Health and the Environment Grant Program

The John Merck Fund

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Grant amount: US $2,000 - US $650,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Research, General Operating Expense

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



Health and Environment

Ongoing scientific research shows that harmful chemicals present in agriculture, manufacturing and consumer goods are causing a wide range of reproductive, neurological, developmental and immunological health impacts.

    The use of these chemicals – known as Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBTs) because they are retained in the human body or linger in the environment long after exposure – must be curtailed to improve human health.

    The program’s goal is to promote state and federal policies and align market incentives to reduce the use of petroleum-based chemicals that are linked to preventable disease. We are accomplishing this goal by:

      • Supporting state and national campaigns that tie PBTs to human health;
      • Expanding outreach to the people most often impacted by PBTs, including women, minorities and children;
      • Raising consumer awareness and changing government policies to increase market pressures on companies that use PBTs and market rewards for those that seek safer alternatives;
      • Helping translate cutting-edge scientific research on these toxic chemicals to ensure vulnerable communities understand their risks;
      • Focusing on institutions such as hospitals, universities and governments in New England to ensure they are purchasing safer products; and
      • Aligning with the Clean Energy Program, because ongoing reliance on fossil fuels is at the root of both issues.

      You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


      • To be eligible, organizations must have a 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, and tax classification under Section 509(a), confirming that the organization is publicly supported.
      • The fund only provides General Support in the case of very small organizations.


      • The Fund favors:
        • Outstanding individuals working on promising projects in organizations that may have difficulty attracting funds;
        • Pilot projects with potential for widespread application;
        • Advocacy or litigation capable of setting or protecting important precedents;
        • Smaller organizations and startups;
        • One-year grant requests (though multiyear grants of up to three years occasionally are made); and
        • Matching-grant opportunities, particularly to help broaden support for fledgling initiatives.


      • The Fund does not provide grants for: 
        • Endowment or capital-fund projects;
        • Large organizations with well-established funding sources, unless they are launching new initiatives with limited funding opportunities;
        • Individuals, unless their work is supported by a scientific, educational or charitable organization; and
        • Artistic projects.