San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum transparent-20

The Application Process

Key information you need to know about our application process.

Step 1

To be considered for a grant from the Thomas C. Ackerman Foundation, an organization must initially submit a Letter of Intent online. The online form is accessed by clicking this link:  Letter of Intent

A program or organization that wishes to submit a request for a grant must complete the online form of the Letter of Intent. In addition, a program or organization must confirm that it meets the specific eligibility guidelines, which are set forth in detail on the Letter of Intent page of this website.

A Letter of Intent submitted by an organization or on behalf of any program that the Foundation, in its absolute discretion, determines for any reason not to be eligible, will be rejected without notice.

The Letter of Intent must describe the metrics to be used by an organization to measure or otherwise determine outcomes and results of the program and include any measurable outcomes achieved to date by the program. The Foundation does not view mere attendance or enrollment as an “outcome.”

A Letter of Intent may not exceed three (3) pages in length. The online form of the Letter of Intent permits narrative information to be provided for items 1-6 of not more than one-half of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet  of paper, single-spaced.

Once submitted, the Letter of Intent will be reviewed and considered by the Board of Directors at its next regularly scheduled board meeting. This review process normally takes between 6 and 12 weeks. Generally, one of three decisions is made: an organization’s request may be turned down; an organization may be invited to submit a formal grant application; or, in limited circumstances, an organization may be awarded a grant based on the Letter of Intent. All eligible organizations submitting a Letter of Intent will be informed of the Board’s decision by email.

Step 2

If an organization is invited to submit a formal grant application, the following procedures are to be followed:

  1. Complete and return The Thomas C. Ackerman Foundation “Grant Application Questionnaire” form. This is the single most important part of the grant request submission process. The Questionnaire may be completed electronically at the Foundation website, once access to it has been provided by the Foundation. Supporting documents may be mailed to the Foundation. A grant application will not be accepted until all of the required materials are received by the Foundation.
  2. Include verification that the charitable organization requesting the grant is at present a charitable organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (c)(3) and California & Revenue Taxation Code Section 2370d; copies of the determination letters from the Internal Revenue and Franchise Tax Board must accompany the initial request. The grant request must specify whether the requesting organization is a “public charity” (IRC §509(a)(1, 2 or 3) or a “private foundation.”
  3. Provide a detailed budget of your organization and the specific project, including other sources of  funding, whether committed, conditional, or potential.
  4. Provide financial statements, including income and expenses statements (audited, if available) for the past two years for your organization.
  5. Provide a current list of the board of directors of your organization.



Conciseness and clarity are the most highly regarded attributes of a grant request, rather than elaborate (and cumbersome) notebooks or other relatively expensive formats.

A condition and requirement of every grant is the obligation and undertaking to provide the Foundation—within six (6) months of the date of grant—a progress report concerning the specific project, program, or other activity supported by the grant.  A progress report is expected to be an accurate report of how the grant was expended, as well as an assessment of the outcome(s) achieved.  The analysis of outcomes should include, where possible, an identification of areas for improvement. The progress report must include the date of receipt of the grant award.  In future grant-making considerations, the Board of Directors will take into account the failure of an organization to submit a progress report, as well as the submission of a progress report that is merely cursory in form.

The Board of Directors recently adopted a policy that allows a grantee organization to reapply for a new grant beginning in the calendar year following the later of the second annual anniversary of the date of approval by the Board of Directors of its most recent grant or date of payment of the final installment of a multi-year grant.  This policy also applies if the grantee organization submits a proposal for consideration for the same program or a new program.

The Thomas C. Ackerman Foundation considers grant applications in written form only. If the Board desires further information following initial review of the request, the applicant will be contacted by a Foundation representative. Board decisions are communicated in writing, usually within 30 days of the date the Board considers the request.  The Board meets three or four times a year.  Generally, a grant request received within 30 days of a Board meeting will be deferred for action until the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. Specific deadline dates for submitting grant applications are provided from time to time on this website .