How To Apply

Great leadership makes a difference. That’s why investing in the nonprofit sector’s most precious asset – its people – is among the Annenberg Foundation’s highest priorities. In addition to applying for a community grant, nonprofits in the Greater Los Angeles region with budgets of $5 million or less are also encouraged to learn more about Annenberg Alchemy, our free nonprofit leadership training.

Although your work may fall within one of our funding priorities, due to finite resources and a very competitive process, the Foundation is unable to support every worthwhile program.

Regions We Fund

The Annenberg Foundation places the highest priority on nonprofits working with underserved constituents in the Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties (see map). Organizations that serve the Greater Los Angeles region but are headquartered elsewhere can apply for a grant. The Foundation does not consider support to organizations, initiatives, or projects that fall outside of this area, including national or international requests.

Community Grantmaking Commitment to Equity and Diversity

The Annenberg Foundation is an equal opportunity employer committed to the core values of equity, diversity, responsiveness, accessibility, equality, inclusion, and fairness. We consider our staff’s wide range of experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives to be a critical piece of our organization’s culture.

Thus, we believe an organization’s impact and performance is greatly enhanced when people from different backgrounds and perspectives are engaged in an organization’s activities and decision-making processes.

In this spirit, the Foundation is now requesting demographic information from applicants seeking grant support from the Community Grantmaking program. This includes questions about the composition of the applicants’ board, staff, and those served.

Please note that the Annenberg Foundation imposes no requirements regarding the demographic makeup of any organization’s workforce, board, or constituency. Responses to this questionnaire are used primarily to learn more about the grants we issue and the communities served, with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of grants serving diverse populations, and promoting our organizational goals of diversity and equity. We will review this information periodically to determine whether different steps should be taken in order to further these goals. While information provided may be considered in making decisions regarding grant applications, no particular response will be used for any such decision, nor will any information provided disqualify the organization from receiving a grant.

If you have any questions about this questionnaire, please contact us at [email protected].

Community Grantmaking Criteria

We give priority to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations serving the five-county region of Greater Los Angeles that are well-integrated into the fabric of the communities they serve. In addition, we evaluate whether an organization has established best practices as it relates to diversity, financial sustainability, infrastructure, board governance, staff development, programs & services, collaboration, and networks with peers.

Grants are for one year and range from $10,000 to a maximum of $100,000. Equal consideration is given to requests for awards for general operations or project support.

Typically, general operating support grants are not greater than ten percent of the total organization budget.

Organizations with budgets greater than $10 million are ineligible for general operating support, but can apply for project support. Organizations with budgets less than $10 million are eligible for either project or general operating support.

CURRENT AND RETURNING GRANTEES: Grants are generally awarded for a one-year grant period. Returning grantees are eligible to reapply for funding after the current grant period ends, and the final report is submitted to and approved by the Foundation. Nonprofits that have received two consecutive grants must wait twelve months from the end of their second grant period before applying for a new grant.

What We Fund

The Foundation generally awards grants in the following programmatic areas:

  • Arts, Culture & Humanities
  • Civic & Community Development
  • Environment
  • Education
  • Health & Human Services
  • Some consideration is also given to the areas of Animal Welfare and Military Veterans
What We Don’t Fund
  • Capital campaigns / Building construction and equipment
  • Multi-year commitments
  • Grants to individuals
  • Grants to school districts, individual schools, charter management organizations, universities or hospitals
  • Grants for medical research, treatment projects, and disease-specific associations
  • Grants to public agencies
  • Grants to faith-based or religious organizations that proselytize
  • Grants for one-time events, conferences, festivals, concerts, workshops, or summer camps
  • Grants for research, film projects, media, and publications
  • Grants for start-ups or support for new projects in the LA region. Consideration is given to organizations or projects that have been operating for at least three (3) years
  • Grants that fall outside the guidelines set by the Board of Directors

The Application Process

Welcome to the Annenberg Foundation’s online community grantmaking LOI. Instructions and additional information are available below. We highly recommend that you carefully review the reference copy of the online LOI located on the Annenberg Foundation’s website and prepare all required documents prior to starting the LOI process.

Before beginning the LOI, please be sure to view our Grantmaking Guidelines. The guidelines will help you understand how the Annenberg Foundation will assess your proposal. Our Full Application asks questions specifically related to these guidelines. Make sure to address each of the aspects of our guidelines in your LOI as well.

We accept LOIs on a rolling basis. Upon submission, you will receive an email from the Foundation confirming receipt. If your LOI passes our initial review, you will be invited to submit a Full Application.

We know how valuable your time is, and we understand the time commitment involved in completing a grant application.  As a result, the Annenberg Foundation is committed to responding to your grant request in a timely manner.  We’ve provided these detailed steps to help you expedite your submission.

Step 1
Download a copy of our Grantmaking Guidelines and SmartSimple User Guide.

The Grantmaking Guidelines will help you understand how the Annenberg Foundation will assess your application. The SmartSimple User Guide has detailed instructions for the new application system. Our online grant application asks questions specifically related to these guidelines. Make sure to address each of the aspects of our guidelines in your application.

Step 2
Download a reference copy of our online grant application

Our online grant application asks questions about leadership, governance, diversity, and the constituents served that may require input from your leadership team.  We highly recommend that you carefully review the reference copy of the online LOI application and guidelines. Please note the word limits for some of the questions.

Step 3
Complete the sample templates

With our new online application process, you no longer have to upload the required documents. However, in the LOI application, applicants have the option to upload their budget using the Annenberg Excel template. If the LOI is approved, applicants will be required to fill out the built in budget template in the Full Application.

  • Budget Template – You will note that the Budget Template includes one tab for Organizational Budget information and a second tab for Project Budget information.  The Project Budget tab is not required for requests for general operating support. If you are requesting support for a specific project, both tabs must be completed.

The following forms are now built into the application. The templates are provided here as samples of what you will be required to enter into the Full Application.

Step 4
Please be prepared to upload the following required documents as part of the application process utilizing your own templates:

  • Organizational Chart
  • Audited Financials or
  • Unaudited Financial Statements (for organizations with a budget under $2 million)
  • Be sure you upload your most recently completed fiscal year IRS Form 990 to GuideStar. If the most recent IRS Form 990 is not on Guidestar, please be prepared to upload it as part of the application.

Step 5 

Proceed to the online application. If you are unable to complete the application in one sitting, you have the ability to save the form and return to complete it at a later time.  To save the application, please click the “Save Draft” button at the bottom of the page.  When returning to complete the form, please log-in to SmartSimple. Your draft application will be under “Open Applications”.  You will receive an email confirming the Annenberg Foundation’s receipt of your application. Visit the following link to access SmartSimple and complete the online application:


When Will You Hear From Us?
If your LOI passes our initial review, you will receive an invitation email to submit the Full Application. Following receipt of the Full Application, a phone call or site visit will be scheduled with a member of the Annenberg Foundation’s Program team. Neither of these steps is an indication of funding. The Annenberg Foundation will communicate a decision about your application when the programmatic review and due diligence process is complete. Grant decisions are subject to Board-adopted guidelines and approval.


If you have questions related to our grant guidelines, submitting a grant application or other issues, please email us at [email protected] or call (213) 403-3110. For technical support, please email [email protected].