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FAQ’s For Application Process

Browse FAQ’s For Application Process

When is the open grant cycle?

July 15th – September 30th

When is the drop deadline date?

The Norfolk Southern Foundation must receive all packages by September 30th. Post-marked on September 30th, but not received until October will NOT be accepted.

What is the Foundation’s mailing addresses?

Norfolk Southern Foundation
Attn: Rebecca Barrett, Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator
PO Box 3040
Norfolk, VA 23514-3040

What is the Foundation’s street address?

Norfolk Southern Foundation
Attn: Rebecca Barrett, Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator
3 Commercial Place
Norfolk, VA 23510

How many copies should be sent?

Only one copy should be mailed.

Who should letter be addressed to?

Rebecca Barrett
Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator

What requirements are necessary in the package?

  1. A valid 501(c)(3) or 170(c)(1) letter from the IRS
  2. A short request outlining objectives of organization, project and intended use of funds
  3. Board of Directors Listing
  4. Sources of Funding (current and potential)
  5. Last 3 Years of Financials (audited financials are preferred)
  6. A valid email address and contact phone number for person that can answer any questions  with regard to package

Can an organization submit package electronically?

At this time, no electronic submissions are accepted.

What is the timeline once package is received?

July – October

An email will be sent advising package has been received if valid email has been submitted. Please do not call to see if package has been received, unless you have not received email by November 1st. If you need immediate verification, select this option when mailing via overnight or FedEx.

November – December

Packages will be reviewed by the Vice President and Executive Officer and the Executive Director of the Foundation. If questions arise, the Executive Director will reach out to the noted contact person. Cuts will be made during these months and organizations will be notified if they have been cut via email.

December - January

Final decisions will be made by the Vice President and Executive Office and the Executive Director of the Foundation and all notifications will be by made no later than January 31st. These decisions are final.

Can an organization request a meeting to review their proposal?

Due to the volume of requests submitted, face-to-face meetings or conference calls are not typically set up. The Foundation office is staffed by only the Executive Director. The Executive Director will answer questions preferably via email ( or by phone (757.629.2633).

Can organizations apply if they have received funding in prior year from Norfolk Southern Foundation?

The answer is yes.

What are the current focus areas of the Foundation?

Community Enrichment/Arts &Culture
Mainly in our major cities (Atlanta, Norfolk and Roanoke)

Focused primarily at post-secondary level with schools, some early childhood education programs and STEM programs

Environmental Programs

Health and Human Services
Primarily focused on safety-net organizations (homeless shelters, food banks and free clinics)

What types of organizations will not be accepted?

  • Organizations not in the NS territory (must be served by Norfolk Southern to be considered)
  • Organizations that do not have a 501(c)(3) or 170(c)(1) IRS letter
  • Individuals or organizations established to help individuals
  • Religious, fraternal, social or veterans organizations
  • Political or lobbying organizations
  • Public or private elementary and secondary schools
  • Fundraising events, telethons, races or benefits
  • Sports or athletic organizations or activities
  • Community or private foundations, or other organizations that merely redistribute to other eligible organizations aggregated contributions
  • Disease-related organizations and hospitals
  • Mentoring programs
  • Boys and Girls Scout programs or similar organizations
  • Animal organizations
  • Non-US based charities
  • Organizations whose programs have national scope

How does an organization know if they are in Norfolk Southern territory?

Here is a link to our territory map. If you are served by a short line railroad, you are not in an eligible territory for funding. For those areas that show a dotted line on map, this refers to areas not directly served by Norfolk Southern, but rather a haulage agreement and is not considered Norfolk Southern territory for funding purposes. f you still have questions about eligibility based on your location, please email

Can a new organization with less than 3 years of financials apply?

Norfolk Southern Foundation prefers that organizations be established three years in order to demonstrate financial stability and proven success prior to funding.

Does Norfolk Southern fund capital requests? Provide general operating support grants?

The answer to both is yes.

Does Norfolk Southern provide sponsorships outside of the grant process? If so, what is the process for submitting a proposal?

Norfolk Southern does sponsor certain events in our territory. You may submit sponsorship requests via email to at any time. Please note though hundreds of requests are submitted yearly. We are quite selective on these sponsorships based on relationships with organizations, communities, etc. The eligibility requirements above still hold true.

What level of funding would be considered?

Grants are sent in requesting funding anywhere from $1,000 to over $100,000 for a multi-year grant. Please note though, that six-figure, multi-year grants are few in number and are not necessarily granted each year. Those organizations that receive high dollar amounts tend to be organizations that Norfolk Southern Foundation has a strong relationship with currently or has in the past.

The Foundation considers the Norfolk Southern presence in the organization’s service area as well to determine level of appropriate funding. Based on the past several years, the average grant was less than $10,000.

How many grants are actually funded each year?

This is hard to give an exact number or percentage as it changes yearly. It depends on the number of grants submitted, the types of grants submitted, funding amount requested and what long-term pledges NS has currently. This is a very competitive process as the demand far exceeds the Foundation’s resources.

What if a college or university is looking for college partnership money, does the school need to  submit a formal application?

The answer is no. Although funding does come from the Foundation for the College Partnership program, these funding decisions are made by the Human Resources group. This funding is based on their relationship to school and their recruiting efforts.

What if an organization is looking for Local Discretion money given by a division, does the organization need to apply?

The answer is no. This is separate from the Local Discretion program and an organization would need to make contact with a local NS representative for this funding.

If the organization is denied funding, may the organization receive feedback on the application?

Denial is not necessarily a reflection on the quality of the grant request or applicant organization. The volume of funding requests received precludes providing individual critiques of unsuccessful requests.


  • Apply earlier rather than later.
  • Do not try to fit your organization in to a category if it clearly does not fit. Do proper research prior to applying.
  • Do not submit request late as it will not be considered.
  • Submit a complete package as incomplete packages will not be reviewed.
  • Do not submit a lot of extra information unless pertinent to the request as it will not be reviewed.
  • Review the Norfolk Southern’s Contribution report posted on the Foundation website, which highlights areas of giving.