Our Approach to Grants

We strive to make our grantmaking process systematic, rigorous, and as streamlined as possible. Here are the six most important things you need to know and links to relevant details.

01
We only fund projects aligned with our major Funding Areas.

Please read more about the Funding Areas specified by Sir John Templeton in the Foundation’s Charter.

02
Generally, we fund discrete projects.

Our process and forms are not designed for other types of requests such as donations, operational support, or program support.

03
Anyone can request funding from the Foundation.

Generally, we fund charitable entities that operate inside and outside of the United States. On rare occasions, we may fund individuals and for-profit companies doing charitable work that is consistent with our tax-exempt status.

04
Our application process has two stages.

Grant consideration begins with an initial Online Funding Inquiry (OFI) and, if invited, a detailed Full Proposal.

05
We review funding requests at specific times of the year.

Please view our Grant Calendar.

06
All application materials are completed online in the Templeton Portal.

Please visit our FAQ page and the Templeton Portal to create an account and get started.

Grant Process

Learn about the steps required in the application process.

Online Funding Inquiry (OFI)

The Online Funding Inquiry (OFI) is the required first stage of the Foundation’s grantmaking process. The OFI is a brief form requesting basic information about your proposed project. The basic information we request includes a project title, request amount, relevant dates, why the project is important, a brief description of the activities, and information on the people and organizations that would be involved.

If you would like to request funding, or if you are trying to determine whether the Foundation would consider supporting your project, please complete and submit an OFI.

OFI Review Process

The Foundation’s program staff reviews each submitted OFI to determine if your proposed project represents a realistic, strategic, and potentially successful opportunity to advance the philanthropic vision of the Foundation. We only invite proposals from projects that we believe fit within our Funding Areas and align with our donor’s intentions.

The Foundation considers each OFI in light of our limited resources and relative to the quality of similar proposed projects. We simply cannot fund every good project idea, and we invite Full Proposals based on the OFIs that we consider to be the very strongest.

Full Proposal by invitation only

Full Proposals are by invitation only and they are the required second stage of requesting funding from the Foundation. Invitations to submit a Full Proposal are sent to the applicant via email in accordance with the notification dates listed in the grant calendar. The Full Proposal webform will be available inside the Templeton Portal the same day the notice is sent.

The Full Proposal webform allows an applicant to describe the proposed project in significant detail with expanded field limits and several required and optional places to upload relevant files related to the project, such as a budget, a narrative description of the project activities, supplemental documents, etc. To help applicants complete the form, we pre-populate many fields with the information provided at the OFI stage.

Full Proposal Review Process

All Full Proposals are reviewed in accordance with the Grant Calendar. To help ensure that we identify and fund the best opportunities, the Foundation has developed a rigorous proposal review process that typically takes up to four and a half months. Our comprehensive review of proposals includes some or all of the following activities:

Staff Review
External Review
Proposal Revisions
Final Review and Decision
Notification

Each Full Proposal begins with Staff Review and ends with Notification, however, the steps in between are nonlinear and at the discretion of staff.

Staff Review

The details of each proposal are reviewed for completeness and accuracy. The next steps can include a request for additional information or greater clarity regarding one or more sections of the proposal, sending the proposal out for External Review, or moving the proposal directly to the write-up stage of review.

External Review

The Foundation uses external reviewers as an additional means for evaluating proposals. The information, suggestions, ideas, questions, and concerns raised by reviewers enable the Foundation to assess the quality of proposals and to intake suggestions for revising or improving proposals.

External reviewers are selected in two ways: (1) some are suggested by the applicant in their Full Proposal and (2) others are identified by staff. If the proposal is sent for external review, the Foundation will typically invite at least two reviewers from those provided by the applicant and one or more reviewers identified by the Foundation. The Foundation does not share the identity of reviewers with applicants or Grantees.

If our staff determines that external review is not necessary, your proposal may skip this step of the review process.

Proposal Revisions

If there are noted concerns, questions, ideas for improvement, or specific recommendations from the program staff or external reviewers, a notification will be sent via email to the applicant. Applicants who receive such a notification are encouraged to contact the Foundation staff with any questions.

The Foundation uses these notifications to seek clarification regarding elements of proposed projects, to address administrative issues with the proposal, and/or to recommend changes or enhancements to the project.

Applicants are asked to complete their edits and resubmit the proposal by a specific due date so that the Foundation can continue its review. Failure to respond promptly to the Foundation’s request could result in your proposal being declined.

Final Review and Decision

Though the Foundation’s program staff is responsible for reviewing and evaluating all proposals, only the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and its President have the authority to approve funding for proposed projects.

Proposal review meetings are scheduled periodically throughout the year and materials are delivered to the President or Foundation Board by specified dates, typically aligned with the Grant Calendar. All funding decisions are final and typically fall into one of three categories:

  • Approved as proposed
  • Declined as proposed
  • Conditionally Approved pending the acceptance of certain revisions

Applicants who are Conditionally Approved will receive an email with a request to answer any final questions or make final revisions.

Notification

Once the Foundation’s President or Board has made the funding decision, a notice will be sent to the applicant by email.

Grant Agreement

The John Templeton Foundation provides grant funding through contractual Grant Agreements. Each Grant Agreement describes the general conditions that apply to all grants, ranging from communications guidelines to compliance and prohibited use of funds.

In addition to the terms and conditions of the grant, the Grant Agreement also contains a general description of the project, the approved budget, the specific outputs and outcomes, and a detailed payment and reporting schedule.

The Foundation staff will send the grant agreement to the contract signatory designated in the Full Proposal.