Frequently Asked Questions



The Foundation's staff is currently working from home as much as possible during the pandemic. If you have any questions that are not addressed below please email 

A) Will the Foundation make emergency grants in response to the COVID-19 crisis? 

Unfortunately the Foundation cannot make emergency grants. 

B) Will the pandemic affect the Foundation's timeline for notifications or consideration? 

No, the Foundation is operating under its usual timeline.

C) In light of quarantine restrictions will the Foundation accept requests by email? 

Due to the amount of requests the Foundation receives and our procedures for review, the Foundation cannot accept applications by email. If you are unable to submit a request by postal mail without compromising your safety or that of those around you, and/or without adhering to local guidelines we would ask that you wait to apply until the following round. Please be sure not to require a signature for delivery as it is unlikely someone will be at the office to receive it. 

D) Have the Foundation's funding priorities changed in light of the COVID-19 crisis? 

The Foundation has never established specific funding priorities, instead aiming to support any worthwhile cause for which an organization has made a compelling case for funding. However the impact and extent to which COVID-19 has effected people and organizations nationally and around the world is very much on the mind of the board and will continue to be.   

E) Our programming cannot be run under the stay-at-home orders currently in place/ anticipated to be in place locally, can we still apply for funding? 

Yes, the Foundation will take into consideration the unprecedented effect the crisis has had on all  program and operation areas and can consider requests for programming once operations begin to return to normal. 

F) Can we still drop off a request through your office's mail slot?

Yes. While Foundation staff are working primarily from home our office building is open. You can expect the door to our office to be locked, whether we are in or not. Face masks must be worn while inside the building. 

1. Are your grants limited to a particular geographic area?

The Foundation makes grants to non-profit organizations across the United States. The Foundation does not establish geographical preferences within the United States. The Foundation can also consider requests for organizations based in the United States but whose programming takes place abroad. The Foundation cannot consider requests from organizations that are not based in the United States. 

2. Does the Foundation give grants for operating support?

The Foundation provides support for specific projects or activities of an organization, as well as for operating support. The Foundation does not have a preference between program and operating support. 

3. What are the Foundation's funding priorities for this year?

The Foundation does not establish funding priorities on an annual basis, but rather supports worthwhile activities for which an organization has made a compelling case to receive funding. As a result, Foundation staff cannot advise applicants on the appropriateness of one potential submission over another. Instead, we generally suggest that organizations select programs for which they can make their best case for support, and for which a small amount of money can have a large impact.

4. May I submit my proposal via email?

We ask that potential grantees submit their requests by regular mail. Given the volume of requests that are received and that would need to be printed out locally, as well as the variations in software used to create the documents submitted as part of the proposal, a printed and mailed submission ensures that your request is complete and in the appropriate format.

5. To whom should the request be addressed?

The request should be addressed to Mary P. Surrey, President, The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 414, Washington, DC 20007. (Note: Some online listings might give an address for the Foundation in White Plains, New York. That address is no longer in use.)

6. Do you count the cover letter, budget(s), and 501(c)3 determination letter as part of the three-page letter of request?

No. The cover letter, budget(s), and 501(c)3 determination letter are considered to be separate components of the request package.

7. Is it possible to meet with someone with the Foundation, in order to introduce my organization and to make a stronger case for Foundation support?

Unfortunately, no. Due to the large number of requests for such meetings and the small size of the Foundation staff, it is not possible to accommodate all of these requests. As a result, in fairness to all applicants, we suggest that organizations make their best case for support in their letter of request.

8. If our initial request is not accepted, may we receive feedback on our request?

Unfortunately, no. Due to the number of requests received for each round of grants, we are unable to provide feedback on individual requests that were not selected for support. The Foundation receives a growing number of submissions for each cycle, and is able to award grants only to a small number of applicants. We do invite organizations to apply again in the future, however we do ask that organizations not apply for consecutive cycles. You can find a number of common problems with grant applications received by the Foundation in Item 15 of this FAQ page. 

9. If our initial request is accepted, will we be asked to submit a full proposal?

No. This is a one-step process, meaning that you should make your best case for support in the three-page letter of request and cover letter. As a result, the letter of request should be specific as to the nature of your organization and the purpose of the requested funding. 

10. When should I expect to hear from the Foundation regarding the status of my proposal?

Organizations applying for the Fall grant round (May 10th deadline) can expect to receive a status update by the end of October. Organizations applying for the Spring grant round (November 10th deadline) can expect to receive a status update by the end of April. Updates will be provided by postal mail or email. 

11. May my organization submit an application under a fiscal sponsor? 

Yes.  Your organization's fiscal sponsor should be mentioned in your cover letter and the 501(c)3 determination letter of your organization's fiscal sponsor must be included with your request. 

12. May publicly support organizations, such as schools or local government institutions, for which a 501(c)3 determination is not appropriate apply for funding?

Yes, requests from publicly supported organizations can be considered. In lieu of a 501(c)3 determination letter the application should include a signed statement from a senior administrator as to the organization's means of support.

13. May my application include indirect costs and if so, up to what percentage? 

The Foundation does not have a specific policy regarding indirect costs or their percentage. Requests containing indirect costs will be considered on a case-by-base basis. 

14. How much funding do you recommend a first-time applicant apply for? 

The Foundation does not recommend a specific amount for first-time or any other applicants. However we do expect the requested amount fall between our typical range of funding ($1,000-$20,000) and sensibly relates to the grants' intended purpose, as well as the organization's budget/s. Be aware that in an effort to support as many  worthwhile organizations and programs as possible the Foundation may choose to award an amount less than the amount requested by an organization.

15. What are some common problems with grant requests received by the Foundation?

a. Missing materials. Each request must include a cover letter, a proposal, an organizational budget, a program budget (when applicable), and your organization's 501(c)3 determination letter. The absence of any one of these items may result in immediate disqualification.

b. Providing single Income and Expense totals instead of itemized budgets. 

c. The nature of the organization and/ or request is unclear and obscured by jargon. The Foundation should have a clear idea of what, specifically, your organization does and who your organization serves and- when applying for program support- what, specifically, the program does and who the program serves. While the goals of an organization are important, the Foundation is equally interested in learning what the organization is doing to accomplish them. 

d. Timing. The Foundation's deadline dates fall well before decisions are made and funding is awarded. The Foundation prefers to consider requests for current/ future programs and projects rather than retroactively. 

e. The requested grant amount is not realistic for the Foundation or is intended to be used over multiple years. The Foundation typically awards between $1,000-$20,000 and expects any award to be used within one year (365 days) upon receipt.  Requests over $20,000 may indicate an organization has not properly reviewed the information on our website or does not understand the Foundation's mission. Requests that propose spending over multiple years will not be considered. 

The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation