LOI Guidelines - 2024 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 Foundation's online grants portal adhering to the Guidelines below.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

1. 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.

2. 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

Please note that the Foundation prioritizes organizations based in and serving Los Angeles County.

3. A non-profit organization must be in good standing with the California Franchise Tax Board and the California Registry of Charitable Trusts. Each organization will be required to upload a California Entity Status Letter as part of their LOI. The letters must be generated within 30 days of LOI submission. For an organization to be eligible, both boxes 1 AND 3 on the letter must be checked. If both boxes 1 and 3 are not checked, the LOI is ineligible for consideration and will be declined. In such a case, we recommend that you contact the California Franchise Tax Board and/or the California Registry of Charitable Trusts to obtain more information. The Foundation is not able to provide individual guidance or direction on this matter.

To generate a PDF copy of your organization's California Entity Status Letter, please click here

4. A non-profit organization that received a grant payment from the S. Mark Taper Foundation within the past three calendar years is not eligible for the current grant cycle. For example, an organization that received a grant payment in December 2021 will not be eligible to re-apply until the 2025 grant cycle.

Grant Limitations

Grants are generally not approved for the following:

  • Endowment funds
  • Vehicles
  • Government agencies
  • Universities (public and private) and community colleges
  • Elementary, middle and high schools (public and private)
  • Charter schools
  • Hospitals/hospital foundations
  • Scientific and/or medical research
  • Organizations focused on specific diseases (e.g., diabetes, heart disease)
  • Grants for programs that re-grant donated funds to other entities
  • Elections, political candidates, or political campaigns
  • Documentary filmmaking or television programming
  • Organizations that have had a change in CEO/Executive Director in the last twelve months
  • Organizations with loans to/from board members

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. Capital funding is currently restricted to Los Angeles County-based nonprofit organizations and for capital projects based in and serving Los Angeles County only.

Funding Areas

The S. Mark Taper Foundation is a responsive grantmaker that typically provides funding in the following areas:

  • Arts
  • Civic Affairs
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health
  • 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.

Due to the scope of the capital grant application process, the minimum request amount for a capital grant is $100,000. If the planned request amount is under $100,000, we recommend applying for General Operating or Program support.


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

If you have questions, please contact us via email at grants@smtfoundation.org or by phone at (310) 476-5413.