Working To Enhance The Quality Of Life
In Baltimore And In Maryland.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How is the Abell Foundation operating during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Foundation is committed to supporting our grantees, partners, and colleagues in Baltimore City through this uncertain and historic moment. Our staff is working in the office. If you are a current grantee and have any questions or concerns, please contact your program officer directly via email.  If you are interested in applying for a grant, please contact the appropriate program officer or, if you aren’t sure who to contact, please email or call the Foundation at (410) 547-1300. 

What are the Abell Foundation hours of operation?

The Foundation’s office is open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.

What is the geographic scope of the Foundation?

The Foundation funds 501(c)(3), tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations located and active in Maryland. Our focus is on Baltimore City, with more than 95 percent of our grants being awarded to organizations in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

What kinds of projects does the Abell Foundation fund?

The Foundation has seven broad program areas of interest: education, workforce development, health and human services, community development, criminal justice and addiction, environment, and arts. Within these areas, the Foundation invites requests for demonstration projects, feasibility studies, capital improvements, new construction and equipment, program development and enhancements, research, and program-related investments.

Are there limitations to what the Foundation will fund?

The Foundation does not tend to fund educational programs at higher education institutions, medical facilities, individual scholarships, fellowships, sponsorships, deficit financing, endowments, or travel.

Do you fund requests from individuals?

No, we only fund qualified 501(c)(3), tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations located and/or carrying on activities in the state of Maryland. In some cases, the Foundation will award grants to organizations who serve as fiscal sponsors for other organizations.

What is a 501(c)(3) designation? How do I go about obtaining a tax-exempt, nonprofit status for my organization?

501(c)(3) refers to the section of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code that defines an organization as a tax-exempt, nonprofit entity. For more information about the code and how to obtain a 501(c)(3) designation, click here.

What is a reasonable amount to request?

Our average grant size in 2019 was $61,578. We suggest that you review our most recent Annual Report for an indication of our current areas of focus and average size of grants.

How should I contact the Abell Foundation to explore new funding opportunities? 

Applications for grants of $10,000 or less will be considered on a rolling basis. These grant requests may be submitted without a letter of inquiry (LOI).

Applications for new grants in excess of $10,000 can be initiated by providing a one- or two-page LOI to Robert C. Embry, Jr., President, at A letter of inquiry should include:

  • Description of the project;

  • Amount requested;

  • Total budget; and

  • Population served.

The Foundation will then determine whether the project fits within our scope and areas of interest. To learn more about applying for funding, click here.

I’ve submitted an LOI. How long until I receive a response from the Foundation?

Once an LOI is submitted by email, response time is between seven and 10 days. If you have not heard a response from the Foundation after 10 days, please email us at Regular mail requires a longer response time from the Foundation.

I've applied for a grant previously, do I need to submit a new LOI before completing a new application? 

A letter of inquiry is not necessary if the grantee has previously applied, or if contact has been made with the president or relevant program officer first to ensure that the proposed project meets the Foundation’s criteria. A letter of inquiry is also not necessary if the grant amount requested is $10,000 or less.  These small grants are considered on a rolling basis and there are no deadlines for these applications.

How should proposals be submitted?

Grant requests in excess of $10,000 should be completed online through our grant application portal. Please use this link for requests of $10,000 or less.

If you do not have access to the Internet, please mail one copy of your application with any necessary attachments to:

Robert C. Embry, Jr.


Abell Foundation

111 S. Calvert Street, Suite 2300

Baltimore, MD 21202-6174

I’m having trouble accessing the grant application portal, what should I do? Who should we contact if we are unable to access our grant application portal account?

While most browsers are expected to be compatible with our grant application portal, Chrome is preferred. Download the latest version here.

If you are using Chrome and still have issues accessing the portal, please contact our Grants team at

Do you have deadlines? If so, when is the next deadline and how soon will I hear about the Board's decision?

The Board reviews grant requests five times each year. Our deadlines can be found near the bottom of our homepage and on this page. Applicants will typically be notified via email within three days of a Board meeting. If you have not received a decision notification from our grants manager by the week after a Board meeting, please reach out to us at

Are there any hints on what the Abell Foundation would look for in order to receive favorable consideration and funding?

Grant requests from organizations that meet the legal requirements and include the following points will receive weighted consideration from the Foundation:

  • A well-articulated mission;

  • Demonstration of need and clearly defined goals and objectives;

  • Potential to take innovative approaches to solving problems;

  • Ability to demonstrate impact by providing measurable results;

  • Capacity to advance knowledge base in field;

  • Enhancement of opportunities for beneficiaries to improve their quality of life;

  • Enhancement of efficiency and effectiveness of services;

  • Internal capacity to achieve expected goals; and

  • Evidence of strong financial stability and ability to leverage other sources of funding.

Short descriptions of all approved grants in excess of $5,000 are published here after each meeting.

Does your foundation offer assistance in grant writing?

The Foundation is willing to answer any questions about the application, but it does not assist in the actual process of grant writing.

How often may my organization apply?

The Abell Foundation funds projects based on their individual merit.  Therefore, if your organization is currently being funded, or if you have a proposal under consideration, you are welcome to submit an additional proposal for a different project. 

If our request is declined, when can we apply again for the same project?

Organizations are required wait a calendar year before reapplying for the same project. Grant applications for new or different programming purposes may be submitted right away.

Why was my proposal declined?

Competition has become increasingly stiff, and the Foundation is simply unable to fund every request for funding we receive. In an average year, approximately one in four proposals is funded. Our geographic focus on initiatives in Baltimore City has limited the Foundation's ability to fund many proposals submitted from around the state.  

Whom should I contact regarding media inquiries?

Please contact Robert C. Embry, Jr., President.

Current Grantees

My organization was awarded a grant, where is the template to complete my interim/post-grant report in the portal?

In our grant application portal, there is a blue Requirements button on the top left after you login. If you do not see this button, please ensure you are using Chrome. 

If you would prefer to complete these reports offline, you may use the below templates and send them to our grants manager at

Access Word/Excel templates of our reporting requirements here:

I can’t access my account in the grant portal. After using the Reset Password link on the login screen, I did not get an email. What can I do?

Please check your spam/junk folder. If you do not receive a password reset email after 10 minutes, please contact our Grants team at

I have successfully logged into the portal, but I don’t see my organization’s previously submitted application(s). How can I find them?

Our grant application portal allows one set of login credentials per grant. For larger organizations, it’s common for a grant application to be submitted in the portal by one person and another will later need access. In order to transfer your account to a new email address, please contact our Grants team at

I have successfully logged into the portal, how can I create a new grant application?

Please use these links to go directly to a new grant application:

My organization has chosen to receive our grant funds via ACH (direct deposit). How long will this process take?

The ACH/Direct Deposit set-up process could take up to 10 business days.

My organization has previously chosen to receive our grant funds via ACH, and our account has been confirmed. Do we need to provide our account details again for subsequent grants?

If your organization has already confirmed their account details related to a previous grant from the Foundation, we ask that you indicate that on your award letter.