Funding Process

Giving Policy

  • The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation provides support for projects that we believe will make the greatest possible impact for promoting the appreciation of Suffolk County heritage and for preserving local historical collections and structures.
  • To that end, our grant programs are highly competitive.
    The Foundation aims to invest in activities that will have a long-term, sustainable influence in the preservation of Suffolk County heritage and also upon the ability of relevant organizations to carry out their missions. Candidates for funding must​ demonstrate 1) their ability to financially sustain the project and 2) that the project contributes to the sustainability of the organization.
  • The Foundation seeks to support organizations that demonstrate strong and organized internal capacity; effectiveness in their field; and the financial and human resources as well as intellectual capacity to manage the project successfully. No more than two proposals may be submitted in one year by any single organization or entity.

Application Assessement: What We Look For

  • Sustainability | The organization shows the ability to financially sustain the project indefinitely and the project contributes to the sustainability of the organization.
  • Organizational Capacity | The organization demonstrates the financial and human resources, as well as intellectual capacity to manage the project successfully.
  • Organizational Impact | Projects address a key goal identified in an organization's strategic plan.
  • Community Impact | Projects will benefit and enhance the knowledge of the target audience and/or local community.
  • In Depth Knowledge | Proposals reflect a thorough understanding of current practice and knowledge about the subject matter.
  • Project-Based Design | Work plans consist of a set of logical, interrelated activities tied directly to addressing the key need or challenge identified in the proposal.
  • Demonstrable Results | Projects generate measurable results that tie directly to the need or challenge it was designed to address.
  • Sensible and Justifiable Budget | Applicants craft a budget well-suited to both the scope of the project and the organization’s capacity; the amount requested should neither be inflated nor insufficient to complete the project successfully.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must be non-profit, qualifying as exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Historical societies, historians, anthropologists, academic institutions, museums and similar organizations are welcome to apply.
  • Applicants must have submitted a final grant report for any completed project previously funded by the Gardiner Foundation.
  • The project must have a clearly outlined project plan and accompanying activities.
  • The organization must demonstrate its vital role as a cultural entity in its community - enhancing education, promoting interest in and understanding of living history or preserving societal heritage.

Funding Priorities

  • Objects Conservation: Cataloging & Digital Imaging, Conservation of Objects, Collections Care, Acquisitions
  • Historic Preservation: Cultural Resource/Historic Landscape Survey, Historic Structure Report/Condition Assessment, Structural Stabilization/Restoration, Adaptive Reuse/New Construction (Structural Stabilization/Restoration, Adaptive Use/New Construction projects are defined as proposals seeking funding to restore or construct a new facility or add to a current facility or purchase equipment with an expected useful life of at least three years.
  • Programs: Higher Education, Community Education, Primary/Secondary Education, Outreach Programs, Research (including archeology), Exhibition, Events/Community Activities
  • Capacity Building: New technology equipment (e.g. computers); volunteer development; temporary consultant; strategic planning; staff training and internal operations planning, resource development planning; customer service and program delivery planning; marketing and communications planning; community engagement/partnership development; board, governance or leadership

Review Procedure

  • Applications are routed through the Foundation's Executive Director for initial review. Applications requiring specific technical knowledge will be reviewed by industry experts whose input will be used for recommendations. The Board of Directors reviews grant applications two times per year and votes based on recommendations made at the meeting dates. The Board may make a determination of "awarded" or "not awarded," however in some cases they may return the proposal, requesting edits or additional information. Notifications are sent by mail shortly thereafter.


If the grant is awarded, the grantee will receive a detailed award agreement. In addition:

  • Grantees must agree to open their doors for visits by representatives of The Foundation for the purpose of assessing progress of the funded project. This applies especially to restoration and structural projects.
  • Grantees must agree not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, creed, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, mental and physical disabilities, gender, pregnancy, gender identity or expression, political affiliation or veteran status.
  • Grantees must report project outcomes and detailed expense accounting at the end of each year of the grant term from the date of award.
  • Grantees must acknowledge the gift from The Foundation in web-based and print materials and signage as appropriate. Foundation logo will be made available to the​ grantee for this purpose.