Are you eligible?

How can I apply for a grant?

Foundation funding is by invitation-only from our staff who identify opportunities in the field.

How does an organization receive an invitation to submit a proposal?

The Lemelson Foundation partners with researchers, practitioners, policymakers, current and previous grantees and others to identify potential programs and partners that align with the Foundation’s strategic goals and our opportunity criteria.

Does the Foundation ever accept unsolicited proposals?

The Foundation primarily accepts grant proposals by invitation. However, if you review our approach and criteria and take our eligibility quiz to determine if your organization’s work aligns with the Foundation’s, you may submit a preliminary inquiry.

Program staff will follow up if the inquiry follows the 1-page guideline and it is determined to align with the Foundation’s mission and have potential for funding.

How do you evaluate submitted proposals?

Invited proposals are evaluated based on the following:

  • Direct alignment with the Foundation’s strategy
  • Fit within Opportunity Criteria, which includes Direct Impact, Leverage, Opportunity for Learning and Financial Commitment
  • Fit within Secondary Criteria, which includes Population Served and Environmental Sustainability Plan
  • Quality of project

Do you give grants to independent inventors or individuals?

In compliance with IRS tax laws, we are unable to provide funding directly to individuals (i.e., someone not associated with an organization or entity that is able to demonstrate a charitable purpose).

While we do not directly support inventors in the creation or development of individual inventions, such support may be available through our partners.

Can you suggest other funding sources?

The Foundation Center maintains a comprehensive listing of U.S. foundations and their areas of interest. The U.S. Government also offers many grant opportunities.

What happens after my full proposal is submitted to the Foundation?

Proposals, including a budget and budget narrative, are evaluated by Foundation staff. Depending on the size of the grant request, the proposal is either presented to the Foundation’s executive director or the Foundation’s board of directors for funding consideration. Meritorious grant proposals that fit within the Foundation’s Strategic Goals and Opportunity Criteria are awarded.

If approved, Foundation staff works with the awardee and institution to draft an agreement letter that captures the intent of the program or project and includes the Foundation’s terms and conditions for the award.

How long does the proposal review process take?

It depends on the grant cycle and the timing in which you submitted your proposal. Typically, from start (which we define as when program staff requests a proposal) to finish (which we define as an award letter being sent to an organization) takes six months.

Do you have a proposal format?

The Foundation does have a required proposal and budget format that are sent to applicants when a full proposal is officially requested.