The FAQs on this page offer insight into the grant application process and into what grants for nonprofits the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation will consider. Additional FAQs address questions about the Dell Scholars Program. For additional information about the Dell Scholars Program, you may also visit www.dellscholars.org.

Grants

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

We seek to fund projects that directly serve or impact children living in urban poverty, particularly in the areas of education, childhood health and family economic stability (including microfinance.) To understand more about the type of grants we provide, please visit the programs page of this web site.

What type of projects does the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation not typically fund?

In general, the foundation does not support programs or organizations that fall outside of our key focus areas. While there are many groups in need around the world, we believe we’ll have the most impact if we focus on a few core areas. The Dell family foundation has defined its focus areas in a way that we believe allows us to help meet the most basic needs of children so they can achieve their full potential. To understand more about the type of grants we provide, please visit the programs page of this web site.

Generally, the foundation does not provide grants to support:

  • Individuals
  • Medical research projects
  • Event fundraisers or sponsorships
  • Lobbying of any kind
  • Endowments

My group needs computers. Will the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation donate computers or technology equipment?

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is not affiliated with Dell Inc., and does not supply computers or related technology equipment. To understand more about the type of grants we provide, please visit the programs page of this web site.

What amount should I ask for?

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has approved grants ranging from $500 to several million dollars. As a guideline, the foundation generally will not fund more than 25 percent of a project’s budget or more than 10 percent of an organization’s total annual operating expenses.

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. It should include data or numeric evidence documenting the scope of the problem affecting your target population, and should describe the geographic area you work in.

Example (numbers cited below are for illustrative purposes only):
In the XYZ school district, 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?

Outcomes are, by definition, the result of something. Rather than randomly awarding grants to all organizations good causes, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is committed to focusing on programs and organizations that can document a measurable impact on children's outcomes. Programs supported by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation must be able to show their progress—through measurable data relevant to their problem statement—toward helping children achieve their full potential.

What is baseline data or evidence?

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

A strong application will help us understand your plan to get from point A to point B based on the baseline data and the desired outcome, and help you're asking the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to provide.

Are Michael and Susan Dell personally involved in the decision-making process?

Michael and Susan are involved in the direction and vision of the foundation. However, the Dell family foundation employs an experienced and talented management team to provide recommendations and management of the grant making process. The team also provides executive direction, program management and oversight of other key areas.

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

The exact amount of the foundation’s contributions each year depends on the quality and impact of programs available. As our foundation gains momentum, we plan to launch national and international initiatives that will help us realize our vision of removing barriers to success for children around the world. Please refer to the financials or the master grant list on this web site for further information.

How do I apply for a grant?

To apply for a grant, go to www.msdf.org and then to the grants page. There you will find detailed instructions for submitting a grant request.

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

After you submit your grant request online, you will receive an email confirming that the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has received your request. After our staff has had time to review your request in detail, you will receive a specific response from the foundation via email.