How to Apply

We primarily make grants in two focus areas: Career Readiness and College Success. We are especially interested in those proposals that focus on implementing systemic reforms to increase college success and career readiness for students from underserved backgrounds. Before applying for grant funding, please review our focus area pages and Grants & Investments Database to gauge whether your organization and project are a fit for our current priorities.

If you are a for-profit company or nonprofit with a dedicated revenue stream that is looking for information on our program-related investments, visit the Education Innovation Ventures page to learn more about eligibility.

Grants Eligibility

Eligibility for ECMC Foundation grant funding is determined by the following criteria. For certain Requests for Proposals, criteria may be added for specific grant opportunities.

Who is eligible?

  • Nonprofit organizations registered as a U.S. 501(c)(3) or a 509(a)(1), (2) or (3) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Government entities
  • Postsecondary institutions and systems or their affiliated and supporting foundations

Who is ineligible?

  • Individuals
  • Organizations seeking funding to support endowment funds, political activities and lobbying, scholarship programs, capital campaigns or fundraising activities
  • Any entity or program outside the United States (we only make grants in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and to sovereign tribes)
  • Organizations that operate in ways inconsistent with ECMC Foundation mission and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

What we generally do not fund:

All portfolios

  • All K-12 programming, including but not limited to college access, summer bridge, and general career preparation
  • Projects that impact a limited number of students
  • Projects that do not primarily serve students from underserved backgrounds (e.g., students of color, low-income students, adult learners)
  • Requests for ongoing program support
  • Student scholarships

For College Success portfolio

  • College access programs supporting high school students or summer bridge programs
  • Projects or programs with a limited reach that only support students at an individual institution

For Career Readiness portfolio

  • Training programs offering industry recognized credentials with no connection to accredited programs conferring academic credentials 
  • Programs to support adult basic education or help students obtain a General Educational Development (GED) credential or high school equivalency diploma

Grants Submission Process

Letters of Inquiry

ECMC Foundation accepts Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) on a rolling basis. All LOIs must fit within either the priorities of College Success or Career Readiness focus areas. LOIs are submitted through our online system (for your convenience you can preview the form template here).

LOIs must provide the following:

  • An overview of your organization, its purpose, relevant history and data on effectiveness.
  • A brief summary of the activities for which you are requesting support, including an outline of your objectives.
  • The approximate start date and duration of the proposed activities.
  • The total amount of funding needed, the amount requested from ECMC Foundation, and information about other sources of support.
  • Contact information and EIN for the organization.

Formal Proposals

LOIs that most closely reflect ECMC Foundation's program priorities will be invited to submit a full grant proposal. Proposals are accepted upon request only. A request for a proposal should not be interpreted as an indication of likely support.

Foundation staff may request additional information in writing from applicants and may request to meet with applicants, either virtually or in person.

Review Process

The ECMC Foundation Board of Directors meets four times a year to consider grant proposals. Please be aware that the full grant proposal process—from first contact to board approval—can take several months. We ask grant candidates to be mindful of the timeline when beginning the application process.

Submit an LOI to apply for a grant

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Since its inception, ECMC Foundation has targeted its investments in improving postsecondary outcomes for students from underserved backgrounds. We are also committed to supporting leaders, organizations and solutions that prioritize equity. As a result, we have included questions in the application process to help us track metrics around leadership diversity and demographics of participants served.

Monitoring and Reporting

We require that each grantee identify and track unique measures of success, which are defined by the grantee and aligned to the goals of the grant. Annual assessments provide the Foundation with information on a program’s progress toward its targets and goals. Learn more about our approach to measurement and impact

Open Access Policy for Research Grants

As the postsecondary field demands more data-driven decision-making and evidence-based policies, it is essential that the research that informs these efforts is reasonably accessible. Providing easier access to published research allows practitioners, policymakers, and other researchers to more effectively and efficiently integrate data-informed studies into their work.

As a result, all research funded by ECMC Foundation must be open access. ECMC Foundation defines open access as providing the public with continuous free access to research upon project completion or upon completion of any portion of a larger project. By introducing this policy, the Foundation intends to put research into the hands of those who need access to it the most.

By making research open access, it reduces the number of duplicative studies, increases transparency, allows practitioners and policymakers to affordably access data and information, and inspires collaboration.

Find recent research supported by ECMC Foundation.

Search our Grants & Investments Database

Search all ECMC Foundation grants by focus area, approach, grant year, and geographic area. 

Learn More