Letter of Inquiry

Preparing and Submitting a Letter of Inquiry

Lumina Foundation welcomes LOIs year-round from eligible organizations seeking funds for work that fits within Lumina’s mission and guidelines. Generally, we review unsolicited inquiries through the end of September. Inquiries submitted after September may be held for consideration the following year.

Organizations may submit more than one inquiry at any one time.

An LOI should describe the proposed work in three to five pages, using the following questions for guidance:

  • What are the intended outcomes, and how will the work achieve them? How does the work accelerate progress on Lumina’s overarching goal (by 2025, 60 percent of the population in the United States will hold a high-quality, post-high school degree or credential)?
  • Why is this work important to pursue at this time?
  • What special qualifications does the organization bring to this effort?
  • What other organizations are involved, if any? How will they contribute to the work?
  • How does the proposed work relate to the applicant organization’s mission?
  • What is the geographic scope of the proposed work?
  • What is the total cost of the effort? What amount do you seek from Lumina Foundation and for what period of time? What resources will other funders or organizations provide?

The foundation considers only those inquiries that:

  • Include a completed LOI Cover Sheet .DOC | 200k, not to exceed one page.
  • Are submitted on the letterhead of the sponsoring organization or institution.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit LOIs electronically. Please send the LOI [on letterhead] and completed cover sheet as attachments to newinquiry@luminafoundation.org. Please do not send any additional materials (binders, media, etc.) Applicants are welcome to submit inquiries by mail at the address below but are asked not to submit a letter both electronically and by mail.

If you cannot submit electronically, please send grant inquiries via mail to:

Grants Management—”New Inquiry”
Lumina Foundation
P.O. Box 1806
Indianapolis, IN 46206-1806

The Review Process

An internal review panel carefully reviews every LOI that meets the criteria outlined above. Following the initial review, we will inform applicants within two months of receipt whether the inquiry fits our current priorities and resources. Due to limited resources, we cannot request proposals from all inquiries that meet our criteria. If we decide to request a full proposal, a strategy officer will contact the applicant to request additional information and to provide instructions on applying for a grant. An invitation to submit a proposal does not guarantee funding.

An internal review panel also carefully considers all solicited proposals; occasionally, we invite external experts to review proposals as well. We are diligent in our efforts to respond promptly to proposals. Assuming potential grantees’ timely responses to requests for information, the entire review and approval process typically takes approximately six months.