Many frequently asked questions are answered in our guides:
Please refer to the guides for answers to questions including:
Houston Endowment makes grants to a wide variety of eligible organizations whose work advances our vision of a vibrant region where all have the opportunity to thrive. In deciding which organizations and/or concepts to fund, we focus on the results that the organization expects to achieve, and we gauge the applicant’s capacity to produce measurable, long-term impact. Learn more about our Focus Areas here.
Houston Endowment awards grants for general operating support, project support, capacity building, capital improvement, public policy and engagement, and research. You can preview the typical questions asked in the full/invited grant application for each investment type here.
The foundation makes grants to organizations and projects benefiting the people of greater Houston, including Harris County and its contiguous counties (Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller Counties).
Generally, Houston Endowment makes grants only to 501(c)(3) organizations described in section 509(a)(1), (2), or (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This includes public charities, governmental organizations, and eligible supporting organizations. Organizations will be reviewed throughout the application and payment process to verify eligibility.
No. As a private foundation, Houston Endowment is guided by IRS regulations that prohibit making grants to individuals.
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.
Self-initiated pre-applications can be submitted through our online portal at any time.
Deadlines for the submission of full/invited applications will be communicated at the time the application is invited.
Funding recommendations are considered by the board of directors during three grantmaking meetings each year, typically in February, June, and October.
Reviews of pre-application materials may take up to three months.
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. Funding recommendations are considered by the board of directors during three grantmaking meetings each year, typically in February, June, and October.
Organizations may submit up to five pre-applications over the course of their lifespan. After five declined pre-applications, an organization will not be able to submit any additional pre-applications. If your organization would like to apply again following five declined pre-applications, please contact the vice president for programs for assistance.
In some limited circumstances, when the board has pre-approved the overarching strategy and the parameters, grants may be made in between board meetings.
Houston Endowment takes your privacy seriously. We do not rent, sell or share personal information about grant applications with other people or with nonaffiliated companies or organizations.
Please note your email address will likely be added to the Houston Endowment e-newsletter distribution list.
Houston Endowment uses GivingData to accept pre-applications and full applications via the Internet. GivingData uses SSL to ensure end-to-end security and encryption of all data traveling from the applicant’s browser to the GivingData server.
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.
Yes. Required documents are listed with the applicable questions. There is a section in the application to share documents not required called “Upload Additional Documents.” 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.
If you are invited to complete a full application, Houston Endowment staff members have determined that your idea may align with Houston Endowment’s current 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. The program team will review submitted applications and present funding recommendations to the board of directors at one of the three grantmaking meetings each year, typically in February, June, and October.
An invitation to complete a full application does not guarantee funding.
Read more about the full application here.
Pre-applications submitted via GivingData will be acknowledged via email. Following review of the pre-application, program officers will either invite a full application or notify the applicant via email that their pre-application has been declined. You will typically receive a decision by email within three months.
Full / invited applications
Full/invited applications submitted via GivingData will be acknowledged via email. Applicants will also be able to see within their GivingData accounts their application’s status (e.g. “Invited,” “In progress,” or “Submitted”) under the “Active Applications” tab.
Full applications submitted via GivingData are reviewed by the program team and foundation leadership. Funding recommendations are then considered by the board of directors during three grantmaking meetings each year, typically in February, June, and October.
All applicants will be notified via email about funding decisions.
Due to the large number of requests, staff members are not able to provide feedback about declined pre-applications or full applications after a funding decision has been made.
The people who have authority to make administrative decisions for the project and have access to budget and leadership data.
The CEO, Executive Director, or person who is responsible for the work.
No. Only electronic files submitted through GivingData are accepted.
We will review and reply to all inquiries submitted via GivingData in accordance with our application process as explained on this website. Please note that if you use other methods to provide information or request funding, you are unlikely to receive a response.
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 or anticipated 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 or anticipated requests. Current applicants (those with full/invited applications pending) may contact Houston Endowment staff members with any questions.