Smith Richardson Foundation: Grants for Global Security

OVERVIEW: The Smith Richardson Foundation supports both international and domestic peace and security efforts toward developing effective national security strategies and foreign policies. 

IP TAKE: Richardson is clearly taking the role of promoting dialogues that work to foster improved international understanding among key players in the peace and security field. 

PROFILE: Established in 1935, Smith Richardson Foundation was founded by H. Smith Richardson and his wife Grace Jones Richardson. Funded through the sale of his chemical company, Richardson-Vicks, Inc., H. Smith Richardson dedicated his foundation’s grantmaking efforts to the “[i]ncreasingly weighty problems of the government.” From its inception, the Smith Richardson Foundation has advanced this mission through two main grantmaking programs: International Security and Foreign Policy and Domestic Public Policy.

The International Security and Foreign Policy programs seek to support U.S. policy organizations that are working to develop increasingly effective national security strategies, as well as foreign policies. Domestically, the foundation aims to support organizations that help to secure the United States. Internationally, the foundation is focusing its efforts on protecting the country’s interests abroad as well as “[e]nhancing international order.” 

Given the increasing number and intensity of global conflicts, Richardson’s goal of “[e]nhancing international order,” is ambitious. Foundation-wide, it awards about $20 million in grants, with much of that funding going toward bringing peace and security to some of the most unstable areas of the world. For example, the foundation supports the assessment of major political policymaking in Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan. Similar work is supported in China, India, and South Korea.

In the United States, the Smith Richardson Foundation predominately supports U.S. policy debate regarding the promotion of international security in the face of such global concerns as terrorism, economic downturns, and cybersecurity. The foundation supports peace and security organizations, generally think tanks and research institutes, that stay abreast of emerging security challenges and potential policies that may help to prevent their occurrence.  Most grants that the Richardson awards range from $100,000 to $200,000. A handful of awards fall between $200,000 to $250,000. To learn more about the types of organizations Smith Richardson supports, examine its past grants list. 

The Richardson Foundation also supports two fellowship initiatives. The Strategy and Policy Fellows program awards a handful of $60,000 grants per year to support the recipients’ research and/or book writing work. In contrast, the World Politics and Statecraft Fellowship awards 20 grants of $7,500 each to support junior scholars' Ph.D. dissertation research in American foreign policy and international security. 

With the exception of its fellowship programs—which are deadline driven—the Richardson Foundation accepts proposals on a rolling basis and request that applicants use its concept paper template when making a submission.


  • Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only.)