Robert W. Woodruff Foundation Grants

OVERVIEW: This is a locally focused private foundation that invests in health, education, economic and community causes in Georgia. Most grantees are based in Atlanta.

FUNDING AREAS: Health, education, environment, human services, arts & culture, community development

IP TAKE: New grant seekers’ best bet for funding is in education and health; however, environmental causes are of growing importance to this funder. Learn a bit about the other three foundations that Woodruff shares an office and staff (and grant proposals) with, on the funder's website.

PROFILE: The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation was established by the businessman and philanthropist of the same name, who was president of the Coca-Cola Foundation from 1923 to his death in 1985. Atlanta was his hometown, and the bulk of Woodruff Foundation grantmaking is centered on Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia. The foundation seeks “to improve the quality of life in Georgia by investing in health, education, economic opportunity and community vitality.” Its grants program funds health, education, environment, human services, arts and culture, and community development.

Health grants prioritize medical education, research, and policy development in Georgia, and underserved populations. Education grants support state private colleges, public research institutions, K-12 schools, and independent schools in metro Atlanta.

Most environmental grants support the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, however, this funder also supports land conservation projects and green spaces in the city and state. Most arts and culture and human services grants are made in Atlanta (but occasionally outside the city, too) for community development projects. Community development grants also go to local philanthropy and the nonprofit community.

In past years, the foundation awarded grants totaling between $100,000,000 and $150,000,000, with individual grants ranging between $100,000 and $24 million. Recent grantmaking has prioritized education, health and the environment. Health and the education have been top priorities for this funder for several years now, but the environment has emerged as a more important issue lately. You can find details on past grantees on their Previous Grants page.

Fortunately for grantseekers, the Woodruff Foundation accepts unsolicited grant inquiries. These informal inquiries should be emailed to fdns@woodruff.org, or grant seekers can call Grants Officer Jenny Morgan at 404-522-6755 to determine if their request is a fit for the foundation.

One interesting aspect of this funder is that it shares offices and staff with the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation, Lettie Pate Evans Foundation and Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation. Do not submit a separate inquiry to these foundations because one to Woodruff may very well be passed to them.

It is common for the foundation to receive around 350 grant proposals per year, but grantseekers must be located or operating in Georgia to be eligible for a grant. Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis: requests submitted by February 1 are reviewed in April, and those in by August 15 are reviewed in November.

More details about the application process can be found on the funder’s How to Apply page. General questions can be directed to the Atlanta-based staff at fdns@woodruff.org or 404-522-6755.

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