Grant Application Guidelines

The Foundation considers applications by invitation only.

How We Do Our Work
SESF recognizes that the outcomes we aim to effect require complex cross-sector interventions and collaborations, as well as policy and systems change. Currently, the foundation does not target grants for advocacy, research, or education reform initiatives. We will support programs and partner with nonprofit organizations that have as their mission the identification of, access to, and preparation for postsecondary education and career pathways for underserved strivers, ages 14 through 24.

SESF values both established and innovative approaches, guided by strong leaders, to closing the pervasive Achievement and Opportunity Gaps, and to removing barriers that stand in the way of youth potential. Programs we look to support that inform college and career pathways begin in ninth grade, and include key components such as exposure to career and college knowledge, planning and mapping for best-match postsecondary education options, and equitable access to work-based experiences that introduce students to a world beyond their classrooms. We further recognize that thoughtfully developed college scholarships are an essential tool to combat inequality.

We also have a growing interest in programs that place motivated, underserved high school students in (preferably paid) apprenticeships and internships, connecting youth to professional mentors and potential employers. Linking and tracking these experiences to postsecondary education enrollment, student employment, and/or degree and certificate completion is vital.

Moreover, evidence-based research tells us that persistence, resilience, adaptability, and self-advocacy are among the most critical indicators of accomplishment in postsecondary education and, indeed, in life. As such, we are interested in programs that include evidence-based social emotional development curriculum in tandem with a range of other rigorous skill building trainings to inform the toolkit for postsecondary readiness and success.

We will celebrate success one initiative, one life at a time.

Criteria of Support
The Foundation's current grantmaking focus is on supporting organizations and programs that help highly motivated youth-in-need to be ready for, access, and complete a post-secondary education. The majority of the Foundation's grants are awarded to organizations working in New York City; a portion of the support is distributed to organizations in geographic locations where current Directors live. Foundation grants may be awarded for general operating support, specific programs, and/or endowment funds. The Foundation does not make grants to individuals, for special events, or for fundraising benefits.

The Foundation awards grants only to nonprofit, charitable organizations designated as exempt from income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and identified by the IRS as a public charity and whose activities and programs are compatible with the mission and objectives of the Solon E. Summerfield Foundation.

Grant Cycles
Applications for all grant cycles are accepted by invitation only.

Grant Application Process
Please note the Foundation accepts applications by invitation only. Please do not create an account if you have not received an invitation to apply.
Please read through the instructions below and then follow the link to begin the application process. Note that the Foundation only accepts electronic applications submitted via our web-based portal. We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible within the grant cycle dates.

To begin the application process, you may choose to either Log On or Create New Account. After you have created your account (i.e., the next time you log on), you will use your email address and password to access your application information. The Solon E. Summerfield Foundation, Inc. will acknowledge receipt of your submitted grant application via email.

Supplementary Information

  • If funding is approved, you will be notified via email.
  • You will be required to submit a report for the funded grant.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • The Foundation is to be notified if the funding goal has been reached prior to the Foundation's decision or if the project has been cancelled.
  • If a site visit is considered necessary or desirable, a Foundation representative will call to schedule an interview with the principals of your organization.
  • SESF does not accept invitations to grantee fundraising events.

An invitation to submit an application is not a funding guarantee.
Inclusion on the list of recipients for any particular year is not a guarantee of either future funding or funding at the same level as a previous grant.