Some foundations get funding from their state government to distribute, via grants, through their area. The state guidelines provide the categories for the foundation to fund.
Foundations in high populated areas can usually fund most of the categories and meet the state’s guidelines. Smaller foundations or those in a limited population area may fund only some of the categories.
These smaller foundations may not receive grant requests for certain categories, the requests are not sufficient to fund, or the nonprofit is not a good fit to receive a grant. Another reason could be foundation members do not like a category for personal reasons.
The writer should not assume the foundation did not fund a category for personal reasons, but be aware of this situation. When researching the foundation, check with the state guidelines and categories. Then look at what these foundations funded in the past three years.
If the nonprofit’s needs fit a category, apply for a grant and mention in the request the foundation had not previously funded the category. The foundation members may not have realized this. If they did not fund the category on purpose, this alerts them that someone noticed.
Stating that the foundation had not previously funded a category is aggressive, but I think necessary. There are many ways to look at this, positive and negative, but being up front with the issue is always best.
I would not go further than this “mention” since there could be many reasons for the lack of categories being funded by the foundation.