Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation

OVERVIEW: This family funder supports a wide range of Idaho nonprofits and prioritizes rural healthcare, education, and underserved communities. Letters of inquiry are accepted once per year.

FUNDING AREAS: Rural healthcare, educational programs for children, and programs for underserved communities and populations

IP TAKE: This is a family-run foundation where no unrelated staff members call the shots. However, it’s the third-largest giver in the state and therefore important to know, no matter what nonprofit field you work in.

PROFILE: The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation is based in Boise, Idaho, and is committed to the state of Idaho. It has supported local organizations for over 50 years through competitive grants and scholarships. Established in 1963, the Cunningham Foundation is one of the oldest and largest funders in the state. 

The family that established this foundation moved to Washington in 1851 via covered wagon. Laura Cunningham was born and raised in Boise and served as the director of the Children’s Home Society for over 30 years. During her lifetime, she was also active with the Boise Red Cross and Boise Junior College. Today, the foundation supports nonprofits in Idaho with an annual competitive grant process.

A list of past grants is available here. Many of the grants are around $5,000, but occasionally range from $100,000 to $400,000. The foundation backs general operations, youth programs, free concerts, art education, job training, library development, technology upgrades, job training, and renovation efforts. It typically declines to fund administrative costs.

The foundation prioritizes rural healthcare, educational programs for children, and programs in underserved communities and for underserved populations. But all nonprofits in Idaho are welcome to apply. The Cunningham Foundation calls its grant application process open and simple, and there is one cycle per year.

Letters of intent are accepted February 1 through March 15. There are no special forms to fill out, just basic information about your organization, proposed project and requested amount. These letters must be submitted via email. Application packets are emailed out to selected organizations by April 1. You can expect to see grant announcements from this funder by the end of August. In a recent year, the foundation gave more than $4.1 million.

In addition to grants, the foundation also provides around 450 scholarships to Idaho students at universities and community and technical colleges each year. Three board members run the foundation, and there is no full-time staff. These individuals work on a voluntary basis and don’t take a salary in order to reduce overhead costs.

General inquiries can be directed to the foundation via email at lmcf_idaho@msn.com. There’s an unstaffed office within the Little Morris, LLC accounting firm at 950 West Bannock Street, Suite 810, in Boise.

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