Guidance For Our Grantees During the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 19, 2020

Dear Grantees and Applicants,

The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously disrupted the lives of those who work on Luce-funded projects—indeed, of all of us. We also know that the disruptions caused by the pandemic and by efforts to contain it will likely affect the progress of your Luce-funded project. We’ve tried to address some of the questions we’ve already heard from some of you below. We will update this FAQ list as the situation and our advice changes.

We’ve also collected some resources that our grantees and partners may find useful. You can access the list here:

COVID-19 Resources

In the meantime, we hope you, your colleagues, and your family and friends remain safe and healthy.

The Henry Luce Foundation Team

Is the Luce Foundation open for business?
Yes, the Luce Foundation is open, though all employees have been instructed to work from home for now, and all international and domestic travel by Foundation staff has been suspended.

How can I reach the Foundation?
You can call our main number (212 489 7700) and leave a message for a staff member. But sending an email directly to program staff is probably the quickest way to reach them. If you don’t know a staffer’s email address, you can email; your email will be forwarded.

And, of course, the on-line portal remains up and running for reporting, payment acknowledgement, LOI submission, etc.:

Can I expect to receive a scheduled payment?
Yes, the Foundation will make all grant payments according to the schedule originally outlined in the grant letter. However, if you require future scheduled payments sooner than originally planned, you may seek an earlier payment from the program director. We may not be able to honor all such requests but will do all we can to ensure the success of your project and your organization.

My organization received a grant from the Clare Boothe Luce Program (CBL). What is the Foundation’s guidance for CBL grantees?
The CBL Program will be sending separate guidance to CBL grantees. The guidance provided below does not apply to CBL grantees. If you have any questions about your CBL grant, contact the Program directly.

How is the Foundation supporting the Luce Scholars?
Luce Scholars' health and safety remain our number one priority. The Luce Scholars Program is working with each Scholar individually to help them make as informed a decision as possible, whether they choose to stay in Asia to complete their Luce year or return to the United States. Full details in this update from the Luce Scholars Program

Have competition deadlines changed?
The deadlines for the American Art exhibition competition and the Luce Fund for Theological Education have been extended to April 30.

What should I do if one or more project activities can’t be carried out as planned?
We know that many—if not most—activities have been or will likely be postponed, cancelled, or reimagined. You know your project and your local situation best: we trust you to decide what course of action makes the most sense for you and your project. Please keep program staff informed about decisions you have made and discuss with them the implications for the project, the project budget, and the project schedule.

Will the Foundation accommodate changes in a project’s schedule or budget?
Yes, Foundation program staff will accommodate all reasonable schedule changes (including no-cost extensions) and budget changes (including reallocations from one budget line to another). It is important that the changes be discussed with program staff and documented via email so that you and the Foundation have a record of the change and the new plan you’ve agreed on.

What if the grant-funded project can’t be carried out at all because of pandemic-related disruptions?
It is important for the project leader to speak by phone with the program director to discuss options. Do not return grant monies or cancel the project entirely: we would prefer to explore with you whether the grant could be used by you in some other way that advances the same or related goals.

What should we do if we’ve spent money on cancelled activities that cannot be refunded?
We understand that some costs—e.g., airline tickets, hotel rooms or conference facilities, a consultant’s fee, etc.—may not be able to be refunded to your organization. We know that you will try to recover as much of these paid expenses as you can. If, in the end, you lose grant monies irrevocably, please communicate this to the program director and explain the circumstances (email is fine). We will need to attach this to the grant record and adjust the budget accordingly.

If “sunk costs” of this sort affect your ability to carry out your project or components of it, please discuss with your program director. Again, the Foundation stands ready to work with you to devise alternate approaches to the project that advance your goals in another way.

What if I can’t complete scheduled grant reports on time?
If you are not able to complete grant reports on the schedule originally outlined in your grant letter, please let your program director know. She or he can adjust the schedule accordingly, allowing you more time to complete the report, or even postponing the report for a longer period if reporting on the original schedule no longer makes sense.

If a scheduled grant payment is dependent on a report being submitted, and you do not believe you can complete the report in time, please contact the program director as soon as you can to discuss the situation.

The pandemic is putting serious strains on my organization. Can the Luce Foundation help?
We know that the pandemic and efforts to contain it may now or in the future create financial pressures on your organization that you did not expect. Although we hope that such pressures will not affect your ability to carry out the grant-funded project, we know that in some cases they will. We are prepared to consider your requests to reallocate some or, in rare cases, all of the project budget to other, more pressing needs your organization is facing. You must speak to your program director about such a possibility; it will likely require an amended grant letter explaining the circumstances and the new scope of work, budget, timeline, etc.

The Foundation at present does not have significant additional monies to offer grantees in need of emergency funding. If such funds become available, we will inform applicants about that and what the process will be to seek those funds.

If you have questions about any of this, contact your program director or If there’s something we haven’t addressed, let us know and we can answer your question directly and/or add to this guidance. And remember to check back here from time to time; with the situation as volatile as it is, we expect to revise this guidance regularly.

Responding to Covid-19

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