Apply for a Grant

The Rita Allen Foundation currently makes grants for charitable purposes in two primary domains:
Within these domains, the Foundation identifies organizations for funding based on its goals and strategies. While the vast majority of our grant making is conducted through the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program and through the Foundation’s research and consultation with sector experts, we also provide an opportunity for nonprofit organizations to submit unsolicited Letters of Inquiry if they believe they are an excellent fit for our portfolio. This process allows us to open lines of communication with a diverse pool of organizations.

Scholars Program
Only invited institutions are eligible to submit a nomination for consideration for the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program. See the FAQs about our Scholars program for more information.

If you are from an invited institution preparing an application for the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program, please follow the instructions in the materials sent to your institution (not those on this page for other opportunities). If you have questions, please contact Nancy Kovacevich, Grants Administration, at

Other Opportunities
Currently, the Foundation reviews unsolicited Letters of Inquiry twice each year during limited review periods. Only on very rare occasions are grants awarded in response to these unsolicited funding inquiries. We accept unsolicited Letters of Inquiry twice each year, from December 1 to January 15 and May 15 to June 30. Organizations interested in applying for funding should follow the process described below.

Please read the information on our website about the Rita Allen Foundation’s programs, goals, approaches and Guiding Principles.

Additionally, please review our list of recent grants for examples of the Foundation’s current focus within each of its funding domains. The Foundation gives priority to organizations working on early-stage, innovative and collaborative projects within its domains. Often, these projects incorporate the use of technology.

The Foundation supports only United States-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations conducting work primarily in the United States. In general, it does not fund:

  • General operating support
  • Building construction
  • Capital campaigns
  • Fundraising events
  • Endowments
  • Scholarships
  • K-12 education or youth civic education, either in or out of school
  • Direct grants to individuals
  • For-profit organizations

In addition, the Foundation’s funds can be used only for purposes that are consistent with its status as a charitable organization. Excluded purposes include, but are not limited to, lobbying activities.


After reviewing the information above, if your organization or project falls within these guidelines, you may submit a Letter of Inquiry (of no more than two pages) in Microsoft Word or PDF format during one of two limited review periods (December 1 to January 15 and May 15 to June 30).

Letters of Inquiry must be submitted through our online form, available here during review periods:

Letter of Inquiry Online Form

In order to ensure timely review and reply, we are unable to consider Letters of Inquiry submitted outside of our open review periods or by means other than our online form (e.g., by email, mail or fax, or in person). Letters of Inquiry must be submitted through the online form by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on the final day of each review period. For a given project, only one Letter of Inquiry will be considered within a 12-month period.

In your Letter of Inquiry, please include the following information:

  • A brief summary of relevant background on your organization, such as mission, vision, leadership and history
  • The amount requested from the Rita Allen Foundation for your project, total budget of the project and total organizational budget for the current fiscal year
  • A description of the work of the proposed program, including any potential key partners with whom you will collaborate
  • The need your program addresses (intended impact) and how the work will help address that need (theory of change)
  • A description of how your program is early-stage, innovative and/or collaborative
  • What you intend to learn from your work and, if relevant, how you will share what you learn with others
  • Other funders currently funding or interested in funding this work

We will review your Letter of Inquiry and respond via email following each limited review period. Unfortunately, we cannot respond to phone calls or emails requesting the status of a submitted Letter of Inquiry, nor are we able to give feedback on specific Letters of Inquiry.

Finally, please note that the number of requests for support far exceeds the Foundation’s available funding. We are mindful of the resources required to prepare a Letter of Inquiry and strongly encourage careful review of the restrictions outlined above before making a submission.