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Frequently Asked Questions

When was the foundation founded and who was W. Alton Jones?

W. Alton Jones established the foundation in 1944 "for the betterment of mankind." "Pete" Jones was a visionary business leader who helped build Cities Service Company into a major oil and gas company. He died in 1962. The foundation has had no association with the company since 1982.

How do I apply for a grant?

  • Review the funding guidelines. Determine whether your project is eligible for foundation support by reviewing the foundationís funding guidelines.
  • Send a letter of inquiry. If your work falls directly within one of the program areas outlined in the funding guidelines and relates to specific initiatives therein, please send a brief letter of inquiry (one or two pages) describing your proposed project, its relevance to the goals of the foundation and the level of funding required. Letters of inquiry may be sent by e-mail (preferred), fax or regular postal mail.
  • You will receive notification that we received your letter of inquiry within about one month.
  • After reviewing your inquiry, which can take several months, foundation staff will notify you as to whether a full proposal should be prepared.

Who may apply for a grant?

The foundation accepts applications only from not-for-profit organizations. Applications from individuals or for-profit companies are not considered.

To whom should I address my letter of inquiry?

You should address your letter of inquiry according to the focus of your project. Please indicate in the subject line of your e-mail or fax on the envelope that you are sending an inquiry to a given program, for example: "Subject: Inquiry, Secure World Program." If you know the initiative title, please also include this in the subject, for example: "Subject: Inquiry, Sustainable World Program-Grassroots Biodiversity." We prefer to receive inquiries by e-mail, this saves time, money and trees.

Secure World Program:
Dr. George Perkovich

Sustainable World Program (including grassroots):
Mr. Charles O. Moore

Fax: (804) 295-1648

W. Alton Jones Foundation
Letter of Inquiry
232 East High Street
Charlottesville VA 22902-5718
Attn: Appropriate program and initiative

Are there deadlines?

The Foundation does not have specific inquiry or proposal deadlines. Letters of inquiry initiate a process that leads, if successful, to a review and vote by the full Board of Trustees. This process can take several months. We encourage potential grantees to submit letters at least four months prior to a board meeting if a decision by a specific meeting is essential.

How often does the Board make funding decisions?

The Board meets four times a year, usually in February, May, July and November. One of those meetings, usually July, is a planning meeting during which very few proposals are considered.

If a proposal is rejected, may I apply again?

If a proposal is rejected by the Board, the organization must wait one calender year before initiating a new request for funding.

Does the foundation support capital expenses, endowments or individual scholarships?


Are discretionary funds available for quick action?


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