W.K. Kellogg Foundation: Should you Pursue their Grants?

Founded in 1930, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is a private foundation that was started by breakfast cereal entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg and is one of the largest charitable foundations in the United States.

Guided by the belief that all children should have an opportunity to thrive, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation works with community organizations to create conditions to better support vulnerable children so they can grow up to realize their full potential.

With such a noble mission, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation might seem like a great fit to support your organization’s work. However, it’s important to assess funder fit before you invest your valuable time into creating a proposal.

You might be asking—how do I do that? Don’t worry, we will show you!

As you read through this article, you will be asked to score yourself on a handful of criteria that will lead you to an overall score indicating funder fit. By the end of the article, you’ll be able to confidently say whether a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is a high ROI opportunity for you!

W.K. Kellogg Foundation: Mission and Background

Mission

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s website states its mission as supporting “children, families, and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society.”

The foundation lists its focus areas as:

  • Thriving Children: Projects that support a healthy start and quality learning experiences for all children.
  • Working Families: Investments in efforts to help families obtain stable, high-quality jobs.
  • Equitable Communities: Projects focusing on vibrant, engaged, and equitable communities.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation Mission and Background

Before you invest time and effort into crafting a winning grant proposal, you need to determine if your mission aligns with that of your potential funder.

Criterion #1: Add a score in the range of 1-3 to indicate how closely your nonprofit's mission aligns with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Score Explanation
+1 Add this when there is little to no understanding of the alignment between you and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
+2 Add this when there is a distant alignment between you and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation - e.g. Foundation supports a broader funding category.
+3 Add this where there is an evident close alignment between you and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation: How to Apply and Current Active Grants

Submit Application

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s website is a great resource that clearly outlines the steps to apply for funding opportunities.

The first step is registering for access to the foundation’s online grant portal.

The next step is to draft a letter of inquiry (LOI), which is just a brief description of your project. The foundation asks for LOIs to include answers to the following questions:

  • What problem are you trying to solve with your idea?
  • What are the objectives or outcomes you hope to achieve?
  • What interventions or strategies are you considering?
  • Who are your partners?
  • How does your project consider the foundation’s commitments to racial equity and healing, community engagement, and/or leadership development?

After you submit a letter of inquiry, the foundation will review it and respond to you with the next steps within 30 business days. At that point, you might be invited to develop and submit a more detailed proposal.

Before drafting a LOI, don’t forget to visit the WK Kellogg Foundation’s website to ensure the above information hasn’t changed.

And don’t forget! You can create your free Instrumentl account today to find 100+ more active grant opportunities that align with your project’s needs.

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W.K. Kellogg Foundation: Interesting Funder Insights

Data Analysis

It’s important to analyze funding insights before you spend your valuable time and energy crafting a grant proposal. These insights can help you determine if a potential funder aligns with your project’s mission and needs. You can discover whether the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is a good fit for your project by reviewing the organization’s 990 forms.

However, looking over 990 data can be incredibly confusing. The forms are complex, hard to read, and clunky to navigate. But don’t worry! Instrumentl’s 990 tool makes this task so much easier. It analyzes and breaks down funders’ data into easily-digestible pieces that allow you to identify trends easily.

Phew! What a relief, right?

Here are 3 key things that Instrumentl’s 990 tool will show you to help you figure out if applying to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is a good fit for you. Let’s go!

#1 General Giving Trends

The first thing we need to do is review the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s giving history from the last several years. Past giving is the best indicator of future giving.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation General Giving Trends

Instrumentl pulls the funder’s key data points from their 990 forms and displays them in easy-to-read bar graphs.

At first glance, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s giving looks to have remained relatively consistent since 2010. But let’s dive into the actual numbers. Since 2018, the foundation’s giving has decreased just over 6%, from 341,259,217 in 2018 to 295,080,632 in 2020. This downward-sloping trend indicates that the foundation’s total giving may continue to decrease in coming years.

Criterion #2: Deduct 0.5 points from your funder score to reflect the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s negative giving trend for the last 3 years.

Score Explanation
-0.5 Add this since the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has had a decreasing giving trend for the last 3 years.

Total giving insights are incredibly useful. But we need to keep digging into the data! Let’s also consider the foundation’s number of grants awarded.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Number of Grants

You can see in the bar graph above that the foundation’s number of grants has also declined in the last several years. In 2018, the foundation awarded 1,835 grants. In 2020, they awarded only 1,681. This downward trend indicates that this funder’s giving is decreasing, and may continue to decrease in years to come.

Let’s also take a look at the “Giving Average” trend.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Giving Average Trend

Since 2018, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s giving average has decreased by nearly 5.5%. In 2018, the average grant award was 196,000. In 2020, it was just $175,000. This downward-sloping trend indicates significantly reduced giving by the foundation, which isn’t great news for grantseekers.

Criterion #3: Deduct 1 point from your funder score to reflect the decrease in the average grant amount given by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for the past 3 years.

Score Explanation
-1 Add this when the average grant amount awarded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has decreased for the past 3 years.

The downward-sloping trend in total giving, number of grants, and average giving are not promising indicators for future giving for this foundation.

However, it’s important to remember that these are only a few metrics to consider. Keep reading to learn even more important factors that will help you make a determination about funder fit.

#2 Funding by NTEE Codes 

Funding by NTEE codes is by far the most important piece of information that you should consider when you are evaluating a funder.

Many funders tend to unequally split their budgets between different funding purposes, so this data will provide you with very valuable insights as to how your project may be funded.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation NTEE Codes

Looking at the table above, you can see that the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded “Public & Societal Benefit” programs the highest average grant amount of $300,000, but funded only 156 of those programs.

Here’s some info that you may not have noticed, however. “Education” is the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s most-funded category, with 778 grants awarded. This means that you are statistically more likely to be awarded a grant in this category than any other.

NTEE codes can offer more insights than just this, however. The general categories include related subcategories with some dramatic differences in their funding amounts, which you wouldn’t notice by just looking at the category-wide averages.

For example, the category average grant amount for “Human Services” is just $200. But if you look at the subcategories below, you will see that award amounts go as high as $150,000 for the subcategories “Human Service Organizations”, “Research Institutes & Public Policy Analysis”, and “Alliances & Advocacy”.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation NTEE Codes

Failing to take a deeper dive into the subcategories might cause you to underestimate the potential award that your project might be able to secure from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation!

You can discover more NTEE code subcategories and their grant amounts by creating your free 14-day Instrumentl account.

Criterion #4: Add a score in the range of 0-2 to your funder score to indicate whether the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s funding for your niche is what you desire.

Score Explanation
0 Add this when the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s funding for your niche lies below your desired amount.
+1 Add this when the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s funding for your niche is around your desired amount.
+2 Add this when the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s funding for your niche is greater than your desired amount.

#3 Openness to New Grantees and Their Average Grant Amounts

Another important piece of data to look at is the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s ratio of new versus repeat grantees. While there’s no “magic number”, our experience has taught us that a ratio of 40% - 60% is a good middle ground.

In the past 3 years, only 17% of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s grants have been awarded to new grantees. In 2020, however, the percentage of new grantees jumped to 32.8%—this increase is promising if your organization is not a current grantee of this foundation.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Openness to New Grantees

It’s also helpful to look at the grant amounts awarded to new versus repeat grantees. As you can see below, the average grant award for a new grantee is $65,276. For repeat grantees, the average grant award is significantly higher, at $215,380. That’s quite a difference!

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Openness to New Grantees

These insights are important in helping you determine if the average grant award amount is in line with the amount needed for your project. This takes us to our next scoring criterion.

Criterion #5: If you are a new grantee, add the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s proportion of giving to new grantees to your funder score.

If you are a repeat grantee, add the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s proportion of giving to repeat grantees to your funder score.

Score Explanation
.17 Add this when you are a new grantee for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
.83 Add this when you are a repeat grantee for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

[Bonus Tip] Geographic Distribution of Past Grantees

Ready for a bonus tip? Let’s talk about geographic distribution!

Many funders concentrate their giving in specific states or regions. Looking at the geographic distribution of past grantees will help you determine if your project or organization is located in an area that is well represented historically by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s funding.

Let’s take a look at the map below.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Past Grantees

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has historically awarded grants to every state in the United States, which is good news! But let’s look at which states have received the most awards historically, and which have received the least.

Michigan is the most historically represented state on the map, having received 5,594 grant awards. Wow!

California, New York, and New Mexico are the next most well-represented states, each with around 1,000 grants awarded.

States shaded in light purple are the least represented in terms of grant awards, and these include Alaska, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Dakota, among many others.

Remember—location is just one of many factors to consider when assessing whether a funder is a good fit for your project. It’s important to consider this information in context with all of the other insights we have discussed.

Criterion #6: Add a score in the range of 0-3 to your funder score to indicate whether or not your organization’s state has been historically represented.

Score Explanation
0 Add this when your state isn't historically represented - shaded in white - among past grantees.
+1 Add this when your state is sparsely represented - shaded in light purple - among past grantees.
+2 Add this when your state is represented more heavily - shaded in darker purple - among past grantees.
+3 Add this when your state is represented most heavily - shaded in darkest purple - among past grantees.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation: Key People and Past Grantees

Key People

By now, you should be feeling pretty confident about whether the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is a potential good-fit funder for your project.

If you think you’re a good fit, we’re going to give you two very important action items that should be completed before you begin crafting a proposal to this foundation.

Contact the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Key People

Even though this foundation’s grant cycle is not invitation-only, it is still important to network with key decision-makers at the foundation. Building these relationships can help move the needle on getting your proposal noticed by the right folks.

Instrumentl’s Key People report helps you learn who those folks are at the Kellogg Foundation. You can see all their key staff below, and make a decision on who you want to reach out to first.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Key People

Contact the W.K Kellogg Foundation’s Past Grantees

There is no one more qualified to give you insider tips and advice about how to get funded by the Kellogg Foundation than their past grantees! They can give you the nitty-gritty details about the application process that you may not be able to find anywhere else.

Instrumentl’s Past Grantees report gives you access to all the organizations who have been previously funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. You can review this information and determine which organizations to reach out to based on the amount or purpose of the award they received.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Past Grantees

Foundations Similar to W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Fund Raising

If you’ve determined that the Kellogg Foundation isn’t a good fit for your organization or project, don’t fret. Here’s a list of similar funders that may better align with your organization’s needs:

  • Kresge Foundation
  • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
  • Arcus Foundation
  • Casey Family Foundation
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Happy grant seeking!

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Wrapping Up: W.K. Kellogg Foundation and You

Score

You’ve made it to the end of the article! This means it’s time to add up your scores from the scoring criterion throughout the article. Please round your cumulative score to the nearest 10th. Once you’ve done that, check out our scoring breakdown below—this will give you the final answer as to whether the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is a good fit for you!

  • 8.5 - 11 Great fit
  • 3.8 - 7.8 - Good fit
  • 0.8 - Bad fit

It is so important to evaluate funder fit before you invest your valuable time and energy into crafting a compelling grant proposal. This can be a heavy lift—990 data is hard to read, digest, and sort through. But you want to focus your efforts only on opportunities with a high ROI. Using Instrumentl’s 990 tool can make this process so much simpler! In fact, Instrumentl saves folks 3 hours a week on average, and increases grant application output by 78%!

Create your free 14-day Instrumentl account today to explore more foundations, vet their 990 data, and find 100+ more good-fit funders.

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