Foundation / Corporation
The Clowes Fund
Grants to Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington nonprofit organizations for arts, social services, and education activities within the funding source’s priority regions. New applicants must submit a preliminary proposal by November 1 and returning applicants must contact program staff prior to applying.
The Clowes Fund, a family foundation, seeks to enhance the common good by encouraging organizations and projects that help to build a just and equitable society, create opportunities for initiative, foster creativity and the growth of knowledge, and promote appreciation of the natural environment. The Foundation pursues these goals by awarding grants in three areas: arts, education and social services. The Foundation also recognizes the special value of efforts that create links among these areas. The Fund has a special interest in supporting projects that strengthen the communities in which Clowes family members and the foundation’s directors live and work.
The Fund concentrates its support in three geographic regions, and priority interests vary
-In Massachusetts, the Foundation gives priority consideration to social services, education and arts education requests serving Suffolk, Middlesex, Essex and Worcester Counties, as well as other areas with significant populations of immigrants, refugees and asylees.
-In Vermont, the Foundation gives priority consideration to arts education requests serving Windham County.
-In New Hampshire, the Foundation gives priority consideration to social services requests serving Grafton, Sullivan and Cheshire counties.
-In Maine, the Foundation gives priority consideration to social services and education requests in southern and mid-coast parts of the State, which include Cumberland, Androscoggin, Knox and Lincoln counties.
The Foundation gives preference to the stated social services priorities in Marion County and the seven contiguous surrounding counties.
The Foundation gives priority to a limited cohort of instrumental music education programs that foster critical thinking skills and creativity for students in the Seattle Public Schools District of King County.
Interests – The Fund supports organizations and programs that focus primarily on socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals through the arts, education and certain social services, defined as follows:
-Immigrants, Refugees and Asylees – The Foundation is interested in supporting efforts to address the economic, linguistic, legal and psychological hurdles that foreign-born individuals and their children face during integration into American society and its economy.
-Workforce Development – The Foundation is interested in ensuring that all individuals have access to both jobs skills training and the support services necessary to enable them to participate fully in the economic life of their communities. In addition, the Foundation os interested in supporting efforts that prevent students (ages 15 to 25) from dropping out of school and assist in the re-entry of dropouts or their pursuit of an alternate course to economic self-sufficiency.
Arts and Education:
-The Foundation supports primary and secondary education, including initiatives that emphasize classroom instruction.
-The Foundation supports arts education programs that foster critical thinking skills and creativity.
Types of Grants:
The Fund prefers to support innovative projects and programs, to provide “step up” money to expand programs, or to build organizational capacity. The following types of grants may be awarded:
-Capacity Building - Funding that strengthens an organization so that it may better fulfill its mission.
-Capital - The Fund may invite a proposal for endowment, facilities or equipment.
-Challenge - Funding that is contingent upon the grantee achieving an agreed-on fundraising, program or operating goal.
-Matching - Funding that is contingent upon the grantee raising qualified matching funds.
-Operating - The Fund may invite an operating (also known as unrestricted) proposal from a grantee with which the Foundation has an established grant history. A mature organization may be eligible for operating support upon establishing a threshold of core competency. A developing organization may be eligible for operating support upon successful completion of a start-up or seed grant, through which it has demonstrated a threshold of competency. (The Fund also awards operating grants to a few select organizations that honor the legacy of the Foundation’s founding donors.)
-Project/Program - Funding for a designated initiative or endeavor. (Program grants may include a proportionate share of overhead.)
-Seed Money - Funding awarded to help launch a specified new project, program or initiative.
In addition to these types of grants awarded through the competitive process, the Fund awards a limited number of small unsolicited grants through its member, director and employee discretionary matching grants programs.
Characteristics of a successful Preliminary Proposal:
-The proposal aligns closely with one or more of the Fund’s stated priorities.
-In New England, the Foundation is more likely to consider grant support in areas outside of Greater Boston that are largely populated by immigrants, refugees and asylees, and in rural areas that lack other resources and where the Foundation has some basis of local knowledge through previous grants or resident board members.
-In Indiana, the Foundation is most likely to consider grant support aligned with the priorities for immigrants, refugees and asylees.
-The type of grant requested is seed or step-up money for an innovative project or program (the Fund typically does not provide operating support as a first-time grant).
-The proposal explains not only why the Fund is an appropriate funding partner, but also why now? In other words, if your organization has survived thus far without Fund support, what compelling circumstances merit a grant now?
-The requested amount is within the Fund’s small grant range (up to $20,000), and impact will be demonstrated in a single year.
-The organization has an operating budget less than $2.5 million (larger budgets tend to indicate that the impact of an initial grant will be limited).
GrantWatch ID#: 176376
The Fund generally offers grant awards up to $50,000. First-time grants are generally within the Fund’s small grant range, up to $20,000.
Multi-year funding is available.
First-time grants will be for a single year.
The Fund only makes grants to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations based in the United States that are also described in Internal Revenue Code section 509(a)(1), 509(a)(2) or (in certain cases) 509(a)(3).
-Organizations that discriminate in either policy or practice against people because of their age, race, national origin, ethnicity, creed, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
-Programs that proselytize or promote specific religious doctrine.
-Sponsorships for fundraising events.
-Scholarships or direct financial awards to individuals.
-Unsolicited proposals from colleges and universities.
-Unsolicited proposals from any organization for operating or capital support.
-More than one request per organization per calendar year, including Clowes support that your organization may be receiving through a third party or funding collaborative.
-Lobbying or political elections.
-Certain Type III Supporting Organizations.
The Fund approaches the grant proposal process in two phases: preliminary and final. If your organization has not received a competitive grant from the Fund within the past five years (2013-2017), you must submit a Preliminary Proposal.
In Seattle, Preliminary Proposals are no longer being accepted.
A complete Preliminary Proposal consists of the Online Application and a Narrative Summary attachment, both of which must be submitted via eGrant by November 1st.
If you submitted a Preliminary Proposal you will receive notification via e-mail by the end of December regarding whether you may submit a Final Proposal.
A complete Final Proposal consists of the Online Application, the Narrative, and other Required Attachments, listed below, all of which must be submitted via eGrant by February 1st.
If your organization has received a competitive grant from the Fund within the past five years, you may skip the preliminary phase, but you should seek guidance from Fund staff before submitting a Final Proposal.
Proposal Process Timeline:
-September – Updated guidelines are posted; previously funded organizations may contact Fund staff through mid-December for guidance about an appropriate new proposal by e-mailing a brief statement of intent.
-November 1st – Preliminary Proposals are due online via eGrant; receipt is auto-acknowledged; evaluation begins.
-December – Preliminary applicants receive either invitations to submit a Final Proposal or declinations.
-January – Staff may review draft narratives for those applicants who had been invited to submit a Final Proposal in response to either a Preliminary Proposal or a statement of intent submitted in the fall.
-February 1st – Final Proposals are due online via eGrant; receipt is auto-acknowledged; evaluation begins. Staff will review your proposal for completeness and compatibility with the Fund’s guidelines. Staff may choose to schedule a meeting or site visit to discuss the proposal. Viable compelling proposals will be forwarded to the appropriate regional grants review committee. An assigned reviewer will read your final proposal in its entirety and make a funding recommendation to the regional committee.
-March-April – Regional grants review committees convene. The committees may decline proposals, award certain grants within the Fund’s small grant range, or forward proposals to the full board for consideration.
-May-June – Board convenes and makes final grant decisions.
-July 1st – Funding decisions are communicated; grant contracts are issued.
-Grant Self-Evaluation Reports are due one year and 30 days after the close of the grant period. Though the most common report deadline is August 1st, refer to the grant contract.
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
Elizabeth A. Casselman, Executive Director, Indiana
Megan Briggs Reilly, New England Program Officer, Massachusetts
Erin M. Trisler, Program Manager, Indiana
E. Estherre Wohlenhaus, Program Assistant, Indiana
The Clowes Fund
320 North Meridian Street, Suite 316
Indianapolis, IN 46204-1722
Phone: 317-833-0144 / 800-943-7209
New England: 781-530-0048
Fax: 317-833-0145 / 800-943-7286
USA: Indiana: Marion County and the seven contiguous surrounding Counties; Maine: Southern and mid-coast parts of the state, which include Cumberland, Androscoggin, Knox and Lincoln Counties; Massachusetts: Suffolk, Middlesex, Essex, and Worcester Counties; as well as other areas with significant populations of immigrants, refugees and asylees; New Hampshire: Grafton, Sullivan, and Cheshire Counties; Vermont: Windham County; Washington: Seattle Public Schools District of King County