Arcus Foundation

Apply for a Grant

Our Four-Step Application Process is designed to be as clear and simple as possible. For applicants who have received funding from Arcus within the past three years, we have streamlined some aspects of Steps 3 and 4. At any point within the process, feel free to call our program staff for guidance.

Grants are awarded four times a year – but you can contact us informally via email at any time. We will let you know if a Letter of Inquiry should be submitted.

  1. Step 1 Confirm Eligibility
  2. Step 2 Determine Strategic Fit and Timeline
  3. Step 3 Submit a Letter of Inquiry if requested
  4. Step 4 Submit a Full Grant Proposal

Step 1 - Confirm Eligibility

Organizations must be tax-exempt, meet our EEO requirement, and align with our mission, vision and goals. Specifically, your organization must:

  • Be organized for charitable purposes. For example, in the U.S. be recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. An organization based outside the U.S. must demonstrate that it is a U.S. 501(c)(3) equivalent through documentation of articles of incorporation and bylaws, which will be requested when a proposal is invited.
  • Have in place a board-approved Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy that specifically includes and lists sexual orientation and gender identity, and required compliance with all other applicable federal and local EEO laws. Organizations without compliant policies will not be considered for funding.
  • Align with the Foundation’s mission, vision, and specific program goals.

What we fund

Launched in 2013, the Foundation’s social justice strategy targets specific cultural and policy changes in the United States and internationally.  Please select one of these three options to learn about Arcus’s specific funding areas:

- International Human Rights

- U.S. Social Justice

- Global Religions

Please note that unsolicited requests for funds are only available in the specified funding areas.  Letters of Inquiry should state the name of the program and strategic funding area that is applicable to the project.   

Step 2 - Determine Strategic Fit and Timeline.

If your organization is eligible to be funded by Arcus, the next step is to identify which specific program and funding area applies to your program.   Please review the Strategic Funding Areas for Arcus’s three social justice programs, and determine which applies to your project.  (A project may fall within more than one funding area.)  Often, it is advisable to discuss a proposal with an Arcus staff member prior to submitting an LOI.  Should you wish to do so, email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) four to six months before the project is due to start. Include the name of your organization, your location and a single paragraph describing the request. We will contact you to discuss next steps.

Step 3 - Submit a Letter of Inquiry

The third step in Arcus’s funding process is to submit a short Letter of Inquiry (LOI). Click here to download the LOI form. When complete, email the form and any necessary attachments to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) . You will then be contacted by a member of Arcus’ social justice staff to discuss your project. We try to respond to LOIs and other contacts in a timely fashion.  If you do not hear from us within three weeks, contact us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Arcus’ current grants timeline is visible under Step 2, above.  However, Letters of Inquiry are accepted on a rolling basis, and Arcus’ LOI form is designed to be completed in about an hour. There is no need to wait until LOI due dates to submit, and we encourage submissions throughout the year in order to allow for proposals to be reviewed and discussed with applicants. After reviewing your Letter of Inquiry, a member of the Social Justice staff will contact you to discuss your proposal, and determine whether to move onto the final stage, submitting a a full proposal (step 4).

Please note that applicants that have not received funding by the Arcus Foundation in the past three years must also submit an IRS 501(c)3 letter to verify non-profit status, and the organization’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy.

Step 4 - Submit a full grant proposal upon invitation.

Please contact your program assistant at any time for assistance in completing your proposal. Each proposal must include the following:

1. Grant Proposal Cover Sheet, completed and signed.

2. Proposal Form

  • Section I: Executive Summary (suggested length is 1/2 page)
  • Section II: Description of Organization Summary (if you have been funded by Arcus in the last three years, you may skip this section)
  • Section III:  Purpose of the Grant (suggested length is 1 to 2 pages)
  • Section IV: Anticipated Results and How They will be Achieved A new addition to our proposal requirements asks you to focus your request on 1 or 2 results. The form enables you to include 2 results, but if you need to include more than 2, you can append additional results tables at the end of Section IV. (Examples of results are included at the end of this packet)
  1. We ask you to think about results in two ways: the ultimate result you hope to achieve (first space in the box) and the result you hope to achieve by the end of the proposed grant period (second space for one-year grants; spaces marked “Year 1, Year 2, Year 3” for multi-year grants);  
  2. The last space asks you to provide the milestones or measures you will use to assess whether you are achieving the result. These should be tied to the result you are reporting on. This section should focus on markers of progress instead of on specific activities in your work plan, which you will have an opportunity to include in the next section.  
  • Section V:  Work Plan and Budget Narrative (Suggested length is 2 pages.)
  • Section VI:  Funding and Sustainability (Complete section only if your total grant requests is greater than $50,000.)  Please provide a funding plan for the grant period beyond Arcus funds and for after the grant period.
  • Section VII: Checklist of Required Attachments  

3. Attachments:
      a.) Board of Directors List with affiliations.
      b.) Financial Information

  1. Organization's current annual operating budget, including expenses and revenue. Attach a list of the organization's main sources of support.
  2. For a request related to Project Support, use the Arcus Project Budget Form to provide the project budget that covers the proposed grant period. In the case of a multi-year request, provide project budgets covering each year of the request period.
  3. For a request related to General Operating Support, provide the organization's annual operating budget for the proposed grant period. In the case of a multi-year request, provide estimated organization budgets for each year of the request period. In addition, if possible, provide a breakdown of how a grant from Arcus will be expended.
  4. Proposals greater than $50,000, please include the most recent annual financial audit (or a financial statement reviewed by an independent third party, if an audit is not required).

4. Submission:
Email or Upload (We prefer you send your proposal electronically.)
   1. Via e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (files cannot exceed 10 MB)
   2. Via upload:

Mail to: (If you are not able to email or upload your application, please mail 3 hard copies of the full packet including attachments, without binders or folders. )
Arcus Foundation
Grant Application
44 West 28th Street, 17th Floor 

New York, NY 10001
We look forward to receiving your proposal!


The Arcus Foundation's social justice program focuses on maximizing impact in its three program areas: International Human Rights; United States; Global Religion.

The Foundation invites inquiries from organizations with projects falling under these areas. For more information on the submitting an inquiry, click the links below:

  1. Grant Forms
  2. Grantee Resources

Awarded Grants

Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
New York, NY $680,000

See more >>

Global State-Sponsored Homophobia Interactive Map

Click here to explore the map

International LGBT Rights Map

Source © ILGA—International Lesbian and Gay Association—

Stories of Impact

Uniting for Social Change

Leaders from several Kalamazoo nonprofits have been given a unique opportunity to look beyond immediate needs and work for long-term change through the Arcus Foundation’s Michigan Racial and Economic Justice Initiative. Read more >>

Liberation through Religion: A Conversation with Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum’s life traces the arc of the LGBT rights movement. Today, as the rabbi of the largest LGBT synagogue in the world, she is one of the country’s preeminent religious voices for progressive values. Read more >>