The following frequently asked questions may be helpful in completing the SOAR! grant application. If you have any addition questions please do not hesitate to contact Kristen Wise via email or by phone at (202) 529-7627.

How does my congregation apply?

Download the Retirement Needs Grant Application and return completed application and materials requested in the Retirement Needs Grant Guidelines including cover letter, most recent NRRO Retirement Needs Analysis Report Sections I-V, copies of 2 bids, and a detailed project budget.

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 per cycle 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 reward 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?

In 2015, the average grants awarded was $18,000. SOAR! typically awards grants between $1,000 and $25,000.

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?

A final report is due on January 31 each year and must be submitted before applying for funding in the next grant cycle. Any deviation from the expenditure timeline, approved project budget or specifications must be have the prior written approval of SOAR! The final report of 1-3 pages must consist of the following items:

  • Narrative Summary
  • How this project will affect the lives of aging religious?
  • Expenditure report of budget and actual expenses (attach copies of receipts)
  • Photos

For additional information or clarification please contact Kristen Wise via email or by phone at (202) 529-7627.