Cover Letter


The Cover Letter serves to introduce the applicant’s proposal. It is a one-page letter written on the organization’s stationery. The purpose of the Cover Letter is to present information about the organization and project, and to present it in a compelling fashion to get the interest of the foundation. The Cover Letter is an important document, and in preparing it, the applicant should treat it as a one-page grant request.

In addition to introducing the organization and summarizing the project, it is important to state the request (how much the applicant is asking from the foundation and how the grant will be used), and invite the foundation to conduct a site visit. It is not common for foundation representatives to make site visits, but it is advisable to extend the invitation.

Include contact information in the Cover Letter, including the name, email address, and telephone number of the person in the applicant’s organization who can answer the foundation’s questions about the agency, project, and budget. Foundation representatives do not appreciate calling an applicant organization and being referred from one person to another to get information.

Since many foundations are moving to the acceptance of online applications, it is often difficult to secure the name of the foundation representative to whom an applicant should address the Cover Letter. When possible, do use a foundation representative’s name in the salutation.

Lastly, the Cover Letter should be signed by preferably, the president of the board of directors or the highest ranking official in the agency (i.e., the superintendent of the school district.) This tells the foundation the governing board is behind the request and knows the grant proposal is being submitted. Since grants are deadline oriented, realistically it is not always possible to secure this individual’s signature. As a rule of thumb, ask the highest ranking official in the organization who is available to sign the Cover Letter (i.e., Executive Director, CEO, COO, President, Vice President, Department or Program Chief, etc.)

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