Apply for a Grant

Connect with Public Welfare Foundation by submitting a Letter of Inquiry.

Grants Process

The Public Welfare Foundation has a two-step application process that includes both a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) and a full proposal. We invite full proposals after reviewing letters of inquiry. We only consider full proposals we have invited that fit within the program guidelines and available resources.

Current focus areas include:

  • Organizations developing innovative, transformative approaches to youth and adult criminal justice reform in: Oklahoma; Michigan; Georgia; Colorado; Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Washington, DC.
  • Organizations and projects focused on investing in community-based solutions that reduce the over-reliance on mass incarceration
  • Reframing the narrative and fostering greater transparency and urgency around the U.S. criminal justice system through storytelling, journalism and other targeted efforts.

For Fiscal Year 2023, in addition to our core strategies listed above, Public Welfare is exploring investments in the following areas:

  • Organizations and projects with a focus on dismantling the incarceration of women and women-aligned people.
  • Organizations, projects, or special initiatives with a focus on reducing harm and violence using community-centered interventions.
  • Organizations or projects with a focus on supporting the development of formerly incarcerated and justice-impacted leaders in the field.

How to apply:

  • Step 1: Submit a LOI.
  • Step 2: If invited, submit a full proposal.

Submit a Letter of Inquiry

We accept inquiries throughout the year. Letters of Inquiry are accepted on a rolling basis. Please note that the Foundation does not fund individuals, scholarships, or international projects. Organizations applying for funding must hold a 501c3 IRS status. Organizations that do not have this status may apply with a fiscal sponsor. Please visit and review the Foundation’s grant areas before submitting an LOI.

Applicants must submit letters of inquiry through the Foundation’s online application system. Letters of inquiry that are not submitted through the online application system will not be considered.

For Fiscal Year 2023, Public Welfare’s funding strategies include:

  • Narrative Change, Media, and Strategic Communications: Re-framing the narrative and fostering greater transparency and urgency around the U.S. criminal justice system through storytelling, journalism, and other targeted efforts.
  • Targeted Criminal and Youth Justice Reforms in: Oklahoma; Michigan; Georgia; Colorado; Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Washington, DC.

In addition to our core strategies, Public Welfare is deepening exploration of the following strategies:

  • Gender Justice: Dismantling the incarceration of women an d women-aligned people through gender-informed specialized treatment, healing trauma and wellness, transformative reentry programs and leadership development for justice-impacted women.
  • Violence and Harm Reduction: Reducing violence using community-centered interventions, including through professionalizing community violence intervention workers, creating or expanding offices of violence prevention, and emphasizing interventions that attend to individual needs within localized geographic locations.
  • Formerly Incarcerated Leadership: Supporting the development and leadership of formerly incarcerated and justice-impacted leaders in the field, including through expanding re-entry services; building organizational and movement capacity for formerly incarcerated leaders; and addressing trauma and providing space for healing and wellness

More details about the Foundation’s funding strategies can be found in online application system.

  • Access our grants management system here.
  • If you are a first-time user, click the “New Applicant?” link under the email address field on the login screen. Follow the prompts to create an account.
  • If you have started an LOI or proposal and wish to return to it, log into our grants management system here. This will take you to your account homepage where you can access all LOIs and/or proposals you have created using the system.
  • If you receive an error message when you try to log in, please try logging in using another web browser. For example, if you are using Google Chrome, please try to log in using Internet Explorer, Firefox or another web browser. If you continue to receive an error message, please delete the cookies on your web browser and try to log in again. If neither of these solutions corrects the problem, please email

  • The Letter of Inquiry should contain facts and figures about the organization, describe its mission, and explain the purpose of the request, including the Foundation program under which a grant is being requested. For more information, visit the LOI Content Guide.

  • Once a Letter of Inquiry arrives at the Foundation, our staff determines whether the proposed project fits the Foundation’s funding guidelines and available resources.
  • Our staff responds to letters of inquiry within 60 business days.

Letter of Inquiry Content Guide

Each letter of inquiry should include the following information:

  • The organization’s official name and contact information
  • A proposal title
  • Total organization budget
  • Request amount
  • A narrative description (4,500 characters or less) of your organization and work proposed, which should include the following: a) your organization’s mission and work; b) the problem(s) to be addressed by the proposal; c) the work to be performed; and d) the specific goals sought.

Additional Questions?

Please email for any other questions about applying that are not answered here.