The Jessie Ball duPont Fund’s competitive grantmaking program responds to individual proposals initiated by eligible organizations. This program funds, on a competitive basis, the very best ideas that come forward. The objective of the proposal is determined by the applying organization. Quality of the idea, relevance to the organization’s constituency and community, and consistency with the grantmaking goals of the Fund are the principal criteria that inform the trustees’ grantmaking.
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund recognizes that programmatic excellence is defined both by an organization’s vision and by its capacity to accomplish that vision. The Fund provides feasibility grants of up to $5,000 to allow eligible organizations to ask and answer fundamental questions before undertaking new work.
Technical Assistance Grants
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund recognizes that achieving and sustaining organizational excellence requires continuous improvement in operations. The Fund provides technical assistance grants of up to $4,000 to help support strategic planning, consultancies, staff and board professional development, or technology.
Independent Schools Initiative
Among the Jessie Ball duPont Fund’s eligible organizations are 17 private independent, pre-collegiate schools. To help build the capacity of these schools, the Fund provides the Independent School Discretionary Fund for New Heads of School. Through this initiative, the new head of an independent school with an endowment of less than $40 million may receive a discretionary grant of $10,000 for three consecutive years upon his/her appointment.
Traditional nonprofit organizations comprise the largest group of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund’s eligible organizations — about 150 out of roughly 330.
The majority of these nonprofits are eligible for support through this initiative (excluded are 16 hospitals and four private foundations). These nonprofits are eligible to receive an Executive Director’s Discretionary Fund grant and for the opportunity to attend the Jessie Ball duPont Fund Nonprofit Institute.
The Executive Director’s Discretionary Fund awards grants of $10,000 to one third of the eligible nonprofits each year on a rotating basis.
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund Nonprofit Institutes are residential seminars conducted by the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership at Georgetown University. Institute curricula are designed for nonprofit executives and their board chairs and for emerging leaders from within eligible nonprofit organizations. Institute alumni convene annually for continuing education opportunities.
Among the religious organizations eligible for Jessie Ball duPont Fund support are religious judicatories, a synagogue and churches ranging from small rural congregations to large urban cathedrals. The Fund supports these institutions through three programs:
- People In Need Grants allow Jessie Ball duPont Fund eligible churches to provide charitable services to society’s poorest members. Churches may apply annually for grants of $10,000. The churches then redistribute 100 percent of these funds to the needy in their communities. Under no circumstances may these funds be used to support a special program, event or the general operations of the church.
- Repair and Restoration Grants provide much-needed capital improvement dollars for church buildings. The Fund recognizes that a church’s greatest and most urgent need often can be to maintain and repair the buildings that provide the place for ministry to happen. Under this program, churches with annual incomes of $150,000 or more are eligible for a 2:1 matching grant of up to $50,000. Churches with smaller budgets are eligible for grants of up to $50,000 but are not required to contribute a matching dollar. For projects whose total cost exceeds $75,000, the Fund also offers interest-free loans of up to $25,000, payable over five years.
- Diocesan Enrichment Funds support the seven Episcopal Dioceses and one Catholic Archdiocese that are Jessie Ball duPont Fund eligible organizations. Bishops and Archbishops are eligible for up to $10,000 a year, half of which must be used to support clergy who serve financially assisted congregations (mission churches) as discretionary funds. The other half may be used to support needs determined at the Bishop’s or Archbishop’s discretion.
Small Liberal Arts College Initiative
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund considers the small private and public liberal arts college to be among the nation’s most vital assets. To support these institutions — 42 of which are eligible for Jessie Ball duPont Fund support — the Fund created two programs:
- Discretionary Fund for New Presidents — The new president of a small private liberal arts college with an endowment of less than $50 million may receive a discretionary grant of $10,000 for three consecutive years upon his/her appointment.
- Jessie Ball duPont Fund/National Humanities Center Summer Seminar is a three-week summer session for college professors teaching at the 42 small private and public colleges. It is held each June at the National Humanities Center campus in North Carolina.
The trustees of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund occasionally make, on an unsolicited basis, relief grants in response to disasters or other extraordinary events. These grants are made solely at the discretion of the trustees.