Programs & Partnerships


Investment Company Institute Education Foundation Microgrants for Investor Education Innovation within Metropolitan Washington, DC

Grant Guidelines and Eligibility Requirements

The Investment Company Institute Education Foundation (ICIEF) provides microgrants—up to $25,000 each—to schools and other nonprofit organizations to incorporate investor education into existing financial education courses, programs, or activities within the greater metropolitan Washington, DC area. Since the program launched in September 2009, grants have been awarded to STRIVE DC, the Arlington County Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension, Junior Achievement of the National Capital Area, UNCF (the United Negro College Fund), the SIFMA Foundation for Investor Education, the University of Maryland, Fairfax County Public Schools, and the Maryland State Department of Education.

Who is ICIEF?

ICIEF is the 501(c)(3) educational affiliate of the Investment Company Institute, the national association of US investment companies. Founded in 1989, ICIEF partners with government agencies and other nonprofit organizations to develop and deliver investment education programs to specific audiences, including teachers, students, journalists, African Americans, and Hispanics. ICIEF also participates in a variety of financial education advocacy coalitions, conferences, and initiatives that promote saving and investing nationwide.

What is the objective of ICIEF’s microgrant program?

ICIEF decided to launch this program at a crucial time in our nation’s economic history. We believe that investor education is more important than ever before. Children and adults alike need a better understanding of financial markets and how these markets work to benefit both individuals and society. Our objective is to identify, inspire, or replicate best practices in investor education—innovative, hands-on efforts that not only build knowledge, but change attitudes and create confidence as well. ICIEF has chosen to pilot this program in our nation’s capital—where we are located—so that we’ll be better able to interact with our grantees, as needed. 

Who is eligible to apply for a microgrant?

Applicants must either apply on behalf of a nonprofit school or other nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that is located within the greater metropolitan Washington, DC area or, if the school or organization is located outside the greater DC area, the proposed investor education project or program must take place within the area.

How is “greater metropolitan Washington, DC area” defined?

ICIEF has adopted the US Department of Labor’s definition. For grantmaking purposes, the greater metropolitan Washington, DC area includes the District of Columbia; the counties of Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George’s in Maryland; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park in Virginia; the counties of Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren in Virginia; and Jefferson County in West Virginia.

How is “investor education” defined?

For purposes of this program, investor education means education about investing in financial assets, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, IRAs, and 401(k) plans. It does not mean starting a business or investing in land, housing or other buildings, equipment, inventory, collectibles, or other nonfinancial assets. Although we will consider other proposals for investor education (such as innovative uses of technology), we expect that most of our grantees will deliver education in person within the greater metropolitan Washington, DC area over at least a six-month period.

Who are the target audiences for investor education?

Target audiences for investor education programs include students of all ages at any nonprofit school, teachers or other trainers, and other specific adult populations, such as young adults, seniors, immigrants, minorities, women, small business owners, workforce populations, and others.

How can the microgrant be used?

All funding received must be used to supplement existing financial education courses, programs, or activities by incorporating, adding, or expanding investor education. Examples of how funding could be used include identifying and recruiting program participants; publicizing a program; identifying, recruiting, and training instructors; obtaining curriculum materials and other classroom supplies; translating or otherwise adapting curriculum to meet the needs of specific target audiences; applying new and innovative approaches to existing curriculum; renting classrooms and equipment; and producing and analyzing program evaluations that measure knowledge, attitudes, and/or skills acquired.

Funding may not be used to pay general operating expenses (including salaries of permanent staff) or for the purchase of capital equipment (such as computers or furniture). Nor may funding be used for fundraising or for individual needs such as scholarships, sponsorships, or other forms of financial assistance. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review existing educational materials available from nonprofit organizations including, the National Endowment for Financial Education, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the SIFMA Foundation for Investor Education, the Council for Economic Education, the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, and the American Savings Education Council, among others.

What if my project costs more than $25,000?

The maximum amount ICIEF will award each grantee is $25,000. Any application requesting more than that amount will not be considered.

How will grantees be selected?

All grants are made at the sole discretion of ICIEF, based on our evaluation of the application, our relative priorities, and our availability of funds. ICIEF reserves the right not to award any specific grant for any reason, or for no apparent reason, no matter how clearly the proposed project may seem to meet our objectives and no matter how closely the applicant has followed our guidelines and procedures.

If I am approved for a microgrant, when will I receive the funding?

Funds will be disbursed as soon as ICIEF and an applicant reach agreement on a project.

If I am approved for a microgrant, what other requirements must I meet?

All grantees must agree to submit, at the conclusion of the project, (a) an accounting of how the funds were used and (b) a completed ICIEF evaluation form. Depending on the duration of the project, a schedule for periodic progress reports will also be established.

What happens if I am approved for a microgrant and later find I need to modify my project?

Any significant modifications to a project must be approved in writing by ICIEF.

What happens if I am approved for a microgrant and don’t use all the funding?

Any unused funds must be returned to ICIEF.

How do I apply for a microgrant?

ICIEF accepts grant applications continuously and reviews them on a quarterly basis until all funding for the calendar year has been awarded. Any applications received after ICIEF has awarded all its annual funding will be considered for funding in the following year. To be considered in the first quarterly review, submit the ICIEF application form by mail or email no later than March 30; to be considered in the second quarterly review, submit your application by June 30; the third-quarter deadline is September 30; and the fourth-quarter deadline is December 30. Incomplete forms will not be considered, and please do not supply any additional information unless requested. Those applying on behalf of a 501(c)(3) organization must also submit a copy of the current Internal Revenue Service determination letter confirming tax exemption.

Who can I contact with additional questions?

For any other questions, please contact Mike McNamee, ICI Chief Pubic Communications Officer, at 202-326-5864 or