William T. Morris Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports nonprofits in the areas of arts and culture, education, health, and quality of life in the Tri-State Area. Unsolicited grant requests are not accepted.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts and culture, education, health, quality of life

IP TAKE: This isn’t the most accessible funder for grantseekers, and you’ll need to know one of the directors to get a referral for funding.

PROFILE: The William T. Morris Foundation is a private foundation that was established in 1937 and is based in Westport, Connecticut. It was founded by William Thomas Morris, who was born in West Pittston, Pennsylvania, and spent his life in the coal business. He had roles in the American Chain and Cable Company, American Fabrics Company, Centennial Development Company, British Wire Product, Dominion Chain Company and many others. However, the foundation has no affiliation with any of the companies today.

Grantmaking focuses are arts and culture, education, health, and quality of life. Arts and culture grants have gone to the Axial Theater, Settlement Music School, Fairfield Theatre Company, and New York Historical Society. Education grants have gone to New York University, Lafayette College, and Dartmouth College. Heath grants have gone to West Bergen Mental Healthcare and national groups such as Alzheimer’s Association and Arthritis Association. Quality of life grants have gone to the Aspetuck Land Trust, Hearts and Crafts Counseling, and Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey.

Grantseekers should know that requests for funding are by director referral only. This funder does not accept unsolicited grant request. For those invited to apply, only online applications are accepted. Only domestic organizations are eligible for grants, although the funder may support international projects. Overall, the grantmaker seeks to support programs in collaboration with government and private sector partners, that serve underfunded areas, and that produce measurable results.

In a recent year, the foundation had over $47 million in net assets. In 2007, the New York Attorney General’s office reached a $1.9 million agreement with the funder to settle allegations about foundation officers and directors improperly using foundation funds. This settlement regarded claims that Bruce A. August, the late Edward A. Antonelli, and Wilmot F. Wheeler overpaid themselves while managing the foundation portfolio. Bruce August is still the president and CEO of the foundation, and Jeffrey Johnston is the executive vice president and treasurer.

The foundation can be reached with general questions at info@wtmf.org or (203) 557-9100. The address is 49 Richmondville Avenue, Suite 306, Westport, Connecticut 06880.

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