Grant Cycle Timeline

For awards to be determined in December:

Pre-application Counseling*Phase I Application DeadlineNotification of Invitation to Submit Full ProposalFull Proposal Deadline
January 1 to February 15 May 1 July 15 August 15

 

For awards to be determined in June:

Pre-application Counseling*Phase I Application DeadlineNotification of Invitation to Submit Full ProposalFull Proposal Deadline
July 1 to August 15 November 1 January 15 February 15

 

* Potential applicants are encouraged to submit their ideas for grants early in the form of single-page concept papers to allow time to schedule a possible consultation.

Applicants may submit one Phase I application per grant cycle to each of the following areas for which they are eligible: Medical Research, Science and Engineering Research, and Southern California.

The Foundation accepts only online submissions and will NOT accept hard copy or facsimile submissions.  Deadlines for Phase I applications and Phase II proposals are 4:30pm (PT) on the deadline days noted above.  If a deadline falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to 4:30pm (PT) on the following Monday.

Submission of Phase II proposals is by invitation only.  If a full proposal is invited, site visits or conference calls are conducted at the discretion of the Foundation and are generally scheduled in September and October for the December cycle and March and April for the June cycle.

Concept Papers

Concept paper instructions for the Research and Southern California grant programs are listed below.

Research Program

Please submit all concepts for the Research Program with the designated cover page.

Note for first time applicants: If you are a new institution/applicant applying to the Foundation, please do so through your central development office and make sure to submit all the required tax and audit documentation listed under our Phase I Application instructions along with the concepts you wish to discuss.

For more information on scheduling a conference call in the Research Program, please see the Application Process and Overview page.

Single-paged concepts for the Research Program should be in 12 point font with 1 inch margins and should include:

  1. Designated cover page
  2. An overview of the proposed project emphasizing any unique aspects and pilot studies (indicate area of emphasis for project - medical research or science and engineering research);
  3. A description of the methodologies and key personnel;
  4. A brief justification of the need for Keck Foundation support; and
  5. An estimated budget broken down, if possible, by major areas, e.g., personnel, equipment, consumable supplies, etc. (budgets can be rough approximations at this stage).
  6. If possible, within the 1-page limit, the authors may add other details (e.g., background to put the research into perspective, description of the institution’s prominence in the field). Avoid illustrations in these single-pagers – the researchers will need all the room for text. If a reference is necessary, abbreviate it as (Science, 323, 45, ‘11). DO NOT USE (Jones et al., 2011).

Only one conference call will be scheduled for each institution to discuss all concepts. These may include up to 8 concepts in the Research Program as follows: up to 4 concepts in the Science and Engineering area and up to 4 concepts in the Medical Research area.  To ensure productivity of your call, liaisons are encouraged to invite administrators who are familiar with the projects and involved in the limited selection process.  Note that principal investigators may not join the call.  Please provide brief bios for all call participants in a separate document.

All relevant concepts and bios must be submitted within three days of your scheduled call or your call time will be forfeited.  Calls are scheduled on a first come, first served basis.

To schedule your counseling call, send your concept(s) and bios to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and a Program Coordinator will reply with next steps.

 

Southern California Program

Applicants are strongly urged to contact Foundation staff well in advance of submitting a Phase I application. However, before contacting the Foundation, please review the basic criteria for the Southern California Program on the Eligible Institutions page to ensure eligibility.

If the organization meets all of the criteria on the Eligible Institutions page, please contact the Southern California Program Coordinator at 213-612-2038 to discuss next steps. Our program staff may request a concept paper about your project and if a consultation is recommended, it will be scheduled on a first come, first served basis during the pre-application counseling period.  This takes place between January 1 and February 15 leading up to a May 1 Phase I submission, or between July 1 and August 15 leading up to a November 1 Phase I submission. For more information about deadlines, please see our Grant Cycle Timeline.

Initial contact from a multi-unit organization (such as a college, university or agency branch location) must be coordinated through the institution’s central development office. Most colleges and universities have designated an official liaison to the Foundation. We will refer other personnel contacting the Foundation to their central liaison. 

Single-paged concepts for the Southern California Program should be in 12 point font with 1 inch margins and should contain:

  1. An overview of the proposed project emphasizing any unique aspects, evidence of efficacy and/or piloted efforts
  2. Project timeline (if capital, specify construction start date)
  3. Estimated project cost and funds raised to date
  4. An explanation of how Keck dollars will be targeted and make a difference

In addition to the single-paged concept, please include a one-page fact sheet on the organization.

Send your concepts to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Grantee Responsibilities / Grant Agreement

Potential applicants are advised that by submitting a request they are consenting to comply with the following requirements in the event that a grant is awarded:

 

  • The grantee, as a condition of accepting the funds, affirms that the entire proceeds will be used to implement the charitable purposes of the project for which the grant is made. No general or administrative overhead expenses, indirect, or investment management fees may be charged to this award. The grantee further affirms that no funds have been or will be paid to either organization or consultants engaged in fundraising or public relations for services rendered in obtaining the grant.
  • Should the grantee (a) become aware that the purposes for (and/or implementation of) this grant have become impracticable, (b) wish to terminate the charitable project funded, (c) wish to redirect the purpose of the grant, or (d) make a change in lead personnel, the grantee shall immediately notify the Foundation in writing. In such event, the Foundation may, in its sole discretion, among its other rights and remedies, terminate this grant and require the grantee to immediately repay the Foundation any unspent principal.
  • Should the grantee wish to make alterations or additions to the approved budget totaling 10% or more in any budget category, prior approval from the Foundation is required.
  • All funds granted by the Foundation to the Grantee, until used by the Grantee for purposes of this grant, must be placed in a separate segregated account and may not be used for any other purpose or invested in any manner that would jeopardize or impair their availability for the purposes of this Grant or for any return to the Foundation as required by this "Grantee Responsibilities/Grant Agreement."
  • Written progress reports and a financial accounting on the earnings and expenditure of grant funds must be submitted to the Foundation through the online Grantee Portal.
  • The grantee must secure Foundation approval in writing before releasing any public announcements or statements to the media regarding the grant, referencing it in internally produced publications, or making any commitments for permanent recognition of the W. M. Keck Foundation. The Foundation reserves the right to publish the abstract submitted by the grantee. In addition we may include a link to the website of the recipient institution and/or grant project in Foundation publications.
  • If a matching grant is awarded, the grantee is required to secure the matching funds necessary to fully implement the project. Before such an award is made, the Foundation will give the prospective grantee the program's matching grant policies.
  • If a grant for endowment is awarded, the principal must be maintained in perpetuity and earnings will be used solely to support the purpose for which the grant was made.
  • For endowed fellowships, chairs and similar awards, the grantee is asked to provide the Foundation with periodic reports on the selection process, the progress of the search and the names and backgrounds of those receiving the awards. However, the Foundation does not wish to influence the selection in any way.
  • This grant agreement will be deemed to have been entered into in the County of Los Angeles, State of California; and, California law will apply to the interpretation and enforcement of the grant provisions.
  • The Foundation will monitor and assess the impact of prior grants to help determine the Foundation’s future program objectives.

Revised May 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Foundation's funding priorities?

The Foundation strives to fund endeavors that are distinctive and novel in their approach. It encourages projects that are high-risk with the potential for transformative impact. "High-risk" comprises a number of factors, including questions that push the edge of the field, present unconventional approaches to intractable problems, or challenge the prevailing paradigm. In all our programs, "transformative" may mean creation of a new field of research, development of new instrumentation enabling observations not previously possible, or discovery of knowledge that challenges prevailing perspectives. In addition to the above, in the Southern California Program, transformative may also mean positioning an organization for growth and adaptability. Applicants may find it helpful to look over the abstracts of recent grants for understanding funding priorities. Grant abstracts may be found on our website within the particular program of interest.

Do you give grants to individuals?

No, the Foundation only makes grants to eligible institutions.

How do I determine if my organization is eligible to apply for a grant?

For a complete list of eligibility requirements for each program area, please click on the following links:

Research Program

Southern California Program

Do you give grants outside the United States?

No, the Foundation restricts its grantmaking to organizations located within the United States.

Can a research collaborator be funded outside of the United States?

Yes, but only a maximum of 10% of the requested amount can be paid to a collaborator outside the United States.

Do you give grants to organizations outside California?

The Foundation's Research Program funds projects nationwide. The Southern California Program restricts grants to organizations headquartered in Southern California that serve communities in Los Angeles County or national or statewide organizations that (a) have an independent affiliate, or (b) a local chapter or local office in Southern California that serves communities in Los Angeles County.

Do you fund capital projects?

Not in the Research Program. However, the Southern California Program currently does fund capital projects.

What do you specifically not fund?

For a complete list of projects not eligible for funding in each program area, please click on the following links:

Research Program

Southern California Program

Do you give grants for general operating support?

No, the Foundation does not make grants for general operating support.

Do you sponsor events or dinners?

No.

Does the Foundation provide scholarship or fellowship grants?

No, the Foundation does not accept applications for grants to individuals or to endowments for scholarships or fellowships.

Do I have to contact Foundation staff prior to submitting a request?

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Foundation staff during the pre-application counseling period, which takes place between January 1 and February 15 leading up to a May 1 Phase I submission, or between July 1 and August 15 leading up to a November 1 Phase I submission.  Potential applicants are encouraged to submit their ideas for grants in the form of single-page concept papers during the pre-application counseling period.  Consultations are scheduled on a first come, first served basis during the pre-application counseling period.  For more information about deadlines, please see our Grant Cycle Timeline.

Initial contact from a multi-unit organization (such as a college, university or agency branch location) must be coordinated through the institution's central development office. Most colleges and universities have designated an official liaison to the Foundation. Other personnel contacting the Foundation will be referred to the central liaison.

How often can I apply for a grant?

Applicants may submit one Phase I application online per grant cycle to each of the following areas for which they are eligible: Medical Research, Science and Engineering Research, and Southern California.

Are there deadlines for applications? If so, what are the dates?

Yes. Deadlines for Phase I applications are 4:30pm (PT) on May 1 to be considered for the December grant cycle, and 4:30pm (PT) on November 1 to be considered for the June grant cycle. If either date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is 4:30pm (PT) the following Monday.

Submission of Phase II proposals is by invitation only. The deadlines for invited proposals are 4:30pm (PT) on February 15 for consideration at our June board meeting, and by 4:30 pm (PT) on August 15 for consideration at our December board meeting. If either date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is 4:30 p.m. (PT) on the following Monday.

The Foundation encourages earlier submissions for both Phase I and Phase II.

See the Grant Cycle Timeline for additional information.

May I send an application by fax or email?

No.  The Foundation only accepts submissions online via the applicant portal.

Does your staff conduct site visits so we can present our project?

Yes. If an applicant is invited to submit a Phase II Proposal, staff may, at their discretion, conduct a site visit or conference call to gain additional information about the program or project.

When are grants made?

Grants are approved at the Foundation's board meetings in June and December.

What is the average size and duration of your grants?

The average size and duration of grants varies by project and program area. Research grants range from $500,000 to $5 million, and are typically $2 million or less. Southern California grants range from $100,000 to $1 million, but typically are under $500,000. Duration of grants ranges from one to five years.  The Foundation supports Undergraduate Education only through transformative special projects initiated by the Board of Directors.

How many grants are made each year?

The number of grants made varies each year.

Can I request a no cost extension?

No cost extensions can be approved at the discretion of Foundation staff. See the For Grantees section of our website for additional information.

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