The Commonwealth Fund requests letters of inquiry to initiate the grant application process, and does not wish to review full proposals at this stage. Applicants are encouraged to submit letters of inquiry using our online form. While the Fund will continue to accept letters of inquiry via regular mail and fax, such submissions will take longer to process than those received online. Letters of inquiry are acknowledged when received. Applicants are typically advised of the results of an initial staff review within two months. Program staff will contact applicants if more detailed information is required. Proposals recommended by Fund staff are reviewed and voted upon by the Board of Directors, which meets three times each year. However, letters of inquiry are accepted on a rolling basis; there are no deadlines.
In addition, the Fund awards grants through its Small Grants Fund, with decisions made on a monthly basis. Small grants are closely tied to the Fund's strategic purposes, and enable the foundation to move quickly and flexibly to underwrite targeted work. The letter of inquiry is the starting point for both board-level and small grants.
The Fund strongly prefers grant applicants to submit letters of inquiry using the online letter of inquiry.
The Fund makes grants only to tax-exempt organizations and public agencies and does not support:
- General planning and ongoing activities or existing deficits
- Endowment or capital costs, including construction, renovation, or equipment
- Basic biomedical research
- Conferences, symposia, major media projects, or documentaries, unless they are an outgrowth of one of the Fund's programs
- Churches or other religious organizations unless the project for which they seek funding is entirely secular in nature
- Work for which achievements cannot be measured.