation's website in January of each year. Erbacher Scholarship winners are announced in May. 

To be eligible, the student must:

  • reside in Schenectady County, New York
  • be a graduating senior from a high school in Schenectady County;
  • pursue a teaching career by enrolling in appropriate coursework at the college or university; and
  • maintain good academic standing.

Click here to see recent recipients of the Erbacher scholarship. 

Schenectady STEM Scholarship

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/images/STEM.jpgThanks to a gift from the estate of Sanford A. and Marilyn Shuler, the Schenectady STEM Scholarship (Clarence E. Crowfoot and Mary Clarke Fund) was created to assist graduating seniors of Schenectady High School who intend to pursue engineering or science majors in college. The scholarship is for $5,000, and may be paid over four years.  Criteria for the selection of recipients include academic performance and financial need. 

Click here to see recent recipients of the STEM Scholarship. 

For additional information on Foundation scholarships, please contact Jean Churchill at