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Comments from Matthew Klein, Executive Director, Blue Ridge Foundation, New York, from The Grantseeker's Guide to Winning Proposals:

We limit our letters of inquiry to two pages because it's usually possible within that length to tell whether a concept meets our basic criteria and is worth the time and trouble to the applicant to submit a full proposal. But Exalt's letter was able to do more than simply demonstrate that it met our criteria. It also provided a cohesive outline of the challenge it aimed to take up, including a specific problem that it planned to address (a lack of quality work opportunities for high-risk youth); the general context of the problem (large numbers of disconnected youth); and a plausible theory of change (tailored work experiences can catalyze and enhance positive goal-setting of all types). The letter confirmed that it met our grant criteria and also demonstrated in concise terms that Exalt was both thoughtful and precise about its work.