Frequently Asked Questions


For assistance with the application process, review our grantee guide to invited applications.

Eligibility and Timelines

What kinds of programs does Houston Endowment fund?

Houston Endowment makes grants to a wide variety of eligible organizations whose work advances our mission and current priorities. Our grantmaking strategies are focused on public education, civic engagement, and arts and parks. In deciding which organizations and/or initiatives to fund, we consider the results that the applicant seeks to achieve and gauge the applicant’s capacity to produce those results and how those results drive our priorities.

What types of grants does Houston Endowment provide?

Houston Endowment awards grants for general operating support and project support. You can preview the typical questions asked in the invited grant application for each investment type here.

Does Houston Endowment restrict its support to certain geographic areas?

Houston Endowment 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).

What legal status (or IRS designation) must my organization have to be eligible for a grant?

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 and other exempt organizations that are designated as educational organizations and governmental units recognized by the IRS. This includes public charities, governmental organizations, and eligible supporting organizations. Organizations will be reviewed throughout the application and payment process to verify eligibility.

Does Houston Endowment make grants to individual people who have project ideas?

No. As a private foundation, Houston Endowment is generally prohibited by IRS regulations from making grants to individuals.

Does Houston Endowment 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?

Grants are awarded on an invite-only basis, and Houston Endowment does not accept unsolicited grant requests. Deadlines for the submission of invited applications will be communicated at the time the application is invited.

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

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

Completing an Application for Funding

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

If you are invited to complete an application, Houston Endowment staff members have determined that your idea may align with our 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. Please note, an invitation to complete an application does not guarantee funding. Read more about the invited application here.

Does Houston Endowment accept uninvited applications?

Grants are awarded on an invite-only basis, and Houston Endowment does not accept unsolicited grant requests. Please review our grants database for examples of organizations and projects recently funded by the Endowment.

Is my organization’s information secure when I apply online?

Houston Endowment takes your privacy seriously. We do not 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. You may opt out of communications at any time.

How secure is the website that hosts the online application process?

Houston Endowment uses GivingData to accept unsolicited requests and invited 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.

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

Yes. Visit the Applicants page to preview the required information.

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

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. You are welcome to upload additional documents you feel are relevant to your application. However, program officers give priority review to the required documentation.

How do I check on the status of my application?

You will receive a confirmation email once we’ve received your application. Further status updates can be viewed in your GivingData account or by reaching out to your program officer.

Who should I include on my grant writing team?

Please include the people who have authority to make administrative decisions for the project and have access to budget and leadership data.

Who should be our organization’s primary contact in the Houston Endowment application system?

The primary contact should be the CEO, Executive Director, or person who is responsible for the work.

Can I submit a grant application via mail or email? / Can I submit a paper application or supporting documentation?

No. Only electronic files submitted through GivingData are accepted.

Contacting Houston Endowment

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

Houston Endowment Board policy prohibits all applicants, including potential applicants, 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 invited applications pending) may contact Houston Endowment with any questions.

System Access

What should I do if I can’t remember my username and/or password?

Please refer to our Grantee Guide, available here.

The username is always an email address.

Can my organization have more than one user login account?

GivingData allows multiple individuals within an organization to have login credentials. User accounts must be coordinated with your program officer. Additional accounts may be added during the application process.

How can I add additional contacts to my user account in GivingData?

Please refer to the Grantee Guide for Invited Applications for details of how to add additional contacts during the application process.

The primary contact is no longer affiliated with the organization. How do I assign a new primary contact?

Please notify your program officer of staffing changes, and he/she will work with you to facilitate the addition of new account contacts.

How can I get technical assistance with my GivingData account?

Contact Houston Endowment with any questions about the system or if you encounter technical difficulties. If you need to make changes about your organization in the system, please provide any updated names, titles, and contact information.