Submit a Letter of Inquiry

Submit a letter of inquiry

Once you have closely read MacArthur's program guidelines to determine what types of projects are supported and you have determined that MacArthur is accepting proposals in your area of work, the next step is to submit a letter of inquiry.

If support is available according to MacArthur’s grantmaking guidelines, the next step is to submit a cover sheet and a letter of inquiry about the work being proposed. Unless otherwise indicated in the call for proposals, send it either by mail to the Office of Grants Management at the Foundation’s Chicago address or by email to

Cover Sheet

To expedite a letter of inquiry it is important to include a cover sheet with the following information:

  • Information regarding who will carry out the work
  • Name of your organization (and acronym if commonly used)
  • Name of parent organization, if any
  • Name of chief executive officer or person holding similar position
  • Organization’s address (and courier address if different)
  • Organization’s phone number, fax number, and e-mail address, if any
  • Name and title of the principal contact person, if different from the above
  • Address (and courier address if different), phone number, and fax number of principal contact
  • E-mail address of principal contact
  • Web address, if any


There is no set format, but letters of inquiry generally include the following:

  • Name or topic of the proposed project or work to be done
  • A brief statement (two or three sentences) of the purpose and nature of the proposed work
  • The significance of the issue addressed by the project and how it relates to a stated MacArthur program strategy
  • How the work will address the issue
  • How the issue relates to your organization, and why your organization is qualified to undertake the project
  • Geographic area or country where the work will take place
  • Time period for which funding is requested
  • Information about those who will be helped by and interested in the work and how you will communicate with them
  • Amount of funding requested from MacArthur and total cost (estimates are acceptable)

The Foundation’s Response

We will send you an acknowledgment within five business days to confirm that your letter of inquiry was received, and we will direct it to the appropriate staff members for review. The review process for eligible inquiries can take up to eight weeks, unless otherwise noted elsewhere.

As is now the case with most charities in the United States who make grants to organizations based outside the United States, the Foundation checks the names of foreign-based grantees and the principal officers and directors of such grantees against one or more lists maintained by the U.S. government, the European Union, and the United Nations, which contain the names determined by such entities to be terrorist organizations or individual terrorists. This process is a result of legislation passed by the U.S. Congress, Executive Orders issued by the President, and suggested guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. A memorandum on this topic is available upon request.

All material submitted becomes the property of the MacArthur Foundation. The Foundation sometimes submits inquiries or proposals for confidential outside review.


With few exceptions, as noted elsewhere, there are no fixed deadlines.

What MacArthur Does Not Fund

The Foundation does not support political activities or attempts to influence action on specific legislation, and does not provide the following:

  • Scholarships / tuition assistance for undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate studies
  • Annual fundraising drives
  • Institutional benefits
  • Honorary functions or similar projects
  • Unsolicited grants to individuals, except for the MacArthur Fellows, which operates through a separate nominating process that is not open to public nominations.

Revisit Steps
Step 1: Learn About What We Fund ›
Step 2: Understanding Guidelines and Funding Cycles ›

  • Our Commitment to Fairness and Courtesy

    The Foundation is committed to ensuring that grant-seekers, grantees, and the public have access to clear and up-to-date information about the Foundation and its programs, and are treated with fairness and professional courtesy.

    Read More

Contact Us

Find contact information for MacArthur around the world. Read More