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Funding FAQ

What types of projects does the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation typically fund?

We fund projects that directly serve or impact children living in urban poverty in the areas of education, health, and family economic stability (including urban microfinance ).

What types of projects do not typically receive funding from the foundation?

The foundation supports programs and organizations that fall within our key focus areas and align with our mission. Prioritizing those areas enables us to create opportunities for children and families to achieve their full potential.

The foundation does not provide grants to support:
• Individuals
• Medical research projects
• Event fundraisers or sponsorships
• Lobbying of any kind
• Endowments
• Infrastructure
• Requests for computers, laptops, tablets, or other hardware

My group needs computers. Will the foundation donate computers or technology equipment?

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is not affiliated with Dell Technologies and does not supply computers or related technology equipment.

How much money does the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation plan on contributing this year?

The exact amount of the foundation’s contributions changes from year to year, depending on available programs.

How do I apply for a grant or investment?

See detailed instructions on the application page.

Is the process different among the United States, India, and South Africa?

There is one application for all geographies.

What is a problem statement?

A problem statement defines the unmet needs your organization is trying to address. It is a required part of the grant application. Your problem statement should:
• Identify who you are trying to help and why.
• Include data or numeric evidence documenting the scope of the problem affecting your target population.
• Describe the geographic area where you work.

For example (numbers cited below are for illustrative purposes only):

In the XYZ school district in [country], 40 percent of fourth graders are reading one or more grade levels below proficiency as measured by the state standard reading test. The average percentage of students reading at grade level statewide is 82 percent, and the average for districts that are demographically similar to XYZ is 58 percent.

What do you mean by outcomes?

The foundation funds programs and organizations that can document a measurable impact on a program’s impact on children and families. Our application process asks that you show progress — through measurable data relevant to your problem statement — toward helping children achieve their full potential.

What is baseline data or evidence?

Baseline data and evidence are the data or numeric evidence documenting the problem in your geographic area and target population. To demonstrate the outcomes or measurable progress of a program, you must be able to document your starting point. The baseline data is point A. The desired outcome is point B.

A strong application helps us understand your plan to get from point A to point B based on the baseline data and the desired outcome, and how the foundation’s support can help.

What amount should I ask for?

As a guideline, the foundation does not fund more than 25 percent of a project’s budget or more than 10 percent of an organization’s total annual operating expenses.

How will I know if my grant request has been received?

After you submit your grant request online, you will be directed to a confirmation web page with details on the timeline for review. After our team reviews your request in detail, we will email you about the status of your submission.