The Hearst Foundations receive more than 1,000 grant requests annually. Of those, about 300 grant requests will receive funding.
Guided by the Foundations’ executive director and eastern director, the evaluation process is accomplished through multiple stages. The members of the program staff assess each grant request independently and then discuss the proposals in staff meetings to achieve consensus on progression. The initial evaluation process includes extensive proposal review, financial analysis and team discussions, and generally spans four to six weeks.
For those organizations being considered for board approval, a site visit (either virtual or in-person) will be conducted and, where relevant, experts in the given field will be consulted. The Foundations consider the site visit to be an integral step in the due diligence process. All requests brought to the consideration of the board’s Gift Committee and, ultimately, the board of directors reflect both a thorough program staff review and a site visit by a program officer. The board meets to approve grants in March, June, September and December. The average time from proposal submission to grant award is six months.
Following a grant award, organizations will be asked to report on their progress and results until funds are expended via the Hearst Foundations’ Online Reporting portal. Organizations receiving grants must wait a minimum of three years from their grant award date before the Foundations will consider another request. If a grant request is unsuccessful, an organization must wait a minimum of one year from the date of declination before reapplying.
For recipients of endowment support, reporting is required annually in perpetuity. Maintaining a consistent record of stewardship is of great importance to the Hearst Foundations’ program officers and board of directors.