Applicant Resources

Applying for Grants and Guidelines for Proposals

Applying for a Grant

The Commonwealth Fund requests letters of inquiry to initiate the grant application process, and does not wish to review full proposals at this stage. Applicants are encouraged to submit letters of inquiry using our online form. While the Fund will continue to accept letters of inquiry via regular mail and fax, such submissions will take longer to process than those received online. Letters of inquiry are acknowledged when received. Applicants are typically advised of the results of an initial staff review within two months. Program staff will contact applicants if more detailed information is required. Proposals recommended by Fund staff are reviewed and voted upon by the Board of Directors, which meets three times each year. However, letters of inquiry are accepted on a rolling basis; there are no deadlines.

In addition, the Fund awards grants through its Small Grants Fund, with decisions made on a monthly basis. Small grants are closely tied to the Fund's strategic purposes, and enable the foundation to move quickly and flexibly to underwrite targeted work. The letter of inquiry is the starting point for both board-level and small grants.

The Fund strongly prefers grant applicants to submit letters of inquiry using the online letter of inquiry.

The Fund makes grants only to tax-exempt organizations and public agencies and does not support:

  • General planning and ongoing activities or existing deficits
  • Endowment or capital costs, including construction, renovation, or equipment
  • Basic biomedical research
  • Conferences, symposia, major media projects, or documentaries, unless they are an outgrowth of one of the Fund's programs
  • Individuals
  • Scholarships
  • Churches or other religious organizations unless the project for which they seek funding is entirely secular in nature
  • Work for which achievements cannot be measured.

Letter of Inquiry


A PDF with detailed instructions for the online inquiry application is available here

STEP 1 – ACCESSING THE GRANTS MANAGEMENT PORTAL SYSTEM Use this link to access the Letter of Inquiry Application.

STEP 2 – REGISTRATION/LOGIN Prior to accessing the Letter of Inquiry Application, the system will prompt you to log in. Please enter your email address as the username.


If you have any questions or difficulties using our online system, please contact our

Grants Management Office at or call 212-606-3800.


You will receive a verification email once you have successfully started and saved a Letter of Inquiry Application form. This email, with the subject line Portal Registration – The Commonwealth Fund, will direct you to the login page to access your form.

Once logged in, you will be presented with a dashboard. The Open Items tab lists the Inquiry Application you have in progress. You can continue to complete your Inquiry Application by clicking the Edit button.

Proposal and Budget Guidelines

The downloads available at left are for grant applicants who have completed an online letter of inquiry, received a positive response from a Fund program officer, and have been asked to develop a full proposal and budget for a small grant or board-level grant.

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