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How We Make Grants

Academy Hospitality Tourism high school students

The Foundation’s mission is broad and guided by the interests of its trustees. Consequently, we do not accept unsolicited proposals.

The Foundation has five focus areas established by its trustees as funding priorities for strategic grant making. For each focus area, our staff consults with researchers, practitioners and thought leaders to understand the issues of significance and then develops strategies for effective grantmaking. We identify high-impact organizations that align with our interests and invite them to submit a proposal. Additionally, the Foundation reserves a portion of its funds to be allocated at the discretion of the trustees. Grants are generally approved at our biannual board meetings.

The Foundation provides single and multi-year grants to support nonprofit organizations through direct program funding and general operating grants, as well as endowments, scholarships, and capital campaigns.

The Foundation is a private family foundation endowed with the funds from the estate of the late J. Willard Marriott, Sr. It has no connection to Marriott International or Host Hotels & Resorts. Any proposals we accept are assessed strictly on their merits and not because of any corporate affiliation. Requests that refer to Marriott International or Host Hotels & Resorts will be returned.

Funding Priorities

When making grants, we seek out organizations that are creating significant, lasting, and transformational change—either through smart responses to today’s needs or through systemic solutions that address the root causes of society’s challenges. We look to help expand effective programs or facilitate new strategic partnerships and collaborations that have the possibility of becoming sustainable. A significant portion of our grantmaking is geographically focused on the D.C. metro area.

The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation supports grantmaking across our focus areas:

  • Education
  • Hospitality
  • Opportunity
  • Community
  • Health

For more information, please refer to the “What We Support” page.

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Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for funding, applicants must be nonprofit organizations that are organized and operated for charitable purposes and recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt public charities under Sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Public educational institutions without an IRS determination letter may also be eligible to receive grants.

The Marriott Foundation Does Not Fund

  • Individuals
  • Government agencies
  • For-profit businesses
  • Private foundations
  • Organizations that do not have a Federal Tax ID number
  • Project Related Investments (PRIs)

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The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals. The Foundation invites proposals twice annually on March 1 and September 1. Effective November 2015, the Foundation no longer accepts paper applications and has moved to an online application process. We are requiring this process via our website to ensure that we are collecting consistent information from all applicants. Due to the volume of requests we receive, and our small staff size, we regret that we are unable to respond to requests received by mail. If your organization was invited by a Foundation trustee or staff member to submit a proposal for consideration, you will be provided with a link to register on our grantee portal. Using the portal, grantees can complete and submit proposals and track their progress through our grant cycle. Should a grant request be successfully approved, grantees will be asked to sign and submit the final grant agreement and follow up reports online. Full directions on how to apply are provided within the online portal.

Please note that the Foundation accepts only one application per grantee per year. Organizations receiving multi-year grants are only eligible to apply for new funding in the grant cycle following receipt of their final installment payment. Due to the volume of requests, we ask that organizations that have received a decline wait a full year before resubmitting a request.

Current grantees of the Foundation who have questions regarding applying for funding, please feel free to reach out to your Foundation contact.

While we do not accept unsolicited proposals, if you have carefully reviewed our grant making priorities and would like to tell us about your organization, you may email your general inquiry to foundation.inquiry@marriott.com. This email is checked periodically by Foundation staff and you will be contacted only if your organization fits with Foundation priorities.

Selection Process

All proposals are reviewed by Foundation staff. Staff may contact applicants with questions and request more information before presenting a summary of each proposal and a funding recommendation to the board of trustees. Proposals are assessed based on:

  • Their alignment with the Foundation’s funding priorities;
  • The organization’s capacity to carry out the expected activities;
  • How effectively the proposed activities can address an expressed need in the community; and
  • The likelihood of achieving measureable, positive impact.

The ultimate grantmaking decision resides with the trustees and is usually determined during the Foundation’s bi annual board meetings. Once a decision is made, applicants are generally notified within two weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Foundation

Is The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation connected to Marriott International?

The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation is a private family foundation endowed with funds from the estate of the late J. Willard Marriott, Sr. We have no connection to, and do not receive any funds from, Marriott International.

Can you get me discounted rooms for my nonprofit?

We have no connection to Marriott International and cannot help with discounts on Marriott hotel rooms, events, silent auction items, or Marriott Rewards points.

Applying for Grants

I haven’t received funding from the Foundation previously. How do I submit a proposal?

The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation accepts proposals by invitation only. We have a very small staff and do not have the capacity to evaluate unsolicited grant proposals. Consequently, we sincerely regret that we are not able to respond to unsolicited funding inquiries or proposals. Please note that we no longer accept requests by mail.

Who is eligible to receive funding?

To be eligible for funding, applicants must be nonprofit organizations that are organized and operated for charitable purposes and recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt public charities under Sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Public educational institutions without an IRS determination letter may also be eligible to receive grants. The Foundation does not make grants to individuals, government agencies, for-profit businesses, or private foundations.

I’m an individual looking for scholarship money. Can the Foundation support me?

We do not provide scholarships or any other kind of support to individuals. The Foundation only supports registered nonprofit organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

My for-profit organization is seeking Project Related Investments (PRIs). Can I apply for a grant?

At this time, the Foundation does not accept requests for PRIs. We only make grants to registered nonprofit organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Can I apply for a grant if my organization does not yet have a Federal Tax ID number?

The Foundation does not make grants to organizations that do not have a Federal Tax ID number.

What should I do if my organization has not been audited? Can I submit a copy of our IRS 990

We highly recommend that nonprofit organizations conduct an annual audit as a best practice. We require a copy at proposal submission. For small organizations that do not conduct an audit, we will accept the most recent 990.

When should I apply for funding?

The Foundation accepts applications by invitation only, twice annually, in the spring and fall. As of November 2015, we have moved to an online application process. Current grantees should ask their Foundation contact for a registration link and log-in information.

I’m a current grantee and I usually submit a paper application. Now that you are online, can I still submit a hard copy of my application?

As of November 2015, we have moved to an online application process and are no longer accepting printed proposals. Current grantees should ask their Foundation contact for a registration link and log-in information. If you need help with registration and the application, please let us know. We also have a number of resource documents available on the portal to help you.

What type of grant should I apply for?

We recommend that you apply for the funding that best fits your organization’s current needs.

Grantees are selected for general operating funding because the Foundation supports the organization’s overall mission and has assessed that its leadership and staff have the capacity to be good stewards of the grant. The funds are not restricted to specific activities but can be used by the grantee to carry out a range of activities that are aligned with their mission.

We encourage organizations with programs aimed at achieving specific outcomes to apply for a program grant. Program grants are restricted to the activities and goals outlined in the proposal and grant agreement and are expected to have a specific beginning and end, as well as explicit objectives.

Does the Marriott Foundation make multi-year grants?

Typically, the Foundation makes one-year grants. Multi-year grants are made only at the discretion of the trustees. Any multi-year requests should be discussed with your Foundation contact prior to submitting a grant proposal.

How much funding should I ask for?

Funding provided by the Foundation is determined based on:

  • The size of the operating budget for each organization;
  • The cost of providing the proposed services; and
  • The capacity of the organization to handle funds and achieve results.

Can I submit more than one funding application in a year?

We limit grant applications to one per year. This restriction applies regardless of whether or not your initial request received funding.

What happens after I submit a proposal?

All proposals are reviewed by Foundation staff. Staff may contact applicants with questions and request more information before presenting a summary of each proposal and funding recommendation to the board of trustees. The board meets twice annually, in the spring and fall.

How are funding decisions determined?

The ultimate grantmaking decision resides with the trustees and is usually determined during the Foundation’s board meeting. Proposals are assessed based on:

  • Their alignment with the Foundation’s funding priorities;
  • The organization’s capacity to carry out the expected activities;
  • How effectively the proposed activities can address an expressed need in the community; and
  • The likelihood of achieving measureable, positive impact.

When will I hear if I will receive funding? Should I contact the Foundation staff?

Once the trustees’ decision is made, Foundation staff will notify all applicants using our grantee portal. Notice is generally given within two weeks of a decision. Please do not call or email to follow up on your request.

I’ve reviewed your website and I would really like to tell you about my organization. Is there any way I can submit some information?

While we do not accept unsolicited proposals, if you have carefully reviewed our grant making priorities and would like to tell us about your organization, you may email your general inquiry to foundation.inquiry@marriott.com. This email is checked periodically by Foundation staff and you will be contacted only if your organization fits with Foundation priorities.

Reporting

How do I report on my grant?

As of November 2015, we will be accepting grant reports using our grantee portal. Please ask your Foundation contact to provide you with a registration link and log-in information to get started. The portal is set up to prompt you with questions specific to the type of grant you were issued.

When is my grant report due?

The due date for your final grant report is in the grant agreement signed at the time your grant is issued.

I submitted a final report for my last grant with my new proposal request; do I have to send another final report on the due date listed in my grant agreement?

We only need one final report from each grant. If you submitted this when you sent in a new proposal request then you do not need to submit another one at a later date.

My organization has a multi-year grant. What reports do I need to submit?

Organizations that receive multi-year grants should submit an interim grant report every year that they receive funding on the date listed in their grant agreement. A final grant report is due at the end of the grant period on the date listed in your grant agreement.