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May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust

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Thank you for your interest in the May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust.

Please review these guidelines before proceeding with a request for funding.


Most of the Trust’s grants are awarded to organizations that have been invited by the staff to submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) or Proposal. However, unsolicited requests for funding from eligible and strongly-aligned organizations are also considered, using the Trust’s two-stage online application process.

The first stage is a Letter of Inquiry (LOI), followed by a full Proposal, if invited. An invitation to submit an LOI or Proposal does not assure funding. Organizations that receive a grant are required to submit a report that confirms that the funds granted were used for the intended purpose.

Because the Trust receives many more requests than it is able to fund, the application process is highly competitive; most unsolicited LOIs are not successful. Funding decisions depend on the strength of alignment between the request and the Trust’s grantmaking priorities, and reflect the Trustees’ best judgments about the potential success of the program, the capacity of the requesting organization, and the request’s compliance with the application guidelines.

Due to the size of the Trust’s geographic service area and the number of requests received, in the interest of fairness, Trust staff are unable to meet with potential applicants and grantseekers in person. However, email and telephone inquiries are welcome.

The information provided on this website should help you determine if a request for funding is well-suited to the interests of the Trust.

Funding Priorities

Please review the Trust’s Funding Priorities for detailed information about the populations and geographic areas the Trust’s grantmaking serves.

Type, Size, and Duration of Grants

The Trust accepts applications for either program support or general operating support (i.e., support for an organization’s operations as a whole rather than a particular project, inclusive of expenses such as administrative staff’s salaries, overhead expenses, non-capital equipment, and capacity building activities). The Trust occasionally makes grants for capital support, typically to organizations that have received a grant in the past; such requests may only be submitted upon invitation from the Trust.

The size of the Trust’s grants are matched to the organization’s need, capabilities, opportunities, scale of impact, and the program’s fit with the Trust’s priorities, as well as the organization’s historic pattern of support from other institutional donors, its developmental stage, and the Trust’s overall availability of funds. Typically, the Trust’s grant will be average or above average among an organization’s other funders, but not the largest grant received by an organization. Consistent with its core value of interdependence and a desire to encourage organizations to develop a broad base of support, the Trust prefers to invest alongside other funders and rarely makes grants that represent 100% of a project’s budget. Please see Recent Grants for examples of typical Trust grants.

Initial grants are typically one year in duration. The Trust will consider multiple-year grant requests from organizations that have already successfully completed at least one grant cycle with the Trust. Multiple-year grants are generally two years in duration, and acknowledge the grantee organization’s well-articulated, compelling vision and long-term plan for its programs, and its strong alignment with the Trust’s Funding Priorities.

How to Begin

Once you’ve determined that your request is consistent with the Trust’s Funding Priorities, you may begin the application process by clicking Start Here, below. Answers to the most Common Grantseeker Questions are also provided.

To Apply

Grantseekers can begin the application process here.

Start Here

Common Grantseeker Questions

Answers to the most common grantseeker questions.

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