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

Basic Eligibility Requirements

  • Believe in Reading awards grants to existing and provably successful literacy programs. Programs should have been established for a minimum of 2 years.
  • 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, English as a second language projects, or Braille related projects for the blind or visually impaired.

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.
  • Organizations or programs outside of the United States.
  • Expenses that are not directly related to the project for which funding is sought.
  • An organization’s operating and administrative expenses.
  • Salaries of staff.
  • Capital costs for building and construction, or basic infrastructure costs, such as electricity, rent, telephone, transportation, etc. Funding for needed equipment such as computers will be considered.
  • Core curriculum based texts, lesson plan assigned reading, or text books.
  • Programs involving book vending machines.
  • Pass-through funding, such as using the funding to award scholarships, or to pass on to a consultant.
  • Funding to support large-scale or nationally recognized programs such as The Imagination Library or One School, One Book. Even though these are wonderful programs, we prefer to make direct funding to community projects through local libraries, schools, or non-profit organizations.
  • 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 that were established less than 2 years ago unless the applicant is a public or school library.
  • Political contributions, or any other activity designed to influence legislation or affect political campaigns.
  • Direct or matching payments to members of the public.

Grant Amounts

Because addressing literacy is not a short-term process, Believe in Reading’s grants are renewable for up to a maximum of three years, but a first year award does not guarantee any subsequent awards. At this time, the maximum grant amount is $10,000, however the vast majority of our grants are for $3,000 or less. First time applicants will not be funded for more than $3,000.

Believe in Reading Application Review Process

  • Grant applications are considered as they 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 100+ applications pending and we are a very lean organization staffed only part-time. It may take 90-120 days to receive a response.
  • 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 at the end of the project, and interim reports are very welcome. 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 download the form, fill it out, save it and send it as an attachment to

Questions and Contact Information

Please contact us at if you have questions.