LOI Guidelines - 2021 Grant Cycle

The S. Mark Taper Foundation conducts one grant cycle each year. The first step in applying for a grant is to submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) through the online grants portal adhering to the Guidelines below.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

The S. Mark Taper Foundation will consider a Letter of Inquiry from a non-profit organization that provides services in any of the following eight Southern California counties:

    Los Angeles County
    Imperial County
    Orange County
    Riverside County
    San Bernardino County
    San Diego County
    Santa Barbara County
    Ventura County

An applicant must be certified as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. During the Foundation's review process, equal consideration and due diligence will be given to all organizations - both those that are past grant recipients and those that have never received a grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation.

Please be aware that there is a three-year period of ineligibility for past grant recipients. For example, an organization that received a grant in December 2018 will not be eligible to re-apply until the 2022 grant cycle.

Types of Grant Funding Provided

General Operating Support (GOS): Unrestricted, core operating support that bolsters an organization's overall mission and can be allocated as the organization sees fit.

Program: Funding is allocated to a specific program or project within the organization.

Capital: Funding is allocated to a physical project, such as the purchase of a building and/or land, renovating an existing building, constructing a new building, or purchasing equipment.

Funding Areas

The S. Mark Taper Foundation is a responsive grantmaker that typically provides funding in the following areas:
    Civic Affairs
    Social Services
Funding Amounts

Size Categories

These categories are meant to serve as a guide to assist organizations in determining an appropriate request amount. We encourage each organization to request an amount that is proportionate to the size of its past grants from other foundations and the size of its overall fundraising and budget.


We recommend that you carefully review the following documents prior to beginning your LOI:
Grant Limitations

Grants are generally not approved for the following:
  • Organizations that do not provide services in one of the geographic areas of focus (see above)
  • Organizations that have had a change in CEO/Executive Director in the last twelve months
  • Charter schools
  • Universities (public and private) and community colleges
  • Elementary, middle and high schools (public and private)
  • Scientific and/or medical research
  • Organizations focused on specific diseases (e.g., diabetes, heart disease)
  • Endowment funds
  • Government agencies
  • Grants to pass-through organizations or foundations which redistribute donated funds
  • Hospitals/hospital foundations
  • Elections, political candidates, or political campaigns
  • Documentary filmmaking or television programming
  • Direct aid to individuals
If you have questions, please contact us via email at grants@smtfoundation.org or by phone at (310) 476-5413.