McDowell Foundation Now Accepting Grant Applications

The Barbara McDowell and Gerald S. Hartman Foundation (“McDowell Foundation”) seeks applicants for its 2020 social justice litigation grant awards. The Foundation expects to allocate at least $150,000 for its 2020 grants.

The McDowell Foundation aims to improve the economic well-being, social conditions, and civil liberties of disadvantaged persons and groups in the United States. We fulfill our mission by making annual grants to organizations that undertake systemic, social justice litigation focusing on a variety of causes, including access to benefits, children’s rights, civil rights, constitutional and voting rights, disability rights, domestic violence, low income housing, refugee and immigrant rights, and more. A listing of our past grants can be found at

The Foundation awards grants for systemic type cases that will have an impact on an area of the law or a legal issue through the establishment of a legal precedent. The Foundation does not support cases where the relief sought is for an individual. Also, the Foundation does not support criminal cases where an individual is charged with a crime. Finally, the Foundation will not award a grant where an organization is seeking general support for its mission. The grant application must be for a specific legal case.

Consideration of grants will be rated and based upon (1) Alignment with the Foundation's Mission, (2) Quality of the Proposed Project, (3) Capacity of the Organization to Carry Out the Proposed Project, (4) Urgency of the Proposed Project, and (5) Financial Health and Stability of the Applicant Organization.

Using the above-stated criteria the Foundation has established a rating system to evaluate grant applications. The rating criteria were developed by the Foundation's Board in conjunction with an industrial psychologist. The rating criteria can be found at

Applications, which can be found on our website at, must be submitted by August 1st for grants to be awarded for the following fiscal year of the Foundation which is October 1st to September 30th. The exact amount of the grants will depend upon several factors, including the amount of the Foundation's capital at the end of the current grant cycle and the importance of the proposed pieces of litigation.

For questions or further information, please contact Aaron Stiner, Executive Administrator, 602-349-7603, or visit us at