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The following frequently asked questions may be helpful in completing the SOAR! grant application. If you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to contact the SOAR! office at (202) 529-7627 or email grants@soar-usa.org.

How do I get help for technical issues when applying for a grant or submitting a final report?

We have created a series of help videos to assist with technical issues you may encounter with your application or final report. We encourage applicants to watch the help videos before contacting SOAR! as the videos will offer visual step by step instructions to the most commonly asked questions we receive. You can view those videos here. If your question is not addressed in the videos, contact SOAR! at (202) 529-7627 or grants@soar-usa.org.

How does my congregation apply?

Visit our online application to set up an account and begin the process. You will need to include a cover letter, your most recent NRRO Retirement Needs Analysis Report, copies of 2 bids, and a detailed project budget. The account allows you to save and return to your application. If your congregation is awarded a grant you will use the same account to submit your final report. You will use the same account to apply every year.

When is the next grant cycle?

SOAR! is now offering an opportunity to apply for a grant either in the fall or spring. Congregations may submit a grant for either of these cycles. All final reports from previous grant awards must be completed before a new application will be considered.

A congregation may apply for a grant in either the fall or spring.

The next fall grant cycle opens on August 11, 2023 and closes on October 13, 2023. Awards will be made in late December.

The next spring grant cycle opens on January 5, 2024 and closes on March 8, 2024. Awards will be made in late May.

Who is eligible?

Religious orders of women and men in the United States with retired, aged and infirm members may apply for funds to assist with an immediate retirement need. A congregation may submit one grant application in either the fall or spring cycle. Congregations must submit final reports from previous grant awards before applying for new funding. An NRRO Needs Analysis Report from the USCCB National Religious Retirement Office is required for all grant applications.

What are the priority areas for funding?

In addition to safety improvements, our funding priorities are for projects that address quality of life for retired, elderly or infirm members of religious congregations.

Some examples include: technology upgrades or equipment, adaptive furniture, therapy or medical equipment, assistive devices, accessible vehicles, improved lighting or sound systems, automatic doors, generators, security systems, programs to address the needs of aging members with dementia or mental health concerns, and assessments or skilled professional services to aid in future plans for congregations.

What are some examples of projects that would not be considered for funding?

SOAR! is unable to provide funding for:

  • Projects that benefit those other than aging and infirm members;
  • Ongoing living expenses
  • Contributions to retirement funds
  • Operational or staffing costs
  • Proposals which request partial funding for large projects if additional funds have not been secured

What is the average amount of a grant award?

The average amount awarded is around $21,000, with a grant maximum of $50,000. If the project cost is more than $50,000, contact Kristen Wise to determine grant eligibility at grants@soar-usa.org or (202) 529-7627.

Will SOAR! fund our congregation’s capital campaign?

SOAR! ordinarily does not award grants for capital campaigns. SOAR! will consider applications for a particular project within a campaign if the project directly benefits aging religious and can be completed independently of the overall capital campaign. SOAR! will not make an outright donation to a capital campaign.

Does SOAR! fund requests for vehicles?

SOAR! will consider requests for funds to purchase a vehicle. All grant applications for vehicles must describe the intended use of the vehicle and the number of aging religious who will be served by the vehicle.

Should congregations whose applications were declined reapply?

Yes! The SOAR! board of directors welcomes applications from religious congregations that require financial assistance to provide critically needed items to care for their retired and infirm members.

When should a congregation apply for an emergency grant?

Emergency grants are awarded to congregations when there is a time-sensitive, urgent need that affects the safety and well-being of retired members of a religious community. Past emergency grants include a fire alarm system mandated by the state fire marshal in order for the retirement facility to remain open and a new air conditioning system to protect the elderly members of a congregation from heat-related illnesses. If you would like to apply for an emergency grant contact grants@soar-usa.org

When is the final report due?

All final reports from previous grant awards must be completed before a new application will be considered. You can submit your final report here. Any deviation from the expenditure timeline, approved project budget or specifications must have the prior written approval of SOAR! The final report should consist of the following items:

  • Narrative Summary
  • How this project will affect the lives of aging religious
  • Quotes from aging religious who have benefitted from the project
  • Expenditure report of budget and actual expenses (attach copies of receipts);
  • Photos of aging members who benefited from the project, not just project photos in JPG format only

For additional information or clarification please contact the SOAR! office at (202) 529-7627 or by email at grants@soar-usa.org.