Grant Guidelines

Foundation Philosophy
The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, has charter goals to improve the educational, religious, economic and cultural lives of Michigan's people as those needs can be defined in a world which constantly presents new or different challenges and opportunities. The Foundation can only make grants to 501(c)(3) or governmental organizations located in Michigan. The Foundation trustees carefully consider proposals submitted, and look for programs where their contribution can be leveraged. Organizations requesting funding for a new program should be sure that they have planned for that program's future self-sufficiency.

Program Priorities
Since the needs, desires and capabilities of Michigan's people and their organizations are constantly changing, there is no fixed or steadfast priority in the Foundation grant making decisions. However, within its charter and philosophy the trustees tend to support organizations that:

  • have clearly stated objectives, strong and purposeful management and are publicly accountable
  • have needs which are in areas not normally funded by governmental or public financing
  • are not hesitant to explore, initiate, volunteer, or execute original ideas or concepts
  • are willing to collaborate with other persons or organizations to give synergy to achieve a common objective or goal
  • have purposes which tend to advance private enterprise and the preservation of a free, open and self-resourceful society

Program Examples

1. Education
The Foundation is always interested in improving the quality of education at Michigan's academic institutions, particularly in those specific areas where a given institution already is establishing preeminence.

2. Science
Since the community of Midland and the base of the Foundation's assets have been products of scientific achievement, the trustees seek to encourage projects that include advanced research and new applications of science and/or technology. The Foundation is currently involved with the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative which is aimed at environmental improvement that is consistent with community growth.

3. Arts and Culture
The Dow Gardens, the Midland Center for the Arts, and the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art are programs and projects that the Foundation champions and supports. Art-related activities that explore or promote the interrelation of science and art are encouraged. The trustees particularly enjoy supporting tasteful, creative, and innovative programs that expand the general public's art and cultural horizons.

4. Community Life – Midland and Michigan
To improve the quality of life for Midland and Michigan residents continues to be a major goal of the Foundation. The Trustees support programs and projects that add an important dimension to community life, such as the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library, the Greater Midland Community Centers, Inc., the West Midland Family Center, and the 99 Midland County churches. The Foundation affirms the importance of local initiatives, particularly private initiatives, which encourage economic development and promote job creation.

Program Notes
Both in Midland and in Michigan, the trustees look for opportunities where a grant of seed money or a matching grant will stimulate broad public participation in an artistic, recreational, educational or cultural project so that the project can become self-sustaining. Projects that benefit youngsters or senior citizens are of special interest. If a program needs launching or requires changes, the Foundation may help. Requests for general support money for ongoing programs are more properly directed to other organizations of broad public benefit.

Application and Review Procedures
There is no formal application form; however, applicants are asked to include the following information in a proposal:

  • a letter setting forth the nature and potential results of the program for which funding is sought
  • the total cost of the project including any endowment for operations
  • the total amount sought from the Foundation, and how and over what period of time the grant may be disbursed, as well any other funding sources being sought for the project
  • evidence of the organization's tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3)
  • a detailed annual organizational budget and audited financial statement for the organization (These should be submitted annually for the duration of the grant.)
  • the names of management and of the trustees or directors of the organization

Those proposals that pass initial evaluation are referred to the appropriate program committee of the Board of Trustees for full consideration. Trustees may request additional information, make site visits, or invite organizations to meet with them in Midland. The Board meets periodically during the year to make final grant decisions. The Foundation‘s usual practice is to disburse grant payments in December.

Grant Focus
The Foundation does not make grants directly to individuals. Its charter limits grants to Michigan organizations. In addition, it cannot legally support:

  • organizations to which contributions are not tax deductible, according to Internal Revenue Service regulations
  • organizations that practice discrimination by race, sex, creed, age or national origin
  • political organizations or organizations whose purposes are to influence legislation

The Foundation will not be bound by preset "formulas for giving" prepared by nonprofit agencies.

A Note to Grant Seekers
The Foundation would like to be in a financial position to assist all grant requests within its philosophy; however, each year it must decline many meaningful appeals for the simple reason that its funds are limited. Consequently, an applicant should never view a declination by the Foundation as a judgment on the merits of the proposal.