Connelly Foundation 101: What Philadelphia-Area Grantseekers Need to Know

  hebstreit /shutterstock


It’s been a while since we last checked in with the Connelly Foundation, so we thought it was high time to see what this Pennsylvania funder has been up to. Based in West Conshohocken, just 15 miles northwest of Philadelphia, this is a religious funder deeply involved with Catholic education.

However, this is also a very accessible funder and a good one to know for a variety of nonprofits working in the area. Here are the basics and key points about Connelly Foundation giving that grantseekers in the region should be aware of.

Funding Is Strictly Regional

Connelly takes a very regional approach to its funding, looking beyond its home city, but not quite state-wide. Geographic areas of interest for the foundation are the cities of Philadelphia and Camden, as well as the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery.

Grantees Aren’t Just Catholic Schools

Local nonprofits might be quick to write off the Connelly Foundation as a strictly Catholic school funder, but that would be a mistake. Historically, Connelly’s giving has been broader, backing health, human services, civic and cultural groups in the region. For example, the funder gave $200,000 to the Boys and Girls Club in Philadelphia to rebuild and renovate seven clubs. It also gave $25,000 to Philadelphia Futures for its college connection program. Meanwhile, Bridge of Hope, a group dedicated to ending hopelessness in Coatesville, received a Connelly grant for general operating support. A full list of grants awarded by year can be viewed here.

Grantseeker tip: Focus your civic and culture requests on projects that give people a deeper appreciation of Philadelphia’s heritage. Health and human services grant requests can address things like housing, food, basic healthcare or jobs.

However, access to elementary and secondary Catholic schools within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is still the funder’s top priority. The foundation’s main goal in this area is to help schools build capacity and remain a viable and attractive choice for families looking for a high-quality and values-based school environment.

Many Types of Support Are Awarded

This is a funder you can go to for many types of needs, not just program support. In addition to that, Connelly funds general operating support, technology, equipment and capital support for renovations and new buildings. These types of support extend to all of the funder’s areas of interest.

The Application Process is Very Straightforward

Philadelphia-area grantseekers can relax a little because the Connelly Foundation grant application process is refreshingly easy and responsive. There aren’t any submission deadlines, and the foundation wants a comprehensive proposal packet to review right off the bat. The application form is available on the funder’s website.

You’ll receive acknowledgement of your proposal within two weeks, which may be followed by a phone conference or site visit. From start to finish, you should get a final “yes” or “no” to your proposal within three months. The only downside, here, is that electronic submissions aren’t accepted, so you’ll have to send your proposal in by snail mail.  

In the most recent financial data available, the foundation had over $266 million in total net assets. Grantmaking typically averages about $9 million per year.

Related: Which Philadelphia Funder Thinks Catholic Schools are Better Than Charter Schools?