Guidelines for Unspent Grant Funds

We encourage and expect applicants to take particular care in submitting realistic and carefully cultivated financial needs of their organization. In signing a grant contract, it is conditional on the following: “any portion of grant funds unexpended at the end of the grant period shall be returned immediately to Phillips Charitable Foundation, unless a request for an extension has been approved.” The guidelines outlined here explains how this process, should it be needed, is handled.

Several factors may result in grantees not fully expending their grant funds. Some of these factors can be avoided, including:

  • Inaccurate cost estimates included with grant request
  • Requesting what you think might be approved rather than exactly what is needed

Other factors may arise after the grant is approved and sometimes are outside of your control including:

  • A delayed start-up
  • Increased funding from other sources
  • Cost savings
  • Changing prices
  • A change in the project scope
  • Receipt of in-kind donations

To avoid those factors that are within your control, we encourage grant applicants to think through the costs, plans, and needs prior to completing the grant application. Developing a realistic estimate up-front will avoid problems at the end.  We encourage applicants to ask for what is needed rather than what they think may be approved. We want to see real needs and specific problems that funding can help resolve.

Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions about unspent funds.

What happens if we do not fully expend our grant before the end of the grant period?

    You may submit a request for a project/budget revision or a grant extension, this request must be consistent with your original objectives. Should your request be approved you may proceed in accordance with the approved project/budget revision or grant extension.
    If you do not request a project/budget revision or grant extension, or one was not approved, at the end of your grant period the unspent balance of the grant funds must be returned to the Foundation.

What if our project is delayed and we cannot complete the project before the grant end-date?

    We understand that from time to time this could happen. You should request a grant extension explaining the delay and stating when the project is likely to be completed. If the request is approved, you will have until the grant extension date to complete your project. If it is not approved, grant funds must be returned to the Foundation.

What should we do if our project is complete, but we have grant funds remaining?

    It depends, many factors could lead to this situation, and we would like to have a conversation with you about this. If our conversations lead to an invitation to submit a revised budget to incorporate other unfunded needs of your organization, you are encouraged to submit one for board review.

Are these requests always granted?

    No. Budget revisions and grant extensions are not granted automatically. They are reviewed for both financial, programmatic and managerial appropriateness and must meet specific Phillips Charitable Foundation guidelines.

Please note that any organization with an open grant will not be eligible to reapply until that particular grant is complete, all reporting is on file and the grant is considered closed.

If you have questions, please contact Patricia Napolitano, Manager of Grants and Due Diligence, to discuss your particular situation at



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