We do not accept unsolicited requests for funding. As a small foundation, we feel we cannot adequately evaluate proposals from organizations which are not directly familiar to us. Our experience has been that our most successful grants have been to groups with which one or more Trustees are closely acquainted.

General Fund

The General Fund supports organizations that help provide a bridge to a life of greater opportunity to low-income, at-risk, underserved youth and children. We believe that these children deserve assistance that is holistic and long lasting. This assistance should addresses significant factors that impede success in education and in life.

We believe that the earlier help can be provided to children, the better. Research has shown that birth until the age of five is a key stage in brain development and that early intervention can have profound effects upon later success. Therefore the Edwards Foundation is making Early Childhood Care and Education a priority in our grantmaking.

The T(w)een Years is another important stage as children develop into young adults. Inundated with new influences, growing independence and responsibilities, and changing bodies, these youngsters need solid support to help ground and guide their evolving identities.

We believe that children and youth are best served by quality programs that can help them develop important New Skills including:

  • Life,
  • Academic
  • Leadership
  • Vocational

And Changes in Behaviors and Attitudes including increases in:

  • motivation,
  • self-confidence
  • social involvement
  • self-image
  • improved outlook and
  • broadened horizons

To this end, we make grants to non-profit organizations for general, program or scholarship support of their work with low‐income, at‐risk, underserved youth and children. We may provide limited support for quality improvement, capacity building and advocacy for these organizations either directly or through intermediaries.

We have a special interest in supporting Native American children, youth and their families especially those in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and the Dakotas. We believe that an integral part in creating a vibrant, dynamic, culturally rich Native community is the involvement of the children and youth. Based on past experience, we have found that the most successful programs in Indian Country are grassroots organizations that build upon the inherent strengths of the community.

We place great importance upon site visits and developing relationships with the organizations with which we partner. Because of this emphasis, we have a restricted geographical area in which we award grants. With some exceptions, this area generally includes Montana, Wyoming, Vermont, and New York.

We will not generally award grants over 20% of an organization’s operating revenue excluding in-kind contributions. Grants made to organizations new to us will be smaller and may include more reporting until a better relationship is established.

W.E. Edwards Testamentary Fund

Income to the W. E. Edwards Fund is distributed annually to a number of organizations specified under the will of the donor.

Discretionary Funds

The Environmental Fund, Sky and Earth and Sound Justice Fund are un-endowed, pass-through funds. Grants from these funds are suggested by the trustees of the fund.

Investing

We make some of our assets available for investments in which the primary payback is social, not financial, including:

  • Social investment funds
  • Low interest Program Related Investment (PRI) loans for our grantee organizations.