Human Services

We seek to expand access and opportunity for individuals and families who are vulnerable and low-income by strengthening human services organizations and promoting new responses to challenges in the sector.

Program Overview

To help historically and systematically disadvantaged individuals and communities, we believe it is necessary to transform the human-services sector. Today’s social, economic and political challenges require it.

Some 48 million Americans live in poverty. The proportion of U.S. citizens in poverty has increased or held steady for all but one of the past dozen years. At the same time, incomes have stagnated or declined for all but the highly educated and affluent.

The once-reliable paths to economic stability are now filled with barriers, and human services agencies’ ability to intervene is limited by diminished government support. 

We want to see people living in poverty have opportunity to achieve well-being and lead self-sufficient, self-determined, productive lives. We know that human services organizations play a key role by providing access to timely services, benefits and opportunities. 

We focus on organizational effectiveness, resilience and commitment to excellence to enhance the services provided to those attempting to escape poverty. We seek to foster innovation and advance efforts that provide models of evidence-based approaches.

Our aim is to partner with other foundations and with the public, private and nonprofit sectors, and deploy our capital for the benefit of multiservice organizations and the people they assist.

We use the full array of available grantmaking tools to foster change. Those tools include project grants, operating support and program-related investments as well as convening, facilitating, and connecting partners to learn and lead.

Our investments are concentrated in these focus areas:

Advancing the effectiveness and resilience of multiservice organizations

We look for opportunities to partner with high-performing, multiservice organizations that seek to increase their ability to innovate and take their service-delivery and systems-change work to a higher level.

Leveraging the effectiveness of networks

We support umbrella organizations and networks striving to re-invent the sector in ways that increase effectiveness and ultimately improve the quality of life and economic security of low-income individuals and families.

How we work

Because we are committed to the transformation of the human services sector, we do not fund organizations interested in building capacity – for example, additional equipment to service a larger caseload.

Instead we commit support to organizations using new approaches that can provide lessons for the field.

Successful applicants have a clear strategic vision and are able to articulate what works and why. They have inclusive and adaptive leadership and personnel, a purpose that is embraced by the entire organization and communicated to those the organization serves. They demonstrate a clear fit between capabilities and objective, a culture of respect for clients’ dignity and a commitment to learning and continuous improvement. 

We look for organizations and networks positioned to inform and influence communities of practice and build the public will for supportive policies.   

We rarely fund organizations with annual budgets of less than $1 million a year. Please review the applicable focus area’s Web page for additional guidance.

Funding Methods

We award operating and project grants and make program-related investments. Some grants are awarded for a single year, others are for multiple years. 

Eligibility

Who should apply?

  • U.S. 501(c)(3) organizations with audited financial statements that are not classified as private foundations. Audits must be independently prepared following Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or Government Auditing Standards (GAS).  Financial statements prepared on a cash, modified cash, compilation, or review basis do not qualify.
  • Government entities.
  • Organizations able to supply two years of audited financials and a letter of support from the president or CEO.

Who should not apply?

  • Individuals.
  • Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, sexual orientation or veteran status.
  • Organizations that require membership in certain religions or advance a particular religious faith. (Faith-based organizations may be eligible if they welcome and serve all members of the community regardless of religious belief.)
  • Programs operated to benefit for-profit organizations.

Application Process

We accept and review inquiries on an ongoing basis. Please review the applicable focus area’s Web page and the application process it recommends. We encourage prospective applicants to thoroughly review information about our strategies and related material on the website, before investing the time and effort to complete an application.   

There is keen competition for our grant dollars. A significant portion of our budget is already committed via multiyear grants.

Funding Opportunities

Program and Focus Area Application Status Online Application