How To Apply
General Guidelines
Program Guidelines
The Luce Foundation seeks to keep its application process as simple as possible. In most cases, an initial letter of inquiry is advised. Letters of inquiry can be submitted at any time for Asia, Higher Education, the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs, Public Policy, and Theology. The Foundation is no longer accepting requests for new grants in Public Affairs, Henry R. Luce Professorships, or the Environment Initiative.

Please note: The Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment is invitation-only and has separate guidelines. The American Art Program, Clare Boothe Luce Program and Luce Scholars Program have specific application processes; guidelines are available on their web pages.


Letter of Inquiry. The letter of inquiry may be sent at any time and should include: a description of the project, its goals and significance; participants; the timeframe; the project's total budget and the amount requested from the Foundation; and other existing or potential sources of funding. Inquiries may be addressed to the appropriate program director or officer. No special forms are required.

We strive to acknowledge inquiries in a timely manner, although the high volume of requests we receive sometimes lengthens our response time. If you have not received an acknowledgment within six weeks of submission, please feel free to follow up to confirm receipt. The program officer will respond to the letter of inquiry following review.

Proposal. When a proposal is requested, it should be addressed to the appropriate program director or officer. No special forms are required. A formal proposal must include: a one-page executive summary; a full description of the project, including its goals and significance; primary participants and their curriculum vitae; the project’s timeframe; anticipated outcomes and measures of success, and how the project will be evaluated; the total budget for the project and the amount requested from the Foundation, with sufficient detail to justify costs; other existing or potential sources of funding, including in-kind as well as financial support from the applicant and other participating institutions; and relevant information about the applicant. The proposal’s narrative section should be no longer than 15 pages.

A proposal should show familiarity with the Foundation and the relevant program. It must demonstrate a convincing fit with the program’s goals, and show how the project emerges from serious interests and work already in progress. It will situate the work within a broader field, explain how the project will advance that field, and display a commitment to ensuring the work’s long-term sustainability.

The proposal must be accompanied by supporting documents: a letter of endorsement from an appropriate administrative officer or office of the applicant, and the applicant’s IRS tax-exemption letter, list of current trustees, and most recent audited financial statements.

With regard to indirect costs, the Foundation allows each of its programs to determine the appropriate rate on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature of the project and the amount being requested. As a general rule, we prefer to fund only direct project costs. Institutional overhead subtracts from our ability to support a project and we do not increase grants to cover indirect costs. We welcome an institution’s willingness to waive or reduce indirect costs, whenever possible, as evidence of its support for the project. If indirect costs are included, the maximum typically allowed is 10 percent.

Grants. Awards are determined by the Foundation’s board of directors, which meets three times a year.


For additional information and guidance on proposal writing, see the Foundation Center.

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