Tower Foundation: Core Programs & Services Grants

Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation

Grant amount: US $20,000 - US $50,000

Next deadline: Aug 15, 2018 (Letter of inquiry)

Later deadlines: Aug 22, 2018 8:59pm PDT (Pre proposal), Jan 10, 2019 (Letter of inquiry), Jan 17, 2019 8:59pm PST (Pre proposal), May 2, 2019 (Letter of inquiry), May 9, 2019 8:59pm PDT (Pre proposal)

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in Massachusetts: Barnstable County, Dukes County, Essex County, Nantucket County, Counties in New York: Erie County Expand all

Location of residency: Counties in Massachusetts: Barnstable County, Dukes County, Essex County, Nantucket County, Counties in New York: Erie County Expand all

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Note: The deadlines for preliminary grant submissions are the "pre-proposal" deadlines above. New applicants should create a grants portal account by the "letter of inquiry" deadlines. 

Our Mission

The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation supports community programming that results in children, adolescents, and young adults affected by substance use disorders, learning disabilities, mental illness, and intellectual disabilities achieving their full potential. The Foundation is dedicated to societal impact through healthy communities and capacity building. We work diligently to foster a sense of empowerment and an environment of collaboration.

Our Vision and Values
The Tower Foundation serves as a strategic partner and catalyst for positive community change. We believe in the power of sustainable, healthy communities and the effectiveness of coalitions and self-advocacy—success as measured by stakeholder partnership and growth as defined by constituent action and understanding. We hope to inspire others to honor strength in difference and identify opportunity in challenge.

We disburse assets strategically, to fund community programs and projects that boost societal and partner capabilities and lift young individuals to an enhanced quality of life. The Foundation prioritizes funding that leads to improved systemic and organizational capacities in screening/assessment, education/awareness, transition/service navigation, evidence-based practice, efficiency, and technology solutions.

What We Fund

Our Core Programs and Services Portfolio offers four grantmaking categories. The Tower Foundation makes grants in four key categories: Intellectual Disabilities, Learning  Disabilities, Mental Health, and Substance Use Disorders. These grants are intended to improve the lives of young people age zero to 26 affected by intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, mental  illness and/or substance use disorders, as defined here:

Mental Health
Mental illness includes medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. 

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Substance Use Disorders
Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically and functionally significant impairment, such as health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Intellectual Disabilities 
An Intellectual disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability  originates before the age of 18. Intellectual functioning refers to general mental capacity, such as learning, reasoning, and problem solving. 

Adaptive behavior comprises three skill types:
  • Conceptual skills (e.g., language and literacy; money; time; number concepts; selfdirection)
  • Social skills (e.g., interpersonal skills, social responsibility; self-esteem, gullibility, naïveté, social problem-solving; ability to follow rules/obey laws and avoid being victimized) 
  • Practical skills (e.g., personal care, occupational skills; healthcare; travel/transportation; schedules/routines; safety use of money use of telephone.  

(American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 2011)

Learning Disabilities
A learning disability is a lifelong condition which interferes with the ability to learn. It is a neurological disorder that affects the ability of the brain to process, store and respond to information. There are  different types of learning disabilities that can affect different areas of processing, such as learning to read, reading comprehension, writing and spelling, organizing written and spoken language, mathematical operations, decision making, and the development of fine motor skills. Individuals with LD may be particularly gifted in other skills and are typically of normal intelligence. (American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus)

Types of Projects the Foundation will  Consider

  • Projects must focus on children, adolescents, or young adults (up to age 26) affected by intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, mental illness and/or substance use disorders. 
  • The Tower Foundation encourages multi-year grants with budgets ranging from (but not limited to) $20,000 to $50,000 per year.  
  • The majority of grant funds should be for expenses that are new to the organization as a result of the proposed project. 

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


  • Organizations primarily serving residents of the following areas are eligible to apply for Tower  Foundation grants:
    • Massachusetts
      • Barnstable County
      • Dukes County
      • Essex County
      • Nantucket County
    • New York
      • Erie County
      • Niagara County
  • Additionally, applicants must be:
    • not-for-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3) designation that are not private foundations, or
    • not-for-profit public benefit corporations, or
    • public and diocesan school districts, or
    • private and charter schools.


  • While open to a range of projects that have the potential to advance its goals, the Foundation will give preference to projects focusing on the following:
    • Screening and Assessment: Programs or processes that promptly identify challenges that young people face and match them with optimally effective services, treatment, or supports.
    • Community-Based Education and Supports:
      • Community and Professional Education: Community-based education or professional development that enhance knowledge of intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, mental illness and/or substance use disorders; and on tools and evidence-based approaches to promote life and learning skills, wellness, independence, and an individual and creative voice. Education can target teachers and educators, employers, healthcare and human services professionals, and the general public.
      • Family Supports: Programs that are supportive of parents and families: parent or peer networks, respite or social activities, family-based support for recovery and wellness, and family support of career and educational planning.
    • Transition/Service Navigation: Programs that help young people navigate life transitions, including transitions from one educational setting to another, transitions from job training to employment, and transitions that continue to facilitate personal growth and fulfillment. This includes programs that facilitate sustained recovery from mental illness and/or substance use disorders. 


  • The Foundation does not fund programs or projects that:
    • provide private benefits for any grant recipient or affiliated person,
    • attempt to influence legislation or intervene in any political campaign,
    • contribute to capital improvements or capital campaigns
    • consist of scholarships, services, or treatment for specific individuals,
    • consist largely of general operating support.

About this funder:

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