It’s easy to overlook Ittleson. It’s been around a long time, but it’s still small, giving out just over $1 million per year through its Mental Health grant program, and significantly less than that in its other two programs—AIDS and the Environment. Rarely do its grants top $50,000 in one fell swoop. But for any neophyte community organization working in one of its areas of interest, Ittleson is worth knowing about.
Long a champion of small startup initiatives, the New York-based foundation has announced that it will scuttle its environmental grantmaking program for the year of 2014, in order to focus exclusively on its AIDS and Mental Health grantmaking programs. This is big news for anyone working on upstart AIDS or mental health initiatives—and, I suppose, bad news if you’re working on environmental initiatives. And though Ittleson states that it will resume considering funding requests for its environmental grantmaking program in 2015, we can assume that for the current year, Ittleson’s health interests are going to get top billing.
So do your homework. Ittleson is a conservatively managed foundation with a soft heart for startup organizations. It likes to support projects that benefit children, that have broad positive impacts, and that include some educational component. Though their pot is comparatively small, competition for their money is fierce, in part because of Ittleson’s preference for supporting small organizations, and because they don’t shy away from a little risk. In the Chairman’s Statement, H. Anthony Ittleson speaks of wanting proposals that spark the interest of Ittleson’s board and especially proposals that represent a geographically and ethnically diverse population.