Maybe that’s because the National Network of Grantmakers has its own Common Application, as does the Donors Forum of Chicago, as do more than a dozen other regional grantmakers’ groups listed by the Foundation Center, not to mention the boldly unlimited Common Grant Application created by some .com. But doesn’t a multiplicity of forms sort of defeat the purpose?
In any case, though the Donors Forum list includes the MacArthur Foundation, there’s no evidence on the Foundation’s own site that it accepts the local common form or any other; indeed, it requires a pre-application inquiry, for which it specifies there is no form. Likewise, neither the Gates Foundation nor the Ford Foundation show anywhere on their Websites that they accept any of the common forms.
Query why all these grantmakers concerned with the efficiency of grantees don’t make such efficiency possible by (a) getting together on a single form and (b) making the existence of the form (and their acceptance of it) widely known by announcing it on their Websites with the same prominence they give policies about checking grantees for links to terrorism. As they obviously understood when they created all these application forms, enabling grantees to fill out a single grant application would allow them to spend more time serving their clients.
In the words of the gospel song, "Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel? Why not every man?"