Identifying Bold Solutions and Achieving Catalytic Change
Our Funding Approach
The Eleanor Crook Foundation reviews proposals by invitation-only. If you are interested in a funding partnership with the Foundation, the first step is to review our website to learn more about our organizational priorities and funding parameters.
If there is clear alignment between our objectives and your work, we encourage you to reach out so we can learn more about each other. With any investment, our goal is to go beyond the specific project objectives. We work to foster deep and collaborative partnerships with our grantees. We want to get to know you!
If sufficient overlap is identified, the Eleanor Crook Foundation team will help you navigate a potential funding partnership. We typically request short concept notes with detailed budgets and clear objectives that describe specific alignment with ECF’s priorities. Projects over $400,000 are evaluated twice a year, during biannual Decision Days (one in the fall and one in the spring). Projects below this funding threshold are evaluated on a rolling basis throughout the calendar year.
ECF considers itself an active investor. We are hands-on throughout proposal development and execution of every grant we make. You can expect us to ask a lot of questions, work to understand your theory of change, brainstorm approaches and solutions, connect you with like-minded partners, and sustain genuine interest in your progress and challenges. We expect transparency and honest collaboration with our partners, and you can expect the same in return.
Do you have an idea within our areas of focus that has the potential to transform global nutrition? We want to learn more!
Frequently Asked Questions
The Eleanor Crook Foundation team spent over two years developing ECF’s 2020-2025 Strategy, the first of its kind for our Foundation. This process included a significant landscape analysis of the sector and the funding needs within it, an assessment of our comparative advantage as a Foundation; and a thoughtful exploration of what investment areas are most poised to drive the progress and change we want to achieve. We know that disciplined adherence to our strategy is critical to maximize the impact of our investment portfolio and leverage the expertise of our team. However, while it is unlikely we will fund great ideas outside of our strategic priorities, we would still like to hear about them. Powerful collaborations don’t always require funding and we’d still love to get to know you.
It depends! Because we fund a diverse range of research, policy analysis, and advocacy, the relative size of our investments is highly dependent on the approach and objectives. We want to provide grantees with the resources they will do their job well. We focus on objectives and intended impact, first, and then work with grantees to determine the appropriate budget. We regularly make grants as small as $10,000 and as large as $2 million or more.
On average, it takes 2-4 months to complete the proposal process. However, some grants move more quickly – particularly where there is a well-established relationship in place with a partner. Other grants will take longer to finalize, especially large, multi-year grants or if the partner or proposed approach is new for ECF. We will work with you to set clear expectations and an appropriate application process timeline.
Please reach out to the appropriate ECF team member to discuss next steps. Our biannual Decision Days allow us to evaluate larger grants at the same time and facilitates our ability to make strategic decisions about major investments. It’s important to us to maintain the integrity of this process. That said, we don’t want rigid process to stand in the way of action and progress. If you have a time-sensitive opportunity, we’ll work with you to evaluate it and move forward, regardless of the date on the calendar.
Our team is involved at every step of the process! We pride ourselves on knowing and understanding the details of our grants and focus areas. You can expect a few iterations on your grant proposal, to ensure we’re aligned on the intent and objectives of every investment. In addition, plan for regular check-ins with the ECF team where we’ll monitor progress across core deliverables, ask questions about what you’re doing, learning, and struggling with, and undertake joint efforts to troubleshoot or course-correct when needed. This “hands on” approach increases our ability to be flexible and provide partners with maximum support. We love learning from you – and we think we have something we can offer, too. Ultimately, we think this level of collaboration and engagement makes for better outcomes – and we hope you’ll agree.
As a private foundation, the Eleanor Crook Foundation does not provide support for lobbying activities. All of our advocacy efforts are strictly educational in nature.
ECF is focused on research to improve nutrition interventions and test their cost-effectiveness and scalability – in large part because there is a significant gap in funding for this type of research. We also know that learning more about how to deliver interventions at scale will be critical to making progress in the fight against global malnutrition. As a result, we don’t fund phase 1 innovation and we don’t fund service delivery without a research component.
We’re so excited to hear that! While we do not provide scholarship support for individual educational efforts, we can’t wait to see the amazing things you do throughout your career. The sector needs you!
No. ECF is exclusively focused on fighting malnutrition in low and middle-income countries.
We’re flattered! And, please reach out – we love to engage with diverse audiences to discuss the global crisis of malnutrition and what we can do, together, to solve it.
The Eleanor Crook Foundation is a growing philanthropy endowed in perpetuity. In 2017, we made a commitment to invest $100 million in global nutrition over the next decade – and we are well on pace to meet that commitment. Our team manages investments made through the ECF endowment in addition to Eleanor’s personal charitable giving.
Eleanor and ECF’s other board members all remain active in the governance, strategy, and operations of the Eleanor Crook Foundation. The board is made up of three generations of Crook family members, all of whom are deeply committed to ECF’s mission. They receive regular, detailed updates about all of the foundation’s activities and investments and love learning about the work of our partners. They provide valuable guidance and support across every aspect of the Foundation’s efforts.
We always know when we’re talking to someone from Texas because of their enthusiasm for Eleanor’s family’s business, H-E-B. While we love to hear about your favorite H-E-B products, the Eleanor Crook Foundation has no direct connection to the grocery company.
Image 1 – © WFP/Awadh
Image 2 – © UNICEF/Dejongh
Image 3 – © UNICEF/Oo
Image 4 – © UNICEF
Image 5 – © UNICEF/LeMoyne