Citi Foundation

Grant Guidelines

The Citi Foundation reviews proposals by invitation only from organizations with demonstrated successes in its outlined focus areas. We have sharply focused our grant making to satisfy ongoing commitments in these areas throughout the world. Please note that we will not review any unsolicited letters of inquiry or proposals.

Overview

The Citi Foundation seeks to track the results of our investments so that we can assess our broader impact as a grant maker. This results-oriented approach is reflected in our 2014 Citi Foundation Grant Guidelines.

We focus our resources on partners working in the following focus areas:

Financial Capability and Asset Building
Microfinance and Community Development Finance
Enterprise Development
College Success (in the U.S.)
Youth Economic Opportunities (outside the U.S.)
Neighborhood Revitalization (in the U.S.)

In each of our core priorities, we strive to partner with organizations that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and incorporate sound environmental practices in their programs.

In each focus area, the Citi Foundation makes 3 types of investments: Direct Service, Capacity Building & Planning, and Systems Change.

Direct Service: What positive gains will accrue for individual participants, communities or organizations? Programs include those that work directly with individual participants to achieve a specific result.

Capacity Building & Planning: How will your own organizations be different and what will this enable you to do better? Programs include efforts that increase or improve existing capacity to achieve results for those served.

Systems Change: How will your work inform change on a macro-level, including influencing policy or changing practitioner practices? Programs include applied research #and public policy efforts that lead to positive change in our priority focus areas.



Please review the results we seek and examples of the investments we make in each of our focus areas below to determine if your program aligns with the Citi Foundation's guidelines:

Financial Capability and Asset Building

For many individuals, the ability to establish financial plans, maintain financial goals, and develop strategies for preserving their financial position during times of both economic prosperity and instability are critical factors in attaining economic success. The Citi Foundation supports programs that provide individuals with access to knowledge and incentives to establish financial behaviors that help them take control of their financial futures and ensure long-term economic security. Recognizing that individuals have different financial priorities at different stages of their lives, the Citi Foundation supports programs that are relevant to the specific concerns and financial situations of adults, families and youth, coincide with key life events or moments of decision, enable consumers to put newly gained knowledge into action and develop long-term relationships to provide support and accountability in order to achieve greater financial stability.

Results we seek for this focus area include: Increases in the number of low-income adults and/or youth who adopt positive financial behaviors and accumulate and preserve financial assets

We make the following types of investments in this focus area:

Investments in Direct Service
We support programs that help adults, youth and families gain financial knowledge and make positive changes to their financial behavior so that they can improve their financial situation and acquire and preserve assets over time. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - expansion or delivery of new or existing programs that provide personal financial education to youth that enables them to demonstrate their ability to set financial goals, manage, save and spend their money wisely; help adults access financial information, develop financial plans, select and appropriately manage financial products; and provide ongoing support that helps individuals redefine their financial goals over the course of their lives through financial counseling, ongoing coaching, financial management tools and workshops.

Investments in Capacity Building & Planning
Programs in this investment area strengthen the organizations we fund so that they can achieve and sustain stronger gains for those served. These programs focus on the needs of the organization and strengthen the ability of the organization to achieve its mission. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - the development of new financial capability approaches and tools; training and professional development that helps staff to deliver services more effectively or more broadly; and evaluation systems to assess client outcomes.

Investments in Systems Change
At times, we believe that the most pressing need is to make innovative improvements in larger systems that affect programs and people. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - convenings and research that provide policy makers and the financial capability and asset building fields with a deeper understanding of the role of financial education and coaching in changing financial behaviors and producing positive financial outcomes for participants; programs that set industry standards for the delivery of financial education and create better tools to assess its effectiveness in enhancing economic security for adults and youth. >> Back to top


MICROFINANCE AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FINANCE

For low-income households and communities, access to credit and low-cost financial services and products can be a critical first step towards achieving financial stability and building long-term financial assets. Accordingly, the Citi Foundation supports microfinance institutions (MFIs) and community development financial Institutions (CDFIs) that seek to increase the availability of credit and the supply of asset building financial products and services for the benefit of low-income individuals and communities. Recognizing the important role that these organizations play in the financial services ecosystem, we also invest in innovative efforts that enhance an institution's ability to achieve scale and financial sustainability.

Results we seek in this focus area include: Increases in financial products and capital that improve the financial inclusion of low-income individuals and communities

We make the following types of investments in this focus area:

Investments in Direct Service
We support institutions that develop financial products that respond to client needs to help individuals and families move up the economic ladder and preserve financial gains. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - direct delivery of financial products including credit, savings, and remittance products.

Investments in Systems Change
At times, we believe that the most pressing need is to make innovative and paradigm-shifting improvements in the larger systems that affect markets, institutions, and people. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - programs that create alignment between local policy makers and finance industry leaders to best support the microfinance industry, applied research that test, disseminate, and promote models for increasing scale, and supporting mobile technology innovations to increase access to financial products and services. >> Back to top


Enterprise Development

Micro and small enterprises are powerful and efficient drivers of economic growth and job creation globally. The Citi Foundation supports the growth of these enterprises by investing in their institutional capacity along with enhancing their access to capital. However, capital and institutional capacity are not enough to guarantee long-term success and scale. These enterprises must also focus on addressing such issues as environmental sustainability, changing business practice standards, and shifting regulatory environments if they are going to identify opportunities and succeed in a rapidly changing global economy. The Citi Foundation is particularly interested in activities that support green enterprise development that generates "triple bottom-line" economic, environmental and social benefits as this multiplies the impact of our investment.

Results we seek in this focus area include: Increases in the number of micro or small enterprises that provide new income generation and/or employment opportunities for low-income individuals

We make the following types of investments in this focus area:

Investments in Direct Service
We support programs that help individuals and families move up the economic ladder and preserve financial gains. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - expansion or delivery of new or existing programs that create jobs, distribute products or services of social benefit, provide enterprise development training, create access to capital, develop green businesses and supply chains.

Investments in Capacity Building & Planning
At times, we believe that making an investment to strengthen the organizations we fund so that they can achieve and sustain stronger results for those served is the best investment we can make. These programs focus on the needs of the organization and strengthen the ability of the organization to achieve its mission. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - development of new programming, training and professional development that helps staff to deliver services more effectively and programs focused on strategy, fundraising, strategic planning or impact evaluation.

Investments in Systems Change
At times, we believe that the most pressing need is to make innovative improvements in the larger systems that affect programs and people. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - supporting networks or intermediaries that attract new investment capital, research and convenings that support environmental sustainability to foster "triple bottom-line" enterprise growth. >> Back to top


College Success (in the U.S.)

A college degree is critical to upward mobility in the United States. It increases earning power and makes it possible for students from low-income families to break inter-generational cycles of poverty and contribute to the economy. However, fewer than 10% of students from the low-income families in the U.S. graduate from college by their mid-20s. Without effective interventions to improve the college attainment rates of low-income students, they will be left behind as the job market grows more competitive. The Citi Foundation is focused on increasing the number of low-income, academically qualified students who enroll in and complete postsecondary education by promoting a college-going identity and eliminating the financial barriers that keep students from reaching their educational goals.

Results we seek in this focus area include: Increases in the number of low-income, academically qualified students who enroll in and complete postsecondary education

We make the following types of investments in this focus area:

Investments in Direct Service
We support programs that help students and their families eliminate the financial barriers to college access and completion in order to move up the economic ladder and preserve gains. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - expansion or delivery of new or existing programs that facilitate early financial planning to fund college and build college aspirations; link academic preparation to career planning; or, provide financial coaching to help students adopt positive financial behaviors that enable them to persist to college completion and minimize debt.

Investments in Capacity Building & Planning
Programs in this investment area strengthen the organizations we fund so that they can achieve and sustain stronger results for those served. These programs focus on the needs of the organization and strengthen the ability of the organization to achieve its mission. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - development of new programming, training and professional development that help a nonprofit organization's staff to integrate a financial focus into existing programs and initiatives that help schools and nonprofit organizations define and measure their success in terms of the number of students who enroll in and complete a postsecondary degree or certificate.

Investments in Systems Change
At times, we believe that the most pressing need is to make innovative improvements in the larger systems that affect programs and people. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - programs that create alignment between local policy makers, education leaders and practitioners to dramatically increase college enrollment and graduation levels or education-related convenings or research that improve the understanding of successful interventions. >> Back to top


Youth Economic Opportunities (outside the U.S.)

Approximately 75 million young people globally, ages 15-24, are actively seeking work. Despite indications of economic recovery and growth, many young people have yet to achieve economic progress. Instead, many rely on informal jobs or struggle to gain the financial resources and other tools to start an enterprise. The Citi Foundation is focused on increasing the number of low-income youth, ages 13-25, who receive adequate preparation, skills, and resources to generate or earn a sustainable income. While education provides a vital foundation, it is one of many elements that help young people succeed. The most promising interventions effectively align education, skills training, as well as provide access to employment and financial resources to meet local labor market demand.

Results we seek in this focus area include: Increases in the number of low-income youth, ages 13-25, who establish a livelihood, become employed in a living wage job, or start their own income-generating business

We make the following types of investments in this focus area:

Investments in Direct Service
We support programs that help youth make economic progress and preserve gains. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - school and community-based programs that provide specific and measurable skills to youth, ages 13-25, to improve their future employment prospects. We invest in programs that help students identify business and career opportunities; build employability skills such as critical thinking, communications, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills; develop technical skills needed by the labor market; provide job placement services and build entrepreneurial skills through the creation of simulated or real businesses.

Investments in Capacity Building & Planning
Programs in this investment area strengthen the organizations we fund so that they can achieve impact and sustain results for those served. These programs focus on the needs of the organization and strengthen the ability of the organization to achieve its mission. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - the development of new programs that facilitate students' successful school-to-career transition; training that helps staff deliver job placement; and initiatives that help practitioners define and measure results.

Investments in Systems Change
At times we believe that the most pressing need is to make innovative improvements in larger systems that affect programs and people. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - programs that create alignment between local policy makers, educators, the business community and practitioners to dramatically increase youth employment, research that improves the understanding of successful interventions to improve young peoples' employability prospects or increase entrepreneurship activity. >> Back to top


Neighborhood Revitalization (in the U.S.)

The Citi Foundation is committed to maintaining economically vibrant and healthy communities and households in the United States. We seek to do this by supporting: the development or preservation of high-quality affordable housing that lowers a household's daily living costs; the rehabilitation of commercial corridors that improve economic activity; and the development of community facilities such as charter schools and community centers that create a foundation for pursuing economic opportunity and neighborhood stability. Additionally, we are committed to building the capacity of community development organizations to drive investment into their neighborhoods and preserve those gains.

Results we seek in this focus area include: Increases in the number of affordable housing units or community facilities that contribute to the economic and/or environmental sustainability of low-income communities

We make the following types of investments in this focus area:

Investments in Direct Service
We support programs that help individuals and families achieve economic self-sufficiency, with the ultimate goal of moving up the economic ladder and preserving gains. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - predevelopment activities, training, or technical assistance for programs that increase the availability of affordable housing and community facilities in low-income neighborhoods.

Investments in Capacity Building & Planning
Programs in this investment area strengthen the organizations we fund so that they can achieve and sustain stronger gains for the individuals, families or communities they serve. These programs focus on the needs of the organization and strengthen the ability of the organization to achieve its mission. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - development of new programming, planning and direction-setting efforts, and training and professional development to build the capacity of community-based organizations to better serve communities for the purpose of reducing development costs, assessing impact and enhancing programs.

Investments in Systems Change
At times, we believe that the most pressing need is to make innovative improvements in the larger systems that affect programs and people. Examples of investments in this area include, but are not limited to - supporting networks or intermediaries that attract new investment capital to the field of community development; programs that spur local policy makers and community stakeholders to address key issues that will support the revitalization of distressed neighborhoods; or increasing scale through building awareness of innovative community development models such as transit-oriented developments or the development of "green communities." >> Back to top


The Citi Foundation does not provide funding related to:

  • Advertising, special events, dinners, telethons, benefits, or fundraising activities
  • Religious, veteran or fraternal organizations (unless they are # engaged in a project benefiting an entire community)
  • Individuals
  • Political causes, campaigns, or candidates
  • Memorials
  • Private Foundations
  • Requests deemed as "pass-through" funding
  • Matched funds

To be considered for funding, applicants must have IRS 501(c)(3) status and a Federal Employment Identification Number, or they must be a registered school, university, or government entity.