The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust is a private foundation practicing values-based grant making.
Because of this approach, a wide spectrum of funding opportunities falls within the scope of The Trust’s grant making.
The Trust awards grants to qualifying 501(c)(3) public charities that persuasively demonstrate a strong connection between their missions, programs, and/or projects and one or more of the tenets of The Trust’s Values Statement.
Please note, before beginning the Letter of Inquiry process, that The Trust’s review of a Full Proposal, should an applicant be requested to submit one, is robust, rigorous, and comprehensive and can last anywhere from six to nine months; in certain circumstances, the process may take up to a year or longer. The Trust meets with all Full Proposal applicants and conducts a site visit in most cases. Regardless of grant size, The Trust may find it necessary to request that the organization submit revised application materials.
Consequently, if your organization has an annual budget of $1,000,000.00 or less, and your request is for $5,000.00 or less, you may wish to consider The Trust’s Small Grant Application process.
Applying to The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust for a Grant is a two-step process.
- The Trust requires the submission of a Letter of Inquiry in accordance with the Guidelines below; and
- Based upon its review of the Letter of Inquiry, The Trust will send to the applicant either a Decline Letter or a Request for Full Proposal.
General Guidelines for Submitting a Letter of Inquiry:
To begin the application process, your organization should submit a Letter of Inquiry, which shall:
The purpose of the Letter of Inquiry is to provide The Trust with a brief and broad overview of the applicant, the project or program for which it seeks support, and the connection between the organization and The Trust’s Values Statement. If requested to submit a Full Proposal, the applicant will have an opportunity to submit more detail about the specific program or project.
- Be no more than three pages; [Helpful Hint: The Trust strictly enforces this rule; do not send any additional materials with your Letter, including cover letters or attachments, which will be counted towards the three page maximum; letters exceeding the maximum will be returned.]
- Be double-spaced and written in Times New Roman 12 point font with standard, one-inch margins; and
- Contain the following: [Helpful Hint: Your Letter should cover each of the following topics. You may cover them in any order you wish, but most successful applicants discuss them in the order provided; successful applicants often begin the discussion of each topic by referencing the name of the specific topic being discussed.]
- A brief description of the applicant, its mission, and history; [Helpful Hint: “brief” is the operative word here; limit the description to no more than four paragraphs.]
- The amount of the grant being requested; [Helpful Hint: If you are requesting a multi-year grant, please list the annual installment amount and the time period for payment.]
- A description of how the applicant will expend the grant, if awarded; and [Helpful Hint: this topic, and the one following, is the most important in the Letter and deserves special attention. Indicate whether the grant is for program or general operating support. If the former, describe the specific program or project to which the grant will be applied. If the latter, provide a general description of your organization’s programs; most successful applicants propose applying the grant to one specific program, even if the request is for general operating support.]
- A discussion of how the expenditure of the grant, if awarded, will allow the applicant to connect with one or more of the values of The Trust. [Helpful Hint: See About The Trust or Values Statement for The Trust’s Values Statement. Be thoughtful, creative, and substantive in your discussion; do not simply quote the tenet or tenets of the Values Statement. If your request is for program support, explain how the program connects to one or more of the tenets in the Values Statement. If your request is for general operating support, explain how your organization connects to one or more of the tenets in the Values Statement. Successful applications typically connect to more than one tenet of the Values Statement. If you encounter difficulty in aligning your grant request with The Trust’s Values Statement, check out the Trust’s Vicennial Report or Example Grantees, where twelve organizations are featured according to the tenets of the Values Statement.]
General Procedures for Submitting a Letter of Inquiry:
- Applicants may submit their Letter of Inquiry by mail or personal delivery to:
The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust
208 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, Illinois 60604-1226
- The Trust generally reviews Letters of Inquiry in the month following the month in which the letter is received, though the timing of review may take longer, depending on work volume and pending commitments.
- The Trust will advise the applicant of its decision by sending via U.S. mail either a Decline Letter or Request for Full Proposal.
- In the event that The Trust invites a Full Proposal, The Trust will at that time advise the applicant of additional procedures, including how to prepare and submit a Full Proposal and a Grant Application Cover Sheet, which is a fillable form available on this website.
- If an applicant has received funding from The Trust in the past, it still must submit a Letter of Inquiry in accordance with the Guidelines. Moreover, prior to submitting a Letter of Inquiry, the applicant must be in compliance with all the terms of its Grant Agreement, including any reporting requirements.
- The Trust, as a rule, does not accept Letters of Inquiry from applicants who have previously applied for a grant from its Sister Trust, the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust, which Bank of America, N.A. administers.
 To determine if yours is a qualifying 501(c)(3) public charity, please see About the Trust.
 For a complete copy of the General Guidelines and Procedures for Inquiring About a Grant from The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust, see Contact Us.
 It is safe to say that just about every non-profit organization could connect to this particular tenet of The Trust's Values Statement. If an applicant elects to connect to this particular Value, it should first consider the following:
- The focus of this particular Value is on youth from underserved and/or under-resourced communities;
- The applicant must explain why it is working to develop a sense of self-esteem and dignity within the program participants, i.e., why the program participants lack a sense of self-esteem and dignity in the first place;
- The applicant must provide measurable goals/outcomes for developing a sense of self-esteem and dignity within the individuals it serves; and
- The applicant must demonstrate that it has in place a reliable evaluation tool, such as pre- and post-tests, to measure achievement of the foregoing goals/outcomes.
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