Letter of Interest

With some limited exceptions for certain specialized K-12 programs in our education department such as our Summer Camp and SupportSTEM programs, the Foundation does not accept and will not consider unsolicited applications or requests for support.  To submit a grant application and have said application considered, your organization must be directly invited by us to do so.  If we issue your organization the invitation we will provide you the password to our application or give you other instructions on the format that we will consider a formal request.

If you are interested in making sure the Foundation is aware of your organization’s hard work, impact, and programming and want to let us know that you are interested in being considered for an invitation to potentially apply, then this page will discuss the protocols to follow and essential matters to keep in mind when you provide information about your charitable activities to the Foundation.  Please note that we do not solicit applications or LOI’s either through this website or otherwise and we are focused on our internally developed programming and initiatives that we will generally prioritize over unsolicited requests; that said, we receive many calls, inquiries, mass mailers, and other forms of unsolicited communications, so we set forth these guidelines to outline what is to be done in order for us to review the materials/requests that are sent to us on an unsolicited basis.

You may send us an LOI outlining your activities and mission if you are an organization which is recognized as an exempt organization by the Internal Revenue Service, be it a 501(c)(3) of Title 26 or a publicly supported organization such as a University or medical research institution undertaking basic science.  We are always interested in reading about the mission and impact of those working to alleviate human suffering.

Any qualified charity is welcome to mail us information pursuant to these guidelines, though no one is guaranteed a response and responses, if sent, could be years later and only if we eventually develop a program or initiative that we believe your operations would be a good fit within.  Our priorities do change over time so we do value all information we receive as information we receive from you in 2024 may help us formulate programs years in the future.

Our primary interests in 2024 are our Shelter & Food Security Program, our Fundamental Research Program(s), and the various programs within our education department.  If you are a qualified Louisiana or Mississippi charity primarily focused on providing services to the homeless or addressing food security and you are interested in being invited to apply for our program you should submit an LOI as early as possible in a calendar year. 

We will generally keep an LOI on file for a minimum of five years, so you need not send in an LOI more frequently than every five years.  Be aware that the Foundation frequently plans its projects several years in advance, so you should not anticipate a response of any kind quickly even if we plan to ultimately invite your organization to submit an application over the next five-year period.  If your organization does not have an active and ongoing program with us, you should not contact us in any manner other than in writing consistent herewith.

There is no strict format for an LOI to follow, share any information with us you feel is important or helpful about what you do, but there are some things you should keep in mind when deciding whether you should send in an LOI and what the LOI should include.  Those are as follows:

  1. Send one hard copy by certified mail only to the Brown Foundation office at 320 Metairie Hammond Highway, Suite 500, Metairie, LA 70005.  We will not accept or review an LOI or any unsolicited request in any format other than being physically mailed to us (for example, we will not consider or even open attachments to electronic correspondence and we will not download any materials from flash drives or other data storage devices you may send to us on any unsolicited basis).
  2. Your LOI should include a cover letter that identifies your program, mission, and how you assist in alleviating human suffering or furthering scientific knowledge. There are no formal length expectations or restrictions to your LOI though we do respectfully suggest that the entire LOI package you prepare for us be under 15 pages in length inclusive of exhibits, flyers, or other demonstrative materials.
  3. Your LOI should indicate what dollar amount you would likely apply for if the Foundation were to invite you to submit a formal grant proposal (a range is fine, and we understand that circumstances sometimes change from the LOI to the formal grant application packet that may cause an unforeseen change on your end relating to the ultimate ask if you are approved to tender same to us for consideration).
  4. We are specifically interested in how you measure your group’s impact and track success, consider identifying your measurable impact in your LOI.  Our preference is to see objective - as opposed to subjective - measurables and have same correlate to the alleviation of human suffering or furthering scientific knowledge.
  5. The Foundation frequently favors core human suffering initiatives over other projects; this means that core human suffering initiatives such as medical research may receive preferential consideration over a program that supports some type of economic development or is recreationally based (as non-exclusive examples).
  6. We expect groups who are sending us an LOI to have a minimum of two (and preferably three) complete calendar years of well documented and positive full scale operating history. A partial year is not a calendar year. The date you received a favorable determination from the IRS as to your tax status is likely not the same date you actually commenced full scale operations.  We have, on occasion, made exceptions to this general guideline such as when we proudly provided the seed money to commence the process of bringing The National WWII Museum (then The National D-Day Museum) to New Orleans or joining with others in providing the seed money to launch Café Reconcile or the STEM Library Lab, so organizations may send us LOI’s prior to attaining the two year operational mark if they wish to do so but it is recommended that the two complete years of operational history be attained.
  7. When we issue a grant we want to see the money put into use as soon as possible, we will generally not make contributions to an endowment or capital campaign. Also, we will generally not support a brick and mortar build out.  You are certainly welcome to inform us through the LOI protocols of your brick and mortar needs and any capital campaign/endowment drives that you may be planning or have ongoing, as we are interested in hearing about said projects, though we are not likely to contribute to the project and you are not likely to receive feedback from us of any kind.
  8. Though we do on occasion support the general operating needs of our grant recipients, our usual preference is to support a specific project or program.  Similarly, we generally do not support fiscal intermediary agencies or groups that re-grant out a monetary award (i.e. we want to work directly with the group or research laboratory utilizing the money, not a fiscal intermediary).
  9. You are not guaranteed to receive a response to your LOI.  You may only receive a response if and when we approve your group to submit an application in which case you will be contacted by us and provided a password to access the formal application to complete and turn in. Our staff is not authorized to answer questions about where you stand regarding your LOI or help you complete an application.  It is respectfully noted that our requirement that an organization submit the LOI through certified mail should negate the need for an organization to seek affirmative confirmation of our receipt of the LOI.
  10. We do not publish our timetable on when we may review a properly submitted LOI.  Please note that you should not contact our staff requesting feedback or meetings, we will contact you if we have questions and we will not grant unsolicited meetings.
  11. Please be aware that several years ago we dissolved both our Arts & Culture Committee and Religion Committee and have restructured the Education Committee to primarily include initiatives that are either service-learning based or in the science, technology, engineering, and math field (we have interest in STEM - not STEAM - initiatives). You are welcome to send us information about your STEAM, arts & culture and religious activities consistent with these LOI protocols, but should not expect a response.
  12. We run our own programs and develop our own initiatives and will favor such programs and initiatives over unsolicited projects and we are not soliciting LOI submissions.  This means, for example, that we are unlikely to provide a favorable response to an LOI for K-12 education or related programming (such as tutoring, mentoring, or other after school programs) over the next few years as we already have established ongoing programs that are focused on K-12 programming and we are going to favor our own programming and internally developed initiatives over any unsolicited LOI.  If you are a K-12 education or related program of some type (like a summer camp) that is looking for support then first look if you fall under one of our specific internally developed programs (that can be found here: ), and if you do not fall under one of those programs you are still welcome to send us an unsolicited LOI though you should not expect a response of any kind from us as our budgets are limited and we are focused on our own service learning, SupportSTEM, Emmy Noether Award, and summer camp programing.
  13. Some of our programs have support limitations such as our summer camp program which currently limits organizations to two years of potential support before they are rotated out of the program, if you have termed out of one of our programs you should not submit an LOI to us for the same or similar programming.
  14. We will not approve an LOI for an advocacy-based program or one engaged in governmental lobbying.  For example, we favored certain oncology research initiatives the past few years rather than patient advocacy projects.  Similarly, we were interested in providing financial support for certain environmental research initiatives with world class organizations we selected for a competitive process (The Water Institute of the Gulf and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies) for potential carbon sequestration research initiatives, so we generally would not provide financial support for environmental advocacy programs as we are currently focused on environmental research initiatives.
  15. There are many reasons a submitted LOI may not result in an invitation to apply over the five-year period following submission.  As non-exclusive examples of reasons an LOI may not ultimately result in the receipt of an invitation to tender a formal application we may (a) feel you are primarily in the arts & culture or religion space or field and not primarily focused on core human suffering or STEM initiatives that we may currently be focused on, (b) already have a partner in your space that you may be providing overlapping services with, (c) already be supporting your upstream or downstream partners, (d) feel there are more cost appropriate or specialized programs in your space, (e) feel that your marketing department and fundraising activities possibly dilute your impact, (f) be prioritizing other areas of need or keeping our powder dry for an emergency (such as a hurricane), (g) feel you may be challenging or expensive to monitor or your impact may be challenging or expensive for us to measure, (h) already support another chapter/division of your organization or a different organization that is similar to your organization, (i) feel the service you are proposing to provide will have already been provided by the time we would complete our due diligence and complete a review of an eventual formal application, (j) be focused on other programming areas such as fundamental science and basic research which is our current primary focus for new projects, (k) feel that you violated our protocols and/or made a direct solicitation to or otherwise attempted to contact our staff outside of the LOI submission, or (l) feel you are heavily funded by governmental grants as we do not seek to subsidize or replace government funding outside of medical and environmental research programs or our internally developed programs such as our Leaders in Law initiative.
  16. We initially look at organizations primarily based upon their main activities.  We generally do not stretch to try and make an organization fit within a program we are running.  For example, if you are a museum of high art that happens to run a food pantry, we would consider you an “arts and culture focused organization” rather than primarily an “assisting the food-insecure organization” and if you asked for support through our 2024 Shelter & Food Security Program for your food pantry you would be at a disadvantage if we were also considering or anticipating a request from a dedicated food bank or food pantry that does not operate a museum of high art.
  17. Our big initiative in 2019 was fundamental research in oncology, our big initiative in 2020 and 2021 was fundamental research in the related field of healthy aging, our big initiative in 2022 was focused on neuroscience (with a specific focus in memory), and in 2023 we focused on both agricultural research and consciousness studies.  We will have another primary basic science focus in 2024 and have already determined the research institutions we will be working with in 2024.  If you are an individual principal investigator for a respected world class science based organization and you want us to know about your medical, agricultural research, or some other scientific research for 2025 or some later year, you could request your university or parent research institution to send us information about the university or research institution. We are not considering inquiries for support from individual researchers even if they fit within our past programs or current program, the LOI should come from the administration office of your institution and feature multiple laboratories within the institution (and not a single project).  Further, we are not looking to provide medical clinical support in 2024 or 2025, so the development officer should stay focused on the basic research aspects of the institution and not ask us to support clinical programming.
  18. Submitting an LOI that results in your organization being invited to formally apply for funding does not guarantee that you will receive support from the Foundation; getting invited to tender a formal grant application is merely authorizing you to tender a formal grant application or follow some other protocol we will set forth for you which will then be reviewed and considered. Applications are generally competitive and properly obtaining the password is merely the first step.
  19. Please be advised that we may conduct some due diligence into your organization that is beyond what you submitted to us with your LOI, and we may investigate anything you include in your LOI for accuracy.  We may contact groups your organization has interacted with and make an inquiry about your impact or methodologies. Should your organization or anyone affiliated with your organization have some negative history or be involved in a significant controversy, it is better for you to affirmatively disclose the negative history or significant controversy and address it in your LOI rather than have us find it on our own (this is true even if the negative history or significant controversy is at the national level and not your local chapter). If your organization or someone involved in the management or leadership of your organization is involved in litigation or some sort of significant controversy you must disclose and detail the litigation or significant controversy in the LOI (we sometimes make exceptions to this for K-12 schools, universities, and research laboratories).  We are unlikely to approve or potentially even consider an LOI from an organization involved in litigation with another non-profit or that appears litigious or unfriendly absent exceptional circumstances that you should affirmatively document in the LOI.
  20. If your organization has recently lost or had a reduction in governmental funding or other support (at either the federal, state, or local level), please voluntarily disclose such event in your LOI and explain the reason for the loss or reduction of support.  If you are merely a local chapter of a larger national organization, you need to be clear with that affirmative disclosure even if you have an address in Louisiana or a Louisiana area and/or zip code.
  21. If you feel the need to supplement your LOI with additional information, please remember the same general procedures should be followed for the supplement.  Please do not supplement your LOI through email, any supplement through email will not be considered, you should send same to us only through certified mail.
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