Grant Guidelines

Grant Guidelines

Over the past several years, as the Foundation has become increasingly focused in its funding interests, the percentage of unsolicited letters that result in grants has dropped dramatically. Further, as the Foundation is moving its grantmaking strategy from support for the proliferation of emergent education and youth organizing to one that is focused on increasing the effectiveness of the field, it is likely that the number of unsolicited letters that result in grants would only decrease further. Therefore, in order to respect the value of the time and human resources of prospective grantees, as well as the limitations of the Foundation, Hazen will no longer accept unsolicited letters of inquiry but rather will periodically issue Requests for Proposals and Calls for Letters of Inquiry.

THE HAZEN FOUNDATION WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT UNSOLICITED LETTERS OF INQUIRY. Instead, the Foundation will periodically issue Requests for Proposals (RFP) and Calls for Letters of Inquiry (LOI).

Organizations that wish to receive a RFP should call the Foundation and leave a message on voicemail extension #7 or submit a request with organizational contact information at the contact us page of the website or send email to hazen (at) (subject: RFP Request).

Organizations are invited to apply for funding through the RFP process at the discretion of the Foundation. All inquiries will be reviewed by staff, although not all inquiries will receive a response. The Foundation will endeavor to determine whether each inquiring organization meets the criteria for each program area. Please see the Programs page for further information on the Foundation’s funding guidelines.  Foundation staff will not be available to provide an assessment of an organization’s eligibility over the phone.

For the Spring and Fall grant cycles, the Foundation will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) in each of its two funding areas: Youth Development and Public Education. These RFP’s will be distributed in late January (for Spring cylce) and late June (for Fall cycle) to eligible organizations. Only organizations receiving the RFP directly from the Foundation will be considered for funding.

The Public Education and Youth Organizing programs will continue to have a national scope; funding will be available for existing organizing groups identified by the Foundation. The RFP for the Spring grant cycles will be circulated to eligible organizations in the West and Mid-West in the beginning of the year; a similar RFP will be circulated to groups in East and Southeast for the Fall grant cycles, later in the year.

Further information on the funding strategy for Youth Development or Public Education can be found on the programs page.

Since 1988, in an effort to foster effective schools for all students, Hazen's grantmaking in the area of public education has focused on Education Organizing to build the collective capacity and power of parents and residents in low-income communities and communities of color to demand and achieve quality education for their children. Similarly, since 1994, seeking to contribute to the development of young people as leaders for social change, the Foundation has focused its youth development funding on Youth Organizing as a way of developing leadership among middle and high school-age youth in low-income communities and to enable them to play a lead role in shaping public policy and making public institutions and systems more responsive and supportive of their development and accountable to them and their communities.

Implementation of these priorities is guided by a set of values and assumptions that recognize:

The inherent worth of all young people regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, immigrant status, religion, economic or social background.

  • A high quality education as a basic civil right for all students. 
  • The need for equitable and effective means for educating all children to achieve at high levels, and to be properly prepared to enter adulthood with the knowledge, skills and experience needed to lead engaged and productive lives.
  • The value of public schools as the most viable venues for equitable education, and as a democratizing force in our society.
  • The need to build public and political will for sustained investment in the education and development of young people, particularly youth of color and low-income youth.
  • Transformation of the lives and future of low-income youth and youth of color requires their active engagement in strengthening the schools, communities and society where they grow and develop.


The goal of the Foundation's public education program is to foster effective schools for all children and full partnership for parents and communities in school reform.

During the period 2005-2014, Hazen's grantmaking will focus on education organizing in order to build an organized, broad-based and powerful grassroots constituency capable of transforming low performing schools and school systems serving low income children and youth of color into places of learning and respect. In working toward this end, the Foundation will work collaboratively with and provide sustained funding to a core group of grantees in four targeted sites -- Los Angeles Unified School District, Miami-Dade County, the Delta Region of Mississippi, and New York City -- to bring about concrete improvement in the quality of education and student outcomes in low performing schools and school districts in these sites.
Organizations to be considered for funding will be community-based organizations, grassroots groups, and coalitions led by Hazen grantees in targeted sites that are engaged in education organizing and that:

  • Demonstrate a high level of effectiveness in their education organizing; Have a clearly articulated vision, strategy and action plan for their work.
  • Are committed to the values of public schools as the most viable venues for equitable education, and as a democratizing force in our society.
  • Seek to build public and political will for sustained investment in the education and development of young people, particularly youth of color and low-income youth.
  • Express a willingness to work with other community based organizations and the Foundation in achieving common goals.

There will also be limited funding available to support emerging education organizing, particularly efforts that engage new constituencies. In conjunction with the site-specific funding, Hazen will continue to create and support opportunities for education organizing practitioners and allies to work more closely locally and nationally in order to define a shared vision of equitable, quality education and a collective agenda for constituency-driven education reform.

By focusing on youth organizing as a strategy for youth development and social change, the Foundation seeks to contribute to the development of young people as leaders for social change so that they can help create policies, social systems, and public institutions that are supportive, responsible, and accountable to youth and their communities.
In pursuit of this goal, during 2005-2014, the Foundation will primarily support existing youth organizing groups that:

  • Are poised to expand the scope, scale and impact of their organizing on concrete issues that affect young people's development, in particular youth of color and lower income youth and their communities, and that have a well-developed plan to increase the number and leadership capacity of the young people involved in their work as well as to build a larger, stronger, leadership and membership base.
  • Whose work can inform that of other organizations in the field and that demonstrates the effectiveness of youth organizing as a strategy for youth leadership development and social change.

The groups selected for funding will be primarily from parts of the country where there are cluster of youth organizing groups, youth organizing intermediaries and current or potential base of funders to support this work. A few grants will also be made to youth organizing intermediaries to enhance the capacity of Hazen grantees, and to new networks or coalitions of youth organizing groups.





Beginning in 2005, the Foundation’s grantmaking focus shifted support for emergent education organizing, to concentrate on increasing the effectiveness of existing efforts.  Though we have awarded grants to unsolicited proposals in the past, given our new strategy, we will no longer accept unsolicited proposals or letters of inquiry.  We have therefore undertaken to provide sustained support to groups in four targeted sites, New York City, Los Angeles Unified School District, Mimi/Dade County and the Delta region of Mississippi.  The Foundation also recognizes that it is important for groups to find the means for gaining legitimacy and building power sufficient to challenge bureaucratic, entrenched systems.  It is our observation that some groups are having success through the creation of partnerships, coalitions and collaboratives.

Therefore, the Foundation will make funds available to support initiatives of current grantees that:

  • Seek education reform at the system, rather than school level, focusing on issues that directly impact the quality of education in their communities;

  • Involve at least three organizations, of which no less than one, and preferably at least two, are current grantees of the Hazen Foundation;

  • Reach beyond the bounds of a single neighborhood.

Successful grants will:

  • Have a clear and specific issue focus;

  • Exhibit an understanding of the issue area affecting the schools in the target district and include data that substantiates the definition of the problem, need or opportunity;

  • Articulate clear, measurable objectives and include objectives that address impact as well as process;

  • Develop leadership among parents, students and community members to organize for education reform;

  • Have a clearly defined structure for accountability and decision making among the members of the coalition, partnership or collaborative.

Grants will be made twice a year during the Foundation’s regular grant cycles in the spring and fall.  In order to be considered for support, current grantees should submit a short (2 to 4 page) letter to the President of the Foundation.  Those initiatives that seem relevant to the Foundation’s priorities will be asked to submit a more comprehensive proposal.  Although letters will be considered throughout the year, it is advisable to submit letters no later than February for consideration at the spring board meeting or August for consideration in the fall. 

The resources available are not intended to replicate ongoing funding for the individual organizations but, rather, should increase the capacity of the groups involved and enable them to build collective power to improve school systems.  Funding will be available for expenses directly related to the proposed collaborative or partnership such as new staff dedicated to this effort, costs for convening partners, etc.  While some portion of the funding may be used to free up staff time to participate in the partnership or collaborative, it is expected that the primary purpose of the grant will be to offset the added expenses of pursuing a collaborative strategy.



The Edward W. Hazen Foundation seeks to further its program objectives by supporting the efforts of community-based, and other nonprofit agencies, that view people from diverse backgrounds as partners and not just as clients or program recipients. The Foundation favors proposals from organizations which demonstrate a commitment to diversifying their boards and staff. In those cases where the demographics of the community served by the organization limit such diversity, the Foundation encourages its grantees to collaborate with agencies or groups that work with people from other racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.