Grant Guidelines

We encourage all potential applicants to read the “What We Believe” section of this Web site for general information. If you believe that your organization’s mission and programs are consistent with the Foundation’s interests, the application process is relatively simple.

Letter of Inquiry

All applicants must write a brief letter of inquiry, not to exceed two pages, describing the grantee organization and the proposed project. The letter should include the names and qualifications of the project’s leadership, a list of the board members and an estimated budget.  Where appropriate, it should also include a list of other funders being approached to support the project.

Next Steps

The letter will provide enough information for the Foundation to determine whether it will consider a formal proposal. If the idea seems promising, our program staff will follow up with requests for other materials and to schedule site visits or meetings with the potential grantee’s senior staff.


Grants are awarded only to nonprofit public charitable organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation does not make grants to individuals or provide emergency assistance, nor do we support medical research, the direct provision of health care or religious education. We rarely make grants to support conferences, publications or media.

On occasion, we will make grants for building renovations or other capital projects—but only to grantee organizations we know well and then only for projects that will directly improve or expand programs we support.

The Timetable

Letters of inquiry are welcome at any time. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees has two grantmaking meetings a year, in May and December. Grant decisions are announced immediately after those meetings.

We favor programs that can make substantial progress toward their goals in a period of three years or less. While we may consider renewal of selected grants beyond that period, our general approach is not to provide long-term annual support for most grantee organizations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are your deadlines?

Our board meets twice a year—in May and December—to consider grant requests.  Applications must be received well in advance of those meetings in order to allow time for site visits and follow-up discussions.

What forms do you require?

If your organization is invited to submit a formal application, we will ask you to fill out the Philanthropy New York common application form. In addition, we will supply our own one-page template on program goals and outcomes.

Do you support scholarships or other grants to individuals?

The Foundation makes grants only to established 501(c) (3) programs serving disadvantaged young people. We make no grants to individuals.

Do you consider grants to national organizations?

Our grants are solely to programs operating in New York City or directly serving the City’s youth.

Do you fund building projects or the purchase of capital equipment?

We make a very small number of capital grants—but only to organizations that have been long-time Pinkerton grantees and only for projects that allow those programs to expand their direct services to young people.

What time periods do your grants cover?

There is no “standard” Pinkerton grant. Most grants are for a period of one year. We also make a number of two- or three-year grants, but those must be reviewed and confirmed by the board on an annual basis. After three years, most organizations will be ineligible to receive additional grants for at least a two-year period.