Grant Guidelines

2020 Grant Guidelines


The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust was established upon the death of Nina Mason Pulliam in 1997 to support for 50 years the causes she loved in her home states of Arizona and Indiana. The Trust seeks to help people in need, especially women, children, youth and families; to protect animals and nature; and to enrich community life primarily in metropolitan Indianapolis and Phoenix.

Geographic priorities

The Trust accepts requests only from nonprofit organizations located in and serving Marion County, Indiana and Maricopa County, Arizona, with the exception of environmental requests. For environmental requests, the Trust will consider requests from local and national nonprofit organizations working in Arizona and Indiana.

Program areas

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust provides grants to nonprofit organizations that focus on the philanthropic interests and causes Nina Pulliam supported during her lifetime. Further, the Trust seeks to embody her values by encouraging people to take advantage of opportunities that enhance the quality of their lives. The Trust especially is interested in funding nonprofit organizations that can demonstrate and measure the impact of their work.

The Trust makes grants only to tax-exempt organizations whose purposes are described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that are either public charities described in Sections 509(a) or private operating foundations described in Section 4942(j)(3).

Helping People in Need

Mrs. Pulliam valued giving people experiencing difficulty a hand up and firmly believed that education was essential to reaching one’s full potential.

The Trust supports:


  • Programs that provide adult education or training with accompanying social supports for individuals to obtain and maintain gainful employment.
  • Programs that focus on economic self-reliance through micro-lending, small business development and entrepreneurial efforts for low-income individuals.
  • Programs that assist the elderly in maintaining their independence and remaining in their homes.

Crisis Intervention

  • Programs that assist vulnerable families, women and children to help move them from crisis or instability to greater functioning.
  • Programs that provide basic needs, such as food, clothing, emergency shelter or transitional housing.

Foster Care

  • Programs that increase the number of licensed foster families and kinship providers.
  • Multigenerational programs that help prevent children from entering the system.
  • Programs that support young adults, ages 18-25, who are aging out of the system, with post-secondary educational attainment, job training and financial self-sufficiency.

Education and Literacy

  • Programs that provide mentoring and tutoring to disadvantaged youth.
  • Out-of-school time programs and projects for underserved children.
  • Programs that improve literacy skills of adults.
  • Programs that help high school students gain access to careers or post-secondary education.
  • Programs that work with children (0 – 5) and their families to improve literacy, reading and language acquisition.

Protecting Animals and Nature

Mrs. Pulliam loved animals – domesticated and wild – and the natural environment. She sought ways to encourage human bonds with both.

The Trust supports:

  • Programs that provide humane and wellness services for domestic animals, including shelter, rescue, spay/neuter and adoption.
  • Programs that promote conservation of natural habitats and ecosystems that advance preservation, protection and restoration of land, water, wildlife and plants.
  • Programs that promote environmental awareness to connect people to the natural world, promote personal stewardship, or offer knowledge and tools for addressing current and future problems.

Enriching Community Life

Mrs. Pulliam appreciated the importance of having vibrant communities that benefit all residents.

The Trust supports:

  • Programs that add to the overall civic vibrancy and cultural vitality of the community.
  • Programs that create innovative solutions to enhance the quality of life in Indianapolis or Phoenix.

What the Trust will not consider funding:

  • Grants for international activities, academic research, sectarian purposes, or programs that promote religious doctrine or political campaigns.
  • Grants for health-related programs, except for those related to the visually impaired.
  • Requests for programs that target those currently incarcerated, exiting the criminal justice system or recently released. Within this area, programs that target children of incarcerated individuals or address youth in foster care will be considered.
  • Operating or capital requests from colleges and universities. (The latter includes endowments for professorial chairs, faculty training and research, scholarships and building campaigns.) However, the Trust will continue to accept requests through its regular grant cycles for support of projects that link higher education institutions to their communities.
  • Grants to individuals.

Scope of funding and type of support

Generally, the Trust prefers to disburse funds as a one-year grant but not for a period longer than three years. Requests for funding are limited to one request per organization per calendar year. (For these purposes, an “organization” generally refers to an entity that has received a determination letter from the IRS indicating that the organization is exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).) If an organization received a previous grant, a final evaluation report must be submitted and reviewed by Trust staff prior to requesting another grant. For more detailed information and examples, please refer to the FAQ section posted on our web site.

The Trust awards grants for program support, capital needs and general operations as follows:

  • Most of the Trust’s grants are for program support for organizations that seek to create, expand or enhance proven, effective programs.
  • The Trust will consider capital support for organizations that seek immediate capital improvements to continue or expand services.
  • In limited cases, the Trust will consider operating support for former Trust grantees with whom the Trust has a long relationship.

Consideration process and how to apply

The Trust requires that a representative from your organization consult with grants program staff at least two months prior to the application deadline. (See Funding Cycle Deadlines.)

Before submitting an application:

  1. Read the Grant Guidelines and FAQ to determine what the Trust will and will not fund, including our program funding interests and priority areas.
  2. Consult with Trust staff. The Trust requires that a representative from your organization consult with grants program staff at least two months prior to the application deadline.
  3. If grants program staff determines the project has potential for funding, your organization will be asked to complete an online Letter of Intent describing the project in detail, as well as the proposed grant activities and outcomes.
  4. Upon approval of the LOI, the Trust will notify the organization and provide instructions for completing an application.


1st Round: January 15, 2020
2nd Round: June 17, 2020

Applications must be received by noon on due dates.

Funding Decisions:

1st Round: June 30, 2020
2nd Round: October 26, 2020