Society of American Archivists Foundation Grant Application Process and Guidelines

2024 Grant Application Deadlines

November 15, 2023 – Letter of Inquiry 
January 31, 2024 – Grant Review Committee Feedback
March 1, 2024 – Grant Applications Due
May 2024 – Final Decisions Made by Board

Funding Priorities

The SAA Foundation Board awards grants that meet the mission and goals of the Foundation and/or the strategic planning priorities of the Society of American Archivists. Applicants must make direct and substantive reference to the way(s) in which an award of funds will advance one or more of the strategic goals of the SAA Foundation and/or the Society of American Archivists. To set reasonable expectations for applicants, the Board endeavors to publicize special concerns within the SAA Foundation funding priorities and invite applications in those areas.

The SAA Foundation does not fund the following:

  • Indirect or overhead costs;
  • General internships and fellowships that are not related to a specific Foundation-funded project;
  • Travel, registration, or other costs associated with attending a professional conference;
  • Scholarships or tuition; 
  • Costs associated with attending trainings; or
  • Projects that benefit one institution, rather than also the profession at large.

Funds Available

The Board encourages grant requests in amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000, although the SAA Foundation will consider larger funding requests that could have an unusual impact on the profession. The SAA Foundation does not pay for indirect costs.


Individuals, groups, and organizations are eligible to apply for an SAA Foundation grant. Among the categories of applicants who are encouraged to apply are practicing archivists, SAA component groups, other organizations of archivists, and allied professionals.

Grant Timing 

The SAA Foundation follows a July 1 to June 30 fiscal year cycle. To be fairly considered by the Board, initial Letters of Inquiry should be received no later than Novemebr 15. All formal Grant Applications must be submitted by February 1. The Board reserves the right to consider a proposal at any time for unusual or special circumstances, and for similar reasons may streamline the grant request process to address an urgent need.

Applying for an SAA Foundation Grant

The Board will endeavor to follow a transparent, fair, and simple process of application and evaluation. No current SAA Foundation  Board member may be the direct or indirect recipient of Foundation grant funds. No Board member will participate in consideration of a grant application in which the member has, or could be perceived to have, a personal interest, benefit, or relationship that could create a conflict of interest.

Letter of Inquiry

The initial letter of inquiry should be a brief introductory exchange. It is designed to reduce the work for an applicant by providing a quick answer to the question: Is my proposal something that fits the funding priorities of the SAA Foundation?

The applicant should begin with a brief, introductory statement of interest (maximum 750 words) to explore the appropriateness of a proposal to the Foundation. The letter should provide summary information on the overall purpose and goals of the proposed work as follows:

  • Describe the mission and structure of the organization that would receive SAAF grant funds and its capacity to implement and sustain the grant project as proposed.
  • List the name of the project lead, their qualifications, and the qualifications of other project participants or collaborative partners.
  • Provide a brief abstract of the project's goals, including key activities, anticipated product(s) and/or outcome(s), the intended impact, and plans for disseminating the results of the grant project. (Max 500 words.)
  • Precisely indicate how the proposal connects to SAA Foundation's priorities and SAA's strategic plan and how the project would advance the archival profession overall. *( SAA Foundation Strategic Plan) (Max 300 words.)
  • Estimated of the total project costs and the nature of any additional funding from other sources.
  • Provide the funding amount requested from the SAA Foundation and how the funds will be utilized in support of project activities. (training, stipends, rentals, etc.)

Letters of inquiry are due no later than November 15. Letters must be submitted via the above form. Each inquiry will be reviewed by the SAA Foundation Grant Review Committee within three weeks of the deadline to determine its appropriateness within the guidelines and funding priorities for that grant period. If appropriate, the proposer will be invited to submit a formal grant application. 

See the following examples of previous letters of inquiry and grant applications that were funded by the SAA Foundation: 


Grant Application

The application is a refinement of the initial letter of inquiry. It includes a narrative proposal and budget statement that should not exceed three pages in total length. The proposer is asked to elaborate on the five points of information from the initial letter of inquiry as follows:

  • Title of project.
  • Ways in which the project advances the Foundation's mission and vision or the archives profession with reference to SAA's strategic plan or other professional call to action.
  • The goals, methods, work plan, and expected products/outcomes of the project.
  • Benchmarks and assessment criteria that will provide a measure of the impact and performance of the activity.
  • A timetable and expected delivery date for a final report to the Foundation on outcomes. (required).
  • A complete budget, including entire project costs (in-kind and additional sources of funding) and what SAA Foundation funds will support.
  • The roles performed by the principals (with credentials and résumés), and/or a description of the sponsoring body. 
  • A copy of the determination letter regarding 501(c)(3) status, if applicable.
  • An endorsement from an officer of the sponsoring organization (if the applicant is not an independent agent).
  • A copy of the Institutional Review Board statement of approval for any research sponsored by institutions that require approval when utilizing human subjects.

Budget. The total requested funds should be stated under separate heading in the proposal. A project budget should indicate the specific allocation of requested funds by program activity or resource. In-kind contributions and other income sources are encouraged and should be identified. Applicants are expected to produce a standard statement of income and expense and brief narrative description of account lines to be funded by the proposed SAA Foundation grant.

Due Diligence Attachments. The SAA Foundation Board may optionally require one or more of the following additional documents to evaluate an organization’s ability to carry out the activities described in the proposal.

  • Financial reports or audited statements.
  • List of trustees or directors.
  • Annual report and/or Form 990 or 990EZ.
  • Diversity data report.


All grant applications will be received and processed by the SAA Foundation’s Executive Director. The Executive Director will conduct an initial administrative review of the proposal to determine if it:

  • Meets baseline requirements for funding according to the Board’s criteria and guidelines, and
  • Conforms to the mission, resources, and granting priorities of the SAA Foundation.

The Executive Director will forward the requests that meet those two criteria  to the Grant Review Committee. The Executive Director, in consultation with members of the Grant Review Committee, will advise the applicant if additional information or due diligence documents are needed. The Grant Review Committee will evaluate  the grant applications and make funding recommendations to the Foundation Board. All grant awards will be decided by majority vote of the Board of Directors. The Foundation President will notify applicants of the Board’s decision by May 15. 

Post-Project Report

A final report must be filed with the SAAF by a date agreed upon in the award letter.


Applications for grants will be considered and decided by the SAA Foundation Board of Directors. The program will be administered under the direction of the Board and its appointed Grant Review Committee and the SAA Executive Director. The application and grant process will follow standard guidelines established by the SAAF Board.

For more information, please see SAA Foundation Grant Funding Policy

Originally adopted by the SAA Foundation Board of Directors, March 14, 2015. Revision adopted on August 2016, November 2016, November 2018, August 2021.