Dallas Foundation: North Texas Grants

OVERVIEW: The Dallas Foundation funds a wide variety of nonprofit causes in the city of Dallas and Dallas County. Most foundation grants are between $10,000 and $50,000. 

FUNDING AREAS: Arts, critical needs, animal welfare, older adults & aging, low-income children & adults, abused & neglected children, disabled children, blind and deaf children, children with debilitating diseases, African-American citizens, education, social services, religion, health, civic/public benefit

IP TAKE: Although a majority of the Dallas Foundation’s funds are donor-advised, there are still quite a few field-of-interest funds and community impact funds that accept unsolicited grant requests. All grants stay within Dallas County, so this is a great funder for local nonprofits to get familiar with. The bulk of funding has been going toward education, and nonprofits need to go through the Community Impact Fund for education requests.

PROFILE: Of all the community foundations in Texas, the Dallas Foundation is the oldest, established in 1929. The foundation has awarded more than $505 million in grants since 1929. It works with local donors to serve nonprofits throughout North Texas through donor-advised, designated, field-of-interest, agency endowment, scholarship, and community impact funds. At the time this profile was updated, there were around 485 funds at the Dallas Foundation. Most of these are donor-advised and far fewer are field-of-interest funds. 

Not surprisingly, giving is focused on the city and county of Dallas, and the foundation’s sole purpose has been to help donors create charitable funds that reflect their interests. In a recent year the Dallas Foundation reported over $285 million in assets and 7,374 grants made totaling over $55 million. All of these figures are up from past years. This is a foundation that works hard to keep operating costs low and in one recent year, the operating budget represented just 0.89% of the average market value of total assets.

Like many foundations in Texas, one of the largest grantmaking emphases here is on education. However, public/civic benefit causes have been beating out education causes lately. Approximately 32 percent of grant allocations went to public/civil benefit in a recent year, followed by 28 percent to education, and 15 percent to social services.

Always in search of innovative approaches to addressing community needs, the Dallas Foundation accepts grant proposals from a wide variety of nonprofits in Dallas County. Grants are awarded for capital projects, capacity building, programs, and general operating support.

It awards grants once per year from its field-of-interest funds, which mostly support critical needs, low-income children, disabled children, and the arts. Letters of inquiry for field-of-interest funds are due by March 1 of each year. Keep in mind that most of these grants are between $10,000 and $50,000—with $319,650 to Companion Animal Funders Coalition’s spay and neuter efforts being the big exception one year.

The Dallas Foundation also awards annual grants from its general endowment, known as the Community Impact Fund. This is where funding for social services, education, healthcare, and the arts comes in. Letters of inquiry for the Community Impact Fund are due by August 1 of each year and can be emailed to lward@dallasfoundation.org. Most of these grants are also between $10,000 and $50,000.

Safety Net grants are awarded on a quarterly basis and full applications are accepted throughout the year. These grants are for nonprofits that are directly linked to the economic downturn and help meet critical needs like hunger, shelter, clothing, safety or health. If your nonprofit has a proven track record of success and serves a lot of people in the Dallas area but is currently facing a financial shortfall, this is a good initiative to keep in mind. 

Other Dallas Foundation initiatives involve early childhood education, the birth-to-five demographic, animal welfare, and the volunteer efforts of younger Dallas citizens. The Dallas Foundation is led by President Mary Jalonick, a Dallas native and the foundation’s first full-time employee in 1987. She oversees the work of over a dozen staff members.

If you’re interested in applying for a grant in the near future, check out the foundation’s Grantmaking Seminars page to see if there are any coming up soon to attend. You can also browse through the Recently Awarded Grants List to see examples of what types of organizations the Dallas Foundation has recently funded through its various funds. General inquiries can be submitted via online form or by calling the staff at 214-741-9898.


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