Concept Papers

Concept paper instructions for each program are listed below.  Please scroll down for the Southern California Program instructions.

Research Program and Undergraduate Education Program:

Please submit all concepts for the Research and Undergraduate Education programs 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, please see the Application Process and Overview page for your particular program of interest.

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

  1. an overview of the proposed project emphasizing any unique aspects and pilot studies (for Research Program concepts, indicate area of emphasis for project - medical research or science and engineering research);
  2. a description of the methodologies and key personnel;
  3. a brief justification of the need for Keck support; and
  4. 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).

If there’s room, the authors are free to add other details (e.g., background to put the research into perspective, description of the institution’s prominence in the field, etc.). 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 4 concepts in the Undergraduate Education Program; and 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.

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

 

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 call 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 projectcost 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..

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

Undergraduate Education Program

Southern California Program

Do you give grants outside the United States?

No, the Foundation restricts its grantmaking to organizations located within the contiguous 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 Undergraduate Education Program funds projects only in Foundation designated states, although organizations that address undergraduate needs at the national level are also eligible. 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 or in the Undergraduate Education 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

Undergraduate Education 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 urged 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, Undergraduate Education 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.  All deadlines are based on Pacific Time.

See the Grant Cycle Timeline for additional information.

May I send an application by fax or email?

The Foundation is moving to online submissions as of the November 1 Phase I application deadline and is not accepting hard copy or facsimile submissions.  Staff may also request additional information be sent to the Foundation via email. 

Note: Phase II proposal submissions for the August 15, 2017 deadline must be received in hard copy form. See the Phase II proposal pages for each program for instructions.

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. Undergraduate Education grants range from $200,000 to $1 million, but are typically under $500,000. 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.

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. A written justification should be received accompanied by a revised timetable and budget.

Reporting Requirements

The W. M. Keck Foundation relies on grant reporting to evaluate progress toward the vision and goals we share with each of our grantees. Grant reports offer the opportunity to learn from grantees’ successes and challenges and provide invaluable context to continually refine Foundation grantmaking. Information in the grant reports is carefully reviewed by Foundation staff.

 

Grantee Responsibilities

In accepting an award from the W. M. Keck Foundation, all grantees have consented to comply with the Foundation’s requirements for awarded grants. Please refer to the Grantee Responsibilities for details.

Reporting Procedures

What to submit...

All grantees are required to submit an interim progress report on an annual basis and a final report once all goals have been met (or the project is otherwise complete) and monies expended, including interest earned on the grant award. Each report contains a narrative on progress (or final results) and a financial accounting on the interest earnings and expenditure of grant funds. All grantees must submit their reports utilizing the Foundation’s Report Forms, which can be downloaded from the website.

Please make sure that the narrative report and the financial report are submitted in one email via the designated institutional liaison.

When to submit...

Grantees are expected to report on yearly activities according to the proposed Project Time Period, which usually coincides with the Foundation’s funding cycles in June and December. For grantees that have received payment, the Grant Reporting Schedule is as follows for the duration of the grant:

Grant Reporting Schedule

Paid Grants:
Grant Cycle*Reporting PeriodDue Date
June July 1 – June 30 July 31
December January 1 – December 31 January 31

*Date of Grant Award Letter

If either due date falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to 4:30 p.m. (PT) on the following Monday. Deadlines are based on Pacific Time.

Payment Contingencies

If payment of the award is contingent on the grantee meeting certain condition(s) as stipulated in the grant award letter, the Foundation requests that an update letter be submitted every six months until the condition(s) have been met. Contingency updates are due as follows:

Grant CycleDue Date
June November 1, then May 1
December May 1, then November 1
An update letter must address the following points:
  • Progress on meeting the conditions for payment
  • Project timeline
  • Revised project budget (if applicable)
  • Update on fundraising

If the condition is met prior to the update letter due date, required documentation can be submitted at that time. Once the condition(s) have been met and payment has been received, the grantee will be notified when the first interim progress report is due. On a case by case basis, the grantee will be notified in writing if the Foundation requires information and/or reports on a different schedule.

How to submit…

Download and complete the Financial Report Form and Interim Progress or Final Report Forms. Email your report forms and other documents according to the instructions of the appropriate grant program:

  • Research: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Undergraduate Education: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Southern California: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
If you are unable to submit the report by email, please send it to:

W. M. Keck Foundation
550 South Hope Street
Suite 2500
Los Angeles, CA 90071

When to contact us…

Grantees are encouraged to contact their Program Director during the course of the grant if significant programmatic or financial events transpire that positively or negatively affect the institution, project and/or key personnel.

Changes in Scope or Key Personnel

Contact the Foundation immediately should the grantee:

  • become aware that the purposes for (and/or implementation of) the grant have become impracticable;
  • wish to terminate the charitable project funded;
  • wish to redirect the purpose of the grant; or
  • make a change in lead personnel.
Alterations to the Approved Grant Budget

Prior Foundation approval must be sought should the grantee wish to make alterations to the approved grant budget totaling 10% or more in any budget category. If the grantee wishes to make alterations to the grant budget, the Request for Grant Budget Reallocation Form must be submitted for approval. A request for grant budget reallocation can be submitted at any time during the course of the grant. Please submit the request to the appropriate grant program’s email address and put “Request for Grant Budget Reallocation” in the subject line.

 

Reporting Forms

Please make sure that the narrative report and the financial report are submitted in one email via the designated institutional liaison.

Research Program (Medical Research and Science & Engineering Research)

Financial Reports

Interim & Final Financial Report (Research)

Request for Grant Budget Reallocation (Research)

Interim Progress Report

Interim Narrative Progress Report (Research)

Final Report

Final Narrative Report (Research)

 

Undergraduate Education Program

Financial Reports

Interim & Final Financial Report (Undergraduate Education)

Request for Grant Budget Reallocation (Undergraduate Education)

Interim Progress Report

Interim Narrative Progress Report (Undergraduate Education)

Final Report

Final Narrative Report (Undergraduate Education)

 

Southern California Program

Financial Reports

Interim & Final Financial Reports (Southern California)

Request for Grant Budget Reallocation (Southern California)

Interim Progress Reports

Interim Narrative Progress Report (Southern California)

Final Reports

Final Narrative Report (Southern California)

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, Undergraduate Education and Southern California.

The Foundation is moving to online submissions as of November 1, 2017 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.

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 and accrued interest to date of repayment.
  • 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. Report forms and schedules will be provided by the Foundation. Click Here for Reporting Requirements.
  • 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. Foundation staff is happy to assist in developing such material. 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. Upon raising the match, the grantee is asked to provide the Foundation with a detailed accounting of the sources of the matching gifts. Government grants, bonds, the institution's endowment or other existing support do not qualify as a match.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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