Table of Contents


Eligibility and Timelines

What kinds of programs does Houston Endowment fund?

Houston Endowment makes grants to a wide variety of eligible organizations whose work drives our vision of a vibrant city where the opportunity to thrive is available to all. We primarily focus on the results that the organization expects to achieve and how well those goals align with our vision, mission and priorities. Our staff also gauges the applicant’s capacity to produce measurable, long-term impact. Learn more about our Focus Areas here.

What types of grants does Houston Endowment provide?

Houston Endowment awards grants for building capacity, capital improvement, general operating support, project support, public policy and engagement, and research. You can find more information about each type of grant here.

Does Houston Endowment restrict its support to certain geographic areas?

The foundation makes grants to organizations and projects serving greater Houston, including Harris County and its contiguous counties (Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller Counties).

In the United States, private foundations are directed by specific legislation of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make grants only to type 501(c)3 organizations or to governmental agencies (e.g. public schools or universities). Organizations will be reviewed throughout the application and payment process to validate eligibility.

Does Houston Endowment fund individual people who have project ideas?

No. As a private foundation, Houston Endowment is guided by IRS regulations that prohibit funding to individuals.

Does the foundation approve grants that include indirect costs?

Houston Endowment is open to providing funding for appropriate administrative expenses related to relevant operations. We ask that any indirect costs be detailed in the proposed budget and explicitly discussed with the program officer.

When are your submission deadlines?

Houston Endowment accepts grant requests throughout the year. There are no designated deadlines for the submission of requests.

How long will it take to hear back about a pre-application that my organization has submitted?

Reviews of pre-application materials generally take up to six weeks. Some proposals may take longer.

How long will it take to hear back about a full application that my organization has submitted?

The full application review process generally takes from four to nine months, so applicants should plan accordingly if funding is desired by a certain date.

If I submitted a request and was declined, may I submit another request?

We prefer to receive applications from organizations only once every 12 months, regardless of whether a previous application was approved or denied during the previous year.


Completing an Application for Funding

How do I apply for a Houston Endowment grant? 

All applicants seeking funding must submit a request through GMS, Houston Endowment’s online grant application system, which can be accessed from the How to Apply page. In some cases, applicants will be prompted to complete a short pre-application consisting of general information about the organization seeking funding and an overview of the program or initiative for which support is sought. Organizations that are eligible for funding and whose funding requests have the potential to align with the foundation’s funding priorities will then be invited to complete a full application, also accessible through GMS.

Do I have to complete the entire application in one sitting?

No. Once you provide basic information on the first few screens to create an account in GMS, you may log out and log in as often as you need to. Be sure to save your changes before you log out.

Are all data fields within the application required? How do I know which ones are and which ones are not?

Not all fields are required within the application. An asterisk will indicate a required field.

Can I preview the questions that will be required to complete a grant application?

Yes. Pre-application questions are available in the How to Apply section. Links to the full application questions corresponding to each type of grant request are available in the Types of Investments section.

Can I copy and paste information from other documents into your application question fields?

Yes. The system allows you to copy and paste information from other documents, though advanced formatting (italics, bold, bullets, etc.) may not be preserved.

Are there word or character limits on my responses?

Many of the questions have suggested response lengths (e.g., two to three sentences), but the response boxes are not character-limited. Please try to be as concise as possible while answering the question completely.

What if my organization does not have audited financial statements to include with our application?

Organizations submitting a full application will be asked to provide the organization’s most recent audited financials. If your organization does not have audited financial statements, you may submit your most recent unaudited financial statements.

Can I upload additional documents as part of my application?

Yes. In the Upload Document section there is a place for “Other” documents to be uploaded. You are welcome to upload other documents you feel are relevant to your application, but such additional documentation is neither required nor encouraged. Program officers give priority review to the required documentation.

What does it mean if our organization is invited to complete a full application?

If you are invited to complete a full application, Houston Endowment staff has determined that your grant request is a potential fit with our funding priorities and we are interested in learning more. You will have the opportunity to talk with a program officer who will gather information about your organization and the specific grant request. Full grant requests are typically reviewed and discussed during program team meetings as we develop funding recommendations to present to our Board of Directors. An invitation to complete a full application does not guarantee funding. Given the high volume of requests and limited dollars available, Houston Endowment must make difficult choices among many worthy requests. Applicants should be aware that even strong proposals may not receive funding from the foundation.

How do I check on the status of my application?

Applications submitted through the online process will be acknowledged via email within two business days. A second notification will be sent to the primary contact on the application once the request has been assigned to a program officer. The application is then under review until it is presented to the Board of Directors for formal action. This process generally takes between four to nine months. The organization will be notified in writing about any decision made by the Board of Directors. You may call your program officer for more information about the status of your request.


Contacting Houston Endowment

May I reach out to Houston Endowment Board members about my organization’s grant request?

In order to protect the integrity of the grantmaking process, Houston Endowment respectfully requests that applicants and their representatives refrain from contacting Board members regarding pending grant requests. It is Houston Endowment’s policy that Board members refrain from participating in site visits or otherwise engaging with applicants or their representatives regarding pending requests. As always, we encourage potential or current applicants with questions to contact the Houston Endowment staff with any questions.

May I schedule an appointment to discuss my project idea?

If you are considering submitting an application for funding, please first review information on eligibility and criteria, as well as our current funding priorities. Program officers are available via phone or email to discuss your ideas and the pre-application process, or to clarify questions about program areas or types of possible investments.

I’m experiencing technical difficulties. What should I do?

Please email for questions about the system or any technical difficulties you might encounter. Please do not contact your program officer for technical issues.

I need to update information about my organization. What should I do?

Please email with any changes you need to make regarding general information about your organization (including updated names, titles or contact numbers).