Mission Statement

To support programs that help to change individual lives, by expanding opportunities for disadvantaged youth and vulnerable families to develop and make full use of their potential, so that they will be able to pursue their highest ambitions, earn decent livings, enjoy healthy relationships, and fully participate in their communities.

Categories – Kinds of programs we currently support:

  • Education, mentoring and work-experience programs for disadvantaged youth who need help preparing for college, getting into college and getting through college
  • Workforce development programs that help at-risk, homeless and foster youth to learn skills that will enable them to earn a decent living, and develop healthy, fulfilling lives
  • Family strengthening programs that help disadvantaged parents to overcome obstacles to forming families, to keep their families together, and to break the cycle of abuse

Limits – Kinds of programs we DO NOT fund at this time:

  • AGE – programs that target preschoolers or adults over 30
  • GEOGRAPHY – programs not located on the West Coast, or East Coast from Raleigh north
  • GROUP affiliation – programs that target particular immigrant, ethnic or religious groups
  • CLIENTS served – programs that target those with disabilities, injuries, addictions or illness
  • GOALS – programs that address only some needs, like learning centers or after-school programs

Attributes of programs that we favor

  • They are HOLISTIC, making a commitment to each individual to provide all the services that a client needs to become successful, as long as that client works hard to help himself
  • They set HIGH GOALS for their clients, relative to the degree of difficulties that clients have to overcome, and the level of potential that they have to improve their lives
  • They use MULTIPLE MEASURES to assess their clients’ situations, upon both entry and exit, in order to identify multiple needs and to demonstrate different aspects of improvement
  • They FOLLOW THROUGH and ensure the lasting impact of their programs, by tracking and assisting their clients’ for a year or more after they graduate from the main program

Application Process

If you feel that your program fits our criteria well, send us a short summary of your program (3 – 6 pages). The elements to be included in that summary are listed below. After reading that summary, we may ask you for a full proposal, at which time we will provide you with an outline of the information it should include. We evaluate programs year round, then compare the proposals that we like best in October, make decisions in the beginning of November, and send out grants in January. The earlier in the year that you send your proposal, the better the chances are that we will be able to come visit your program.

Outline for Short Summary (3 – 6 pages)

    1. Mission statement
    2. Date organization established; total budget for last year
    3. Date program established; total program budget; number of program staff
    4. Brief history of organization and evolution of program
    5. Profile of target group; how they are chosen; who are excluded
    6. Spectrum of services provided by the program
    1. Intake process and data on clients’ challenges and capacities
    2. Definition of success for clients, how it is measured
    3. Record of success for clients over the last few years, tracking of graduates
    1. Organizational chart showing all staff and their responsibilities
    2. Organization budget showing revenues and expenditures
    3. Program budget showing expenditures
    4. Contributions of volunteers and in-kind donors
    5. Collaboration efforts and formal partnerships
    1. Evaluation of your organization’s internal and external challenges
    2. Strategic plans for addressing those challenges
    3. Amount of funding requested and how it would be used

Please mail one copy to:

The Ceres Foundation
18606 Reliant Drive
Gaithersburg, MD 20879

E-mail: ceresmd@comcast.net