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EXP201H - Advanced Inquiry in Writing (Grant Writing): Step 3: Grantor Background

Using the Grantor's Website

Once you have selected a potential grantor, do your homework!

Thoroughly search the grantor's website, taking special note of the following:

  • Mission statement
  • History
  • Special programs
  • Board members, affiliations
  • Application process: guidelines, forms, format, approach, deadlines

If you can't find some of this information, don't be afraid to contact the organization directly.

Using Library Databases

Use library databases to search for articles about grantors, including the very latest news about them. If you are off-campus, you will need to use your Bentley email address and network password to gain access.

Searching for 990s

Public charities file form 990 and private foundations file form 990-PF with the IRS. Both forms include pertinent information about the organizations mission, programs and officers. The 990-PF form includes additional information on grants paid out during the last tax year and future known grants. The 990-PF form will also include information on the application process.

Foundation Center 990 Finder
Search for 990 and 990PF forms by organization using the free search from the Foundation Directory publishers.

GuideStar requires you to sign up for a free account before you can access the 990 forms. Once you log in, s
earch for an organization, click on its name, and click the tab marked "Forms 990s & Docs" - an example is below. Click here for a list of GuideStar's FAQs about 990s and searching for them.

You can also search Forms 990 on other websites, including the National Center for Charitable Statistics.


Use the Non-Profit Explorer to search over 1.8 million tax returns from tax-exempt organizations and see financial details such as their executive compensation and revenue and expenses. You can browse raw IRS data released since 2013 and access over 8.3 million tax filing documents going back as far as 2001. 

990 and 990-PF Forms with Highlights