The Thomas W. Briggs Foundation supports organizations whose mission closely aligns with one of the following Briggs focus areas:

Arts – Efforts that offer enriching cultural experiences throughout the city and position Memphis as a community of broad, uplifting artistic amenities

Civic – Efforts that build on the uniqueness of Memphis, enhance the quality of life and provide opportunities for all people to interact

Education – Efforts in local primary and secondary schools that improve the quality of teaching and assist students, especially the disadvantaged, in succeeding in the classroom and in the job market; and efforts of local higher education institutions that encourage and ensure excellence

Social Services – Efforts that address local issues and concerns that improve the quality of life for individuals in need and empower them to become contributing members of our community

Youth – Efforts that prepare our young people for academic success and responsible citizenship.

The effort for which funding is requested must be consistent with the applicant organization’s overall mission.

Equity and Pandemic Statement

The Briggs Foundation supports organizations that have a broad transformative effect on Memphis, help all individuals feel welcomed, impact socioeconomic advancement and elevate educational achievement.  For the 2-1-22 round of funding, the foundation seeks to support efforts that meet critical individual and organizational needs.  Requests should be for work needed now to help meet the needs of those served by addressing racial inequity and economic instability, to support operational adaptations required as a result of the pandemic or to stabilize the organization so that the organization can operate effectively over the next year and fulfill its mission.  Capital projects will not be funded at this time.

Briggs Funding Goals

In making grants the Thomas W Briggs Foundation:

  • Seeks to leverage its gifts and to participate in community efforts that have wide support and generate measurable differences;
  • May consider funding for seed money, capital support, multi-year gifts, entrepreneurial/innovative efforts and for annual operating activities that will help take an existing effort to scale;
  • Limits its funding to 501c3 nonprofits in Shelby County Tennessee;
  • Awards a total of about $750,000 a year in two funding cycles; this total includes new grants and existing payments on prior year pledges;
  • Reviews about 12 proposals a cycle.  In deciding which proposals can be reviewed, preference is given to organizations whose missions are the best fit with one of the five Briggs Focus Areas and to organizations that have successfully worked with Briggs in the past although new organizations can be considered.  Organizations requesting funding must have a profile on Where To Give at the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis.
  • Does not accept requests from any organization in two successive application cycles unless specifically deferred by Briggs to the next cycle.
  • Does not accept applications from organizations with an existing pledge;
  • Does not fund seminars, hospitals, events or any activities or projects intended for religious worship purposes; does not fund endowments or debt relief;
  • Requests that all communications during the grant process be with one employee of the organization;
  • Seldom funds elementary or secondary schools, though rare exceptions may be considered for extraordinary proposals from schools whose mission is to educate disadvantaged students in a unique way; any school considered must be a 501c3 entity.
  • Does not fund any organization indefinitely;

Briggs Funding Process

Funding Cycles.  Briggs has two funding cycles each year.  Proposals for funding and the 7 supplementary documents should be submitted electronically by August 1 or February 1.  The process for each cycle is:

  1. Discussions with Briggs before funding cycle deadlines
    • Although full applications are due on February 1 and August 1, potential grantees’ discussions with the foundation about their application must begin well before that date.  Therefore, interested applicants should contact the foundation by January 1 or July 1 to discuss the proposal.  Of those that could be a fit with the Briggs Foundation and make contact by those dates, 12-15 may be invited to submit a full application.
  2. Application Packet.   The documents requested in the full Application Packet are:
    • Proposal: Contact the foundation to receive a proposal form.  Use this exact form for your electronic submission (no more than 3 pages which includes the signature).
    • 8 Supplementary documents  Please observe the “one page” request when specified. Black and white only please.
      1. Your organization’s annual budget – on one page in 10-12 pt. font size.  Please submit with the main categories only on 1 page – not every single line item.
      2. Your one page project budget for this particular request with Revenue and Expenses.  If you are requesting funding for an effort with multiple aspects or activities, please submit the one-page request budget that depicts each activity as well as the whole as well as additional funding proposed for this project.
      3. Your organization’s Board of Directors – one-page with name, board position, any professional affiliation and the expertise they bring to your board.
      4. Data reporting the ethnicity and gender, by percentage of each of the following: board members, staff and staff top 5 wage earners.  Please list each category separately.
      5. Your organization’s staff responsible for this effort and their qualifications – one page.
      6. Your organization’s most recent audit.
      7. Your most recent interim financial statements – Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss – on one page each in 10-12 pt. font size.
      8. Your organization’s 501c3 letter from the IRS (not your sales tax exemption from the Tennessee Department of Revenue).
  3. Submission: The Application Packet must be submitted electronically to by the deadline date.
  4. Follow-up.  The Briggs proposal form is general and will not provide all information needed for thorough consideration.   Follow-up will be needed for additional information that is specific to your organization and proposal.  This takes place after all documents have been submitted.
  5. Review.  The Briggs Review Committee discusses each proposal before presentation to the Briggs Directors for a final decision;
  6. Directors Meeting and Decision.  Awards are announced after the Briggs Directors meet in mid-November to decide on the August 1 submissions and in mid-April to decide on the February 1 submissions.
  7. *Grant Letter and Child Protection Policy*.  A letter will be sent to each successful grantee stating the amount awarded and conditions of the grant. Your organization’s Executive Director must sign and return the letter acknowledging your organization’s understanding of the grant and its conditions and you must send a copy of your Child Protection Policy if your organization works with anyone under the age of 18.  This document should describe the policies and practices you have in place to train your staff to prevent and recognize child sexual abuse.   An example is the Stewards of Children training offered by the Memphis Child Advocacy Center  Please review this so that you understand the policy Briggs requests.

To obtain more information or arrange a site visit, contact:

Donna Nash, Executive Director
Thomas W Briggs Foundation
119 S. Main Street
Suite 500
Memphis, TN.  38103