Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my institution is eligible to apply for a grant?

The Foundations award grants to eligible 501(c)(3) institutions whose work aligns with the Foundations' Trustees' philanthropic priorities. We do not provide grants to individuals. Grantee organizations must be based in and operate within the United States.

Where do I find information to apply for a grant?

Please review the information under the Grantseeking Organizations tab.  

May I discuss my project with the Foundations' program staff before submitting a letter of inquiry?

Due to a small number of program staff, the Foundations are unable to discuss your project before submitting a letter of inquiry. We suggest you familiarize yourself with our philanthropic priorities. We welcome your ideas and we invite you to submit your project through our grantee portal. If you have questions regarding how to complete the LOI form, please send a message to 


My organization has received a grant from the Foundations in the past. Do I still need to register on the grantee portal?

Yes.  Please visit the grantee portal to create your profile. The grants management platform was adopted in 2016 to provide ease and efficiency for grant applicants.  

What criteria do the Foundations use to review grants?

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations’ staff carefully review each letter of inquiry and full proposal. While the details of a successful grant proposal vary by program area, the Foundations place value on certain criteria. Please review the specific philanthropic program areas and information in our Grantseeking Organizations tab for more information on the types of projects that we seek to fund.


How do I become a designated partner eligible to apply for a grant in either environmental engagement, stewardship and solutions or palliative care?

Thank you for your interest in partnering with the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations in these program areas.  The Foundations' Environmental Engagement, Stewardship & Solutions and Palliative Care & End of Life partners have been identified through 2020. Our website will be updated periodically when we seek new partnerships after 2020. 

What projects do the Foundations not support?

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations will not support scholarships, endowments and indirect costs greater than 5% associated with projects. We do not support grants to individuals and generally do not fund capital projects.  In addition, direct service programs, such as housing services and food pantries, will not be considered.  

How do I submit my grant proposal materials?

Please refer to the Grantseeking Organizations section on the website.  Note:  All materials must be submitted through the grantee portal. Proposals submitted through email or the US mail will not be considered.


When will I receive a response to my letter of inquiry or grant proposal?

The Foundations' program staff strive to complete a timely review of all letters of inquiry and grant proposals that are submitted.  AVDF program staff will be in contact with the organization once a thorough review has been completed. 

See our Grant Calendar for more information about our proposal deadlines and the time periods in which the AVDF staff reviews letters of inquiry and grant proposals.

Is feedback available for a declined LOI or full proposal?

Unfortunately, due to the large number of letter of inquiry and proposal submissions, the Foundations are not able to provide specific feedback on declined projects.

What are the AVDF guidelines for program budgets?

Applicants must submit a budget with numbered line items for each major expenditure category for the project. Each line should include the amount requested from AVDF, any amounts anticipated from other sources, and the total. In addition, applicants must submit a separate budget narrative which provides a narrative explanation for each numbered line in the budget. Indirect costs may not exceed 5% of the total direct costs.

What is the typical duration of the Foundations' grants?

Projects supported by the Foundations are typically 1-2 years in duration but they can be of any duration. We currently do not have a limit on the duration of projects that are requesting funding.

Will the Foundations support projects in original science and research?

AVDF may support original science or research in some limited situations, in particular with our Designated Partner organizations in the environment or palliative care.  In all cases, AVDF supports the dissemination of scientific research to the public, and any grant proposal should identify ways in which the research will be distributed and what difference the research will make in the lexicon of education or public awareness.

Are public institutions eligible to apply for a grant in the Interfaith program?

Yes. A public institution is eligible to apply for an Interfaith grant.

When is the deadline for submitting materials?

Please refer to the grant calendar for specific deadline dates and times for letters of inquiry and proposal materials. 

Do you fund organizations outside the United States?

No. The Foundations do not support organizations outside the United States. We do not support projects overseas.

Do you support graduate programs in Private Higher Education?

No. Our Private Higher Education work is limited to projects supporting undergraduate education at private, four-year, residential colleges and universities. 

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