Grant Guidelines: Who, what, where, when, why?

Basic Eligibility Requirements

  • Believe in Reading awards grants to existing and provably successful literacy programs.
  • Believe in Reading awards grants only to organizations that have been designated as having tax exempt status according to the IRS Code Section 501(c)(3), or its equivalent for educational institutions, including public libraries. (A pending status does not fulfill this requirement.)
  • Believe in Reading will consider funding programs that serve any age or aspect of supporting reading and literacy, including adult literacy or English as a second language projects.

Believe in Reading Funding Priorities

  • Believe in Reading considers projects that support its mission and philanthropic objectives and considers only projects that specifically and substantially address its funding priorities.
  • Believe in Reading targets successful literacy programs which serve populations that show out of the ordinary needs, such as geographic areas with low reading scores and high poverty levels.
  • Believe in Reading will supply funds only if they are earmarked for literacy, not just a general campaign. Reading must be the prime activity.

Believe in Reading will NOT award grants for

  • Individuals
  • Organizations without tax exempt status.
  • Organizations that discriminate on the basis of age, national origin, race or color, marital status, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status.
  • Expenses that are not directly related to the project for which funding is sought.
  • An organization’s operating and administrative expenses.
  • Salaries of permanent staff, unless DIRECTLY related to the project for which funding is sought.
  • Capital costs for building and construction, or basic infrastructure costs, such as electricity, rent, telephone, etc. Funding for needed equipment such as computers will be considered.
  • Pass-through funding, such as using the funding to award scholarships, or to pass on to a consultant.
  • Budget deficits.
  • Projects which have a potential conflict of interest; for example, when a board member or employee might serve as a vendor for the project.
  • Projects containing commercial or for-profit elements.
  • Start-up funding for new programs unless the applicant is a public or school library.
  • Lobbying, political contributions, or any other activity designed to influence legislation or affect political campaigns.
  • Direct or matching payments to members of the public.

What Kinds of Grants Are Available

Because addressing literacy is not a short-term process, Believe in Reading’s grants are renewable for up to three years, but a first year award does not guarantee any subsequent awards. The minimum annual grant is $1,000. At this time, the maximum is $10,000, though this may change in the future.

Believe in Reading Application Review Process

  • Believe in Reading will evaluate proposals and inform the applicants of their decision in the order in which applications are received. There are no specific deadlines, but please apply long in advance of when you would like your check to arrive. We quite commonly have 25 or more applications pending and we are a very lean organization.
  • Issuance of an awarded grant is not a guarantee of funding for subsequent years. There is no implied or explicit representation that there will be any subsequent funding.

Reporting Requirements

Outcome-based reports are required from the grantee every six months, and at the conclusion of the project. The reports are meant to be simple, not onerous, and will include amount of the grant spent and how it was spent, the numbers of readers served, the number of hours spent by staff, and other simple figures to give Believe in Reading a snapshot of how your program is progressing. Photos are appreciated as well. Here is the report form. Please save it on your computer (download form), fill it out, save it and send it to

Questions and Contact Information

Please contact Cynthia Orr at if you have questions.