Grantmaking Policies and Guidelines

Grantmaking Areas

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports a wide range of initiatives to strengthen the humanities, arts, higher education, and cultural heritage.  Organizations in those fields can consult descriptions of the Foundation's areas of grantmaking to determine whether a project fits within the Foundation's programmatic interests and mission.

Inquiries and Application Process

Prospective grantees should review program area guidelines before inquiring about a particular project.  If Foundation staff find that the project fits within the Foundation's grantmaking priorities, staff will invite a grant proposal.  Once invited, grantees should be prepared to work closely with program staff in refining the proposal, often through multiple drafts.  Based on the final proposal, program staff will determine whether to bring a grant recommendation to the Board of Trustees at one of its quarterly meetings (generally held in March, June, September, and December).

The Foundation also invites and considers a limited number of grants in the amount of $150,000 or less for approval by the Foundation's Officers ("Officer's Grants") between Board meetings.  Prospective grantees invited to apply for an Officer's Grant should consult with program staff about the appropriate length, content, and timing of Officer's Grant applications.

Preparing an Invited Grant Proposal

The Foundation's grant proposal guidelines provide detailed instructions on how to prepare and submit an invited proposal.  The proposal should present information in a clear and concise way that enables the Foundation to assess the scope and significance of the proposed grant.

Grantmaking Policies

The terms of a grant proposal, management of a grant, and requests for modifications of grant terms are governed by the Foundation's grantmaking policies.  These policies set forth, among other matters:

  • Grantees' fiduciary, reporting, and record-keeping responsibilities
  • Application and reporting guidelines for non-US organizations
  • Requirements concerning the creation and distribution of intellectual property, and the securing of rights and permissions associated with software and digital products
  • Requirements relating to endowment grants
  • Procedures associated with matching terms and payments
  • Guidelines for requesting grant modifications

Prospective and current grantees should not hesitate to contact Foundation program staff or the Office of the Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary with any questions regarding the information on these pages.

This introduction to grantmaking is also available as a single PDF.