Organizational Effectiveness Grant

Since 1947, the Richard King Mellon Foundation has invested in visionaries who seek to advance the competitive future and quality of life of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and to protect, preserve and restore America’s environmental heritage.

Type of Support


Effective and sustainable partners are key to solving complex social, economic, and environmental challenges, yet the nonprofit and public sector has chronically underfunded investments in organizational capacity. The Foundation aims to fund partners so that they will have the organizational strength and agility to pursue big ideas and take risks in service of accelerating achievement of their strategic priorities.

Grants are awarded to organizations and programs focused on:

  • Leadership and Governance, with priority to
    • Diverse, high-performing leaders
    • Collaboration and access to networks
    • Board development and engagement
  • Human Capital Management, with priority to
    • Talent acquisition and retention
    • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
    • Competitive nonprofit career paths
  • Strategy and Learning, with priority to
    • Culture of learning
    • Impact measurement
    • Adaptive strategy
    • Resilient, balanced financial structure
  • Communications, with priority to
    • Brand strategy
    • Contemporary storytelling


Organization's Location
Program Location
USA, with preference for PA
Organization Type
Public-sector organizations

Funding through the Foundation’s Organizational Effectiveness program is reserved for organizations that have an active grant with the Foundation, or that have been funded for project support or general operations within the past three years.


Organizations that have not received funding from The Richard King Mellon Foundation within the past three years
Individuals or proposals that regrant to individuals
Lobbying, advocacy, or political causes or events
Terrorist activities
Postsecondary institutions or research institutions are not eligible for general operating support
not specified


Required Attachments
Board List
Letters of Support
Organizational Budget
501(c)(3) Letter
Audited Financial Statement
Project Budget
Contact info
Review Criteria
  • Planning and Innovation: This funding supports experimentation and the development of new ideas. Recipients might conduct activities such as piloting minimally viable products/services or completing a feasibility study.
  • Implementation: This funding provides support for more developed concepts and services. Recipients might continue current programs, construct a building, train staff, carry out a marketing campaign, or conduct a third-party evaluation. 
  • Scalability: This funding supports extending the reach of a promising model or project. Recipients might participate in conferences or publishing, convene networks, provide technical support to other organizations, or expand service delivery
  • Community engagement describes how the project will incorporate community perspectives to increase the likelihood of achieving the outputs and outcomes. You might describe how you have engaged with the target population to understand their view of the problem that you propose to address. You might also describe how you will engage your target population in ongoing leadership or advisory roles during the project’s implementation. You might also describe partnerships with other organizations that will increase the project’s effectiveness.
  • Project Sustainability helps us to understand your expectations for the relationship that might be formed between our organizations if funding were awarded. By asking this question, we want to understand how you are thinking about our role in your finances and program delivery. 
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