Grants and Guidelines
Our Focus

Looking for a specific grant?

Search Grants
Page Tools

Application Procedures

What we fund

The Mott Foundation makes grants in the U.S. and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally. Grants outside the U.S. are made only in the Civil Society and Environment programs.

All prospective applicants should review the mission, program areas, geographic range and available funding for the Foundation's programs before making initial contact.

Our grantmaking is carried out in three ways:

  • We request proposals from organizations with which we have been in contact.
  • We send out occasional requests for proposals (RFPs) that address a specific issue or area of interest.
  • We accept unsolicited requests for projects that fall within our program priorities and guidelines.

Because available funding is limited, Letters of Inquiry are strongly preferred for unsolicited ideas or projects. Such letters should include a brief description of the project, the funding needed and the time period.

Both general-purpose and project-specific requests are considered. In addition, both single- and multi-year proposals are acceptable.

Our median grant size is in the $100,000 range. The majority of our grants are between $15,000 and $250,000 annually.

What we do not fund

We observe the following limitations:

  • No grants or loans to individuals.
  • No grants (except in the Flint area) for capital development, research, project replication or endowment unless these activities grow out of work already being funded by Mott.
  • No grants for religious activities or programs serving specific religious groups or denominations. However, faith-based organizations may submit inquiries if the project falls within our guidelines and serves a broad segment of the population.
  • No grants (except in the Flint area) for local projects unless they are part of a Mott-planned national demonstration or network of grants.
  • No grants for projects that duplicate, or significantly overlap, the work of federal, state or local governmental agencies.
  • Film and video projects, books, scholarships and fellowships rarely are funded.

How to apply

Letters of Inquiry

As noted earlier, we strongly prefer that unsolicited requests be made through Letters of Inquiry. The letter should describe the purpose and objectives of the project, general methodology and total cost of the project. A letter of inquiry enables the Foundation program staff to determine the relevance of the proposed project to the Foundation's programs and to provide advice on whether to submit a full proposal.

Full, Formal Proposals

If your Letter of Inquiry receives a favorable response, please follow this checklist for what should be included in a solicited formal proposal:

  • A cover letter, detailing the amount of money requested and the grant period, signed by the individual responsible for signing grant contracts on behalf of the grant applicant.
  • A project description, including an explanation of why the project is needed, who will be served and what will be accomplished.
  • A documented line-item expense budget and a revenue budget, showing all projected sources of funds for the project over the proposed grant period. (A budget template is available in our For Grantees section.)
  • A plan for financial and programmatic sustainability of the project.
  • A plan for evaluation and dissemination of the project's results.
  • Information about the organization seeking funds, including names and titles for key staff, names and professional affiliations for members of the board of directors, legal classification, history and recent accomplishments. For U.S. organizations, proof of tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status by the IRS is required. Other financial and organizational information is required for non-U.S. organizations.

Applicants must submit copies of their organization's published annual report and audited financial statements before a grant is made. If these are not available, a U.S. organization will be required to submit a copy of its latest IRS Form 990 return.

Videotapes should not be included with the application; they will not be returned.

When to apply

Proposals should be submitted to the Foundation at least four months before the start of the proposed grant period.

Program budgets are allocated on a calendar-year basis. Beginning in the fourth quarter of each year, staff will earmark funds for projects to be recommended for the next calendar year. Staff must finalize all grant recommendations for any calendar year by August 31 of that year. Applications are accepted year-round, but those received between September 1 and December 31 will be considered only for the following calendar year.

Requests are reviewed by program and compliance staff, and recommendations are forwarded to senior management. A proposal may be approved at the management level by delegated authority throughout the year or referred to our Board of Trustees, which meets quarterly, for action.

Where to apply

Submitting your Letter of Inquiry online:

If you would like to submit your Letter of Inquiry electronically, please click here to access the online Letter of Inquiry form.

Mailing your Letter of Inquiry:

If you are submitting a Letter of Inquiry or a formal proposal by mail, please mark the envelope LETTER OF INQUIRY or GRANT PROPOSAL and mail to:

Office of Proposal Entry
C.S. Mott Foundation
Mott Foundation Building
503 S. Saginaw Street, Suite 1200
Flint, MI 48502-1851

Requirements for non-U.S. organizations


Non-U.S. applicants also are urged to submit a Letter of Inquiry and not to prepare a full, formal proposal exclusively for Mott unless advised to do so by our staff. All letters and proposals must be in English and must be submitted by a charitable, educational or governmental organization.

Please note: Only select program areas within our Civil Society and Environment programs provide funding for organizations outside the United States. Please review our grants guidelines in detail prior to submitting a Letter of Inquiry.

Before a grant can be made, U.S. government regulations require us to collect from each applicant, except governmental units or organizations, an affidavit and public support schedule to determine equivalence as a tax-exempt institution under U.S. law. Our staff will provide the forms as well as assistance in completing them. (These forms, and instructions, also are available in our For Grantees section.) All submitted materials must be in English.