Within each program, we have identified priorities for our grantmaking. When we identify organizations whose work fits well with those priorities, we may invite them to submit a grant proposal. The Foundation also places a premium on long-term partnership with organizations whose priorities align with ours and who have demonstrated a capacity to have positive impact. As a result of this approach, the majority of our grantees are identified and contacted by our program staff. While we accept unsolicited inquiries from grantseekers, we are able to fund relatively few of them.
In our Arts program, we accept inquiries for funding only through our Exploring Engagement Fund. The Exploring Engagement Fund employs a competitive selection process, and applications are accepted on a rolling basis through December 2015. In our California Democracy and Youth programs, we receive about 150 unsolicited letters of inquiry each year. While we accept unsolicited inquiries for these programs, we are able to fund less than one percent of them. This is because of the more targeted nature of these grantmaking programs. We respect the time and effort that goes into submitting a grant inquiry, and we are committed to responding within three months of the date of your submission.
In addition, we do not generally sponsor events or conferences. We will make rare exceptions to this policy for events or conferences that fit closely with Irvine’s program priorities and, typically, are organized by a current Irvine grantee.
The following information is for organizations that are not current grantees and have not been invited by our program staff to submit a proposal. These three steps will help you determine if your organization is eligible for an Irvine grant, whether it fits with our program priorities, and, if so, how to submit a letter of inquiry.
To be considered for a grant, your organization must:
c)(3) and 509(a)(1) or (2) of the Internal Revenue Code.
We accept inquiries for Arts funding only through our Exploring Engagement Fund, which is open to eligible California-based nonprofit arts organizations. We do not accept unsolicited letters of inquiry for our Arts program.
Grantseekers interested in a grant from our California Democracy or Youth programs should read carefully the descriptions of these programs. If, after reading these sections, you believe that your organization's work is a good fit with our priorities, you can submit a letter of inquiry, using the link below. This online form will gather basic information about your organization and funding request.
Please note that we do not accept unsolicited inquiries for Special Initiative grants.
Please carefully review our frequently asked questions before contacting us with any additional questions.
Yes. Applications for Arts funding are accepted only through our Exploring Engagement Fund, which employs a competitive selection process, and applications are accepted on a rolling basis through December 2015. We do not accept unsolicited letters of inquiry for our Arts program.
Our California Democracy and Youth programs accept unsolicited letters of inquiry, but because of the more targeted nature of these grantmaking programs, we are able to fund less than one percent of them.
We do not accept unsolicited inquiries for Special Initiative grants.
In our Arts program, we anticipate receiving over 200 applications to our Exploring Engagement Fund between now and December 2015. We anticipate funding 10–20 percent of the applications we receive.
In our California Democracy and Youth programs, we receive about 150 letters of inquiry each year, but we are able to fund a much smaller proportion — less than one percent — because of the targeted nature of our grantmaking strategies in these areas.
Our Grants Administration staff will review your inquiry for eligibility and basic program fit. If the inquiry is within our broad program guidelines, they will forward your letter to the relevant program team to review. Each inquiry is reviewed carefully for its fit with our program priorities and strength of the specific request, among other considerations. Within three months from the date of your inquiry, you will receive one of the following from us:
We will review your inquiry as quickly as possible, following the process described above. At a minimum, we will communicate with you twice during the review:
In rare instances, we may contact you during the review process if we need additional information about your organization.
Please contact us regarding the status of your letter of inquiry only if you have not received an email acknowledgement immediately after submitting your inquiry via our online form, or if you have not received a decision after three months from the date of submission.
No. We accept inquiries to the California Democracy and Youth programs on a rolling basis. For Arts inquiries, please see our Exploring Engagement Fund.
Please do not submit a full proposal until you are invited to do so. We understand the time it takes to prepare proposals and have created the letter of inquiry process to ensure that proposals are required only from organizations which our program staff has determined are competitive candidates for receiving funding.
Unfortunately, we cannot speak with or meet grantseekers prior to submitting a letter of inquiry. We have designed the inquiry process so that you do not need to speak with a program staff member before submitting the inquiry. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, you will have the opportunity to speak with a program officer, either in person or over the phone.
The grant amount requested should be proportional to your organization's overall budget, the project budget, and expected revenue from other sources. We generally fund no more than 10 or 15 percent of an organization's total budget. In addition, we will consider your organization's track record in implementing grants of a similar size and scope to the one requested from Irvine.
If we decline your funding request, we will share with you our primary reasons for the denial. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer in-depth feedback on individual letters of inquiry.
Yes, but please carefully consider the reasons we declined the initial request before submitting a new inquiry. Unless the substance of your program or organization has changed significantly, it's unlikely that a new request will result in funding from Irvine.
Yes. We support a number of community foundations and other organizations that, in turn, regrant Irvine funds to other nonprofits in their communities or fields of work. These organizations may apply, but not for the project that is already receiving support through one of our regranting programs.
Before you start an application, you will be prompted to register and create a username (your email address) and password. After you have started an application, you may choose to save it before submitting. Later, you may revisit the grantee portal to log in and access your saved application. If you log in and do not see your saved application, please contact email@example.com.
We prefer to receive inquiries online. If you do not have access to a computer in order to submit an inquiry online, please contact our grants manager at the address at the bottom of this page.
If you have additional questions that have not been addressed in the frequently asked questions above, please contact:
The James Irvine Foundation
One Bush Street, Suite 800
San Francisco, CA 94104