Through the General Grant Program, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation funds research that helps to ensure people in the United States have the knowledge, skills and tools to make sound financial decisions throughout life.
The Foundation reviews applications requesting approximately $50,000–$100,000.
Eligibility is limited to IRS-designated 501(c)(3) organizations and to state and other public colleges and universities.
The Foundation will not award grants to:
- Organizations affiliated with a current director, officer or staff member of the FINRA Foundation
- Organizations affiliated with any person involved in the review or approval of grants or the organization that employs such a person
- Organizations affiliated with a current member of the FINRA Board of Governors
- Securities firms regulated by FINRA
- Organizations affiliated with a securities firm or individual regulated by FINRA, such as a foundation established by a securities firm
- Securities regulators, self-regulatory organizations or securities industry trade associations
- Organizations that are “disqualified persons” pursuant to Article III, Section 3(d) of FINRA By-Laws
- Organizations that discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status
The Foundation will generally not consider proposals to fund:
- International programs or projects
- Projects that are local in nature and scope
- Expenses that are not directly related to the project for which funding is sought
- Salaries of permanent staff; for example, prorated salaries of administrative and executive personnel, or oversight and coordination activities of a project principal (modest amounts for release time of university professors are acceptable)
- Capital costs (such as building and construction) or equipment (such as computer hardware and office furniture)
- Pass-through funding; for example, if the 501(c)(3) organization plans to turn over the funding to a proprietary organization or consultant
- Projects with a potential conflict of interest
- Conferences and similar activities that fail to provide a long-term solution or sufficiently broad outreach
- Distribution methodologies that require ongoing maintenance when the ability to perform upkeep without continued funding is questionable (for example, materials with a short “shelf life” that would require ongoing funding for frequent updating)
- Projects with proprietary elements (such as for-profit activities), use or purchase of copyrighted or trademarked materials, and proprietary research
- Lobbying, political contributions, fund-raising events or similar activities designed to influence legislation or intervene in political campaigns
- Donations, endowments, challenge grants, matching funds and similar programs
- Direct or matching payments to members of the public, such as scholarships, assistance with personal and family financial difficulties, registration fees for conferences and training, or similar activities
The first step in applying for a FINRA Foundation grant is the submission of the Project Concept Form. Certain applicants may be invited to submit a full grant proposal. Applicants invited to prepare a full proposal will receive submission instructions.
The FINRA Foundation accepts Project Concept Forms at any time. The Foundation will respond to your Project Concept Form within one month of receipt and either decline the request or invite a full proposal. The entire decision-making process—from the submission of a Project Concept Form to a notification of funding—takes several months.
Most grants approved by the FINRA Foundation are under $100,000. Indirect costs or overhead must not exceed 10% of direct costs.
Most grants are completed within 24 months.
Distribution of Grant Funds
Award of funding is contingent upon successful negotiation of a grant agreement within a reasonable time. If a grantee and the Foundation cannot successfully negotiate a grant agreement within a reasonable time as determined by the Foundation, the funding will not be released. After a grant agreement is executed, funds will be awarded in installments contingent upon performance and actual expenses, not to exceed the grant amount.
Grants applications are subject to evaluation by the FINRA Foundation’s Board of Directors. A request to submit a grant proposal does not guarantee that a grant will be awarded.