How to Apply

First, you and your team should discuss your organization’s needs. Your organization should carefully review all the guidelines for LOIs, proposals, and submissions. Applications that more closely adhere to these guidelines have a much higher chance of being funded.

The Morris Family Foundation grants to organizations or programs whose missions are broadly related to education. Organizations requesting grant funds must have 501(c)(3) designation in the United States. However, funded programs or projects may take place outside the U.S. Typically, grants are awarded to new or expanding programs requiring seed funding.

The Morris Family Foundation does not provide funds to:

  • non-501(c)(3) organizations
  • general operating support
  • capital campaigns
  • events or fundraisers
  • individuals
  • organizations primarily engaged in lobbying or political activity
  • congregations or religious organizations (including schools) for projects that primarily benefit their own members or for evangelical purposes. Exceptions may be made for programs that:
    1. receive broad community support,
    2. keep separate financial statements,
    3. primarily benefit persons outside their congregational members.

SIZE OF GRANTS: In 2020, the maximum grant amount will be $87,500. Applications for less than the stated amount are accepted; you need not request the entire amount. In 2019, grant awards ranged from $5,000 to $39,500. We usually make grants to multiple organizations in a single cycle and typically do not award the maximum amount to any one organization. The most important budget-related consideration is that the size of your request is in line with the scope of the project you are proposing.

We are much more likely to award a project-based grant than to simply join in contributing to a larger “pot of money” (e.g., a major fundraise or a capital campaign). We are also unlikely to fund requests primarily for salaries or general operating expenses.

We require all organizations to submit a letter of inquiry (LOI) before submitting an application. More information is in the grants portal, but your letter should be less than 2 pages and should clearly address the following:

  • A brief overview of your organization and the population(s) you serve
  • A description of the project you are seeking to fund
  • How the project relates to the Morris Family Foundation’s stated mission and interests
  • The amount of funding you would request from us
  • How the funds would be used
  • A breakdown of your proposed budget

DEADLINES: Letters of inquiry will be received and reviewed on a rolling basis until September 4, 2020. If you are invited to submit a full application, it will be due by November 4, 2020. We decide and distribute prior to the end of the calendar year. The 2020 cycle is now closed. Check back in 2021 for information on the next funding cycle.

Once you have thoroughly reviewed our mission, vision, and requirements, you may click the red button to


Those organizations who are invited to submit a full application after completing the LOI process should fully review the information below.

A Strong Proposal Is:

Short. We have a particular interest in underserved populations and do not wish to unintentionally penalize organizations that may have less-developed grant-writing capabilities. We want you to focus on your mission, not applications.

Specific. We are much more likely to award a project-based grant than to simply join in contributing to a larger “pot of money” (e.g., a major fundraise or a capital campaign). We are also unlikely to fund requests primarily for salaries or general operating expenses.

A Strong Proposal Addresses:

  • What do you want to do?
  • Who needs it, and why?
  • Outcome metrics: How will you measure progress/success of the project, and how will this be communicated to the Foundation? When and how often?
  • How do you see this migrating or scaling up? If relevant, do you intend to secure sustained funding from another source? How can we partner with you to help you succeed at this step?
  • The ways in which your project fits into the framework of venture philanthropy. If you are not familiar with the concept of venture philanthropy, please take some time to educate yourself; good information can be found on this website and others. Applications that do not adequately articulate their “venture” components are not likely to be considered. Conversely, an applicant demonstrating a clear understanding of venture philanthropy principles and the ability to apply those principles to the specified project will have a stronger chance of receiving a grant.
  • Your organization’s intended use of the funds. You may upload a budget (.pdf, .doc, .xls) in the application system to allow us to see your allotment of funds.

Once you have carefully considered and compiled the relevant information, you should complete the online grant application. Your application can be completed all at once, or you may save it and return to edit later. All applications must be submitted online prior to 11:45pm Central Time on Wednesday, November 4, 2020.

You will receive email confirmation that your application has been received. After the board has met and made a decision, The Foundation will contact each applicant regarding his or her respective results before the end of the calendar year. There is presently no limit to how many grants you may submit or the number of times you may apply.