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.

The spring grant cycle closes March 5, 2021. Awards will be made in May.

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.

When is the grant cycle for 2020-2021?

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 during the time period of October 2020 to May 2021, but not both. All final reports from previous grant awards must be completed before a new application will be considered.

The fall grant cycle closes on October 16, 2020. Awards will be made in late December. The spring grant cycle closes on March 5, 2021. Awards will be made in late May.

Who is eligible?

Religious orders of men and women in the United States with retired, aged and infirm members may apply for funds to assist with an immediate retirement need. Please remember that funding in consecutive years is not automatically approved. A congregation may submit one grant application in either the spring or fall cycle, but not both, in which funding is requested for one project. SOAR! will not accept multiple applications from a single congregation. If the project encompasses more than one location (for example, medical equipment for multiple facilities or houses of a single congregation) please detail the request in a single application. Applications from congregations with a pending final report from a previous grant award will not be considered for new grant funding.

What are the priority areas for funding?

  • Needs directly related to retired, elderly or infirm members of religious congregations;
  • Therapeutic and medical equipment;
  • Adequate and safe housing for retired and infirm members.

Some examples include: bathroom renovations; mobility improvements like automatic doors, handrails, ramps, stair chairs and elevators; safety and nurse call/alert systems; hospital beds/infirmary renovation; window/roof replacement; kitchen renovation; special needs (assistive devices, generators). An application for capital improvements to buildings will only be considered if the project directly improves the quality of life for aging religious.

What are some examples of unacceptable areas for funding?

SOAR! is unable to provide funding for:

  • Ongoing living expenses of retired religious in assisted living or skilled nursing facilities;
  • Contributions to retirement funds;
  • Construction of new buildings;
  • Operational or living expenses;
  • Cosmetic improvements that do not directly relate to the physical well-being of the retired religious;
  • Proposals which request partial funding for large projects if additional funds have not been secured.

What is the average amount of a grant award?

SOAR! typically awards grants between $1,000 and $25,000. The average amount awarded is around $18,000.

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 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 including the percentage of use by aging religious and the number of aging religious who will be served by the vehicle.

Should congregations whose applications were declined reapply?

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. Grant submissions from congregations that are less than 50% funded for retirement will receive priority.

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.

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 be 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 — including quotes from aging religious who have benefitted from the project
  • Expenditure report of budget and actual expenses (attach copies of receipts)
  • Photos

Do I have to create an account to access the online application?

Yes; the account also allows you to save and return to your application, and, if your congregation is awarded a grant, you will use the same account to submit your final report. You can use the same account to apply every year.

How can I retrieve my forgotten password?

Click “FORGOT PASSWORD?” on the login screen to reset your password.

I’ve forgotten my username! Can you help?

Your username is the email address you used to create your online account. If you cannot remember which email address you used, call the SOAR! office at (202) 529-7627 or email grants@soar-usa.org for assistance.

Can I transfer my online account to a different grant writer?

To transfer your online account to a different grant writer, call the SOAR! office at (202) 529-7627 or email grants@soar-usa.org.

What if my congregation does not have an NRRO Needs Analysis Report?

An NRRO Needs Analysis Report from the USCCB National Religious Retirement Office is required for all grant applications.

Are there any system requirements for submitting an online application?

There are no system requirements for completing an online grant application.

Is the information I submit online secure?

Your information is very secure. The provider of the online application, Blackbaud GIFTS Online, uses SSL data encryption to keep your information safe.

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