Behind the Booth Ferris Approach to Grantmaking

The Booth Ferris Foundation is an excellent funder for New York City nonprofits to keep in mind, especially ones that work in public education and local arts. With over $207 million in assets and annual giving at about $9 million, this foundation has a very targeted approach to giving support.

Related: IP’s Profile of the Booth Ferris Foundation

Here are the basics behind Booth Ferris’ approach to grantmaking.

K-12 Education in New York City

Booth Ferris’ primary interest is in K-12 education and higher education. The K-12 education program is partial to public schools in New York City. But within those narrow parameters, the following types of requests are NOT considered:

  • Requests from or on behalf of individual schools
  • Requests from or on behalf of private and/or independent schools
  • Non-New York City activities
  • After-school programs (the Foundation directs all after-school giving through the Civic Affairs program)
  • Scholarship funds
  • Endowment funds
  • Requests for general support

Clearly, these rules weed out a lot of grant applications. For the best results, pitch a proposal for capacity building support. Meanwhile, the higher education program has a national focus. 

Arts & Culture in New York City

Unlike many arts grantmakers in New York City, Booth Ferris does not provide general operating support or program support. Booth Ferris likes to support the arts through organizational assessment, program evaluation, board and professional development, human resources management, and communications technology. The following types of requests will receive priority from Booth Ferris:

  • Requests for capacity building efforts or capital projects directly linked to long-term strategic planning
  • For capacity building, requests that lay out a plan for sustainability beyond the funding period
  • Requests that come at a period of transformative organizational growth or at a critical juncture in the organization’s lifecycle
  • Requests that lay out clear benchmarks for success and a plan for measuring project outcomes

Capital and Capacity Building

As you can tell from these top two funding areas, capital and capacity building support are where it’s at for the Booth Ferris Foundation. Stick to this in your grant proposal, regardless of what programs you’re running at the moment.

J.P. Morgan Chase Administration

Rather than employing a staff of its own, the Booth Ferris hands operations and administration over to advisors at its bank, J.P. Morgan Chase. Program-specific questions about Booth Ferris grantmaking can be directed to the appropriate staff member listed below by email.