Still me, Rick


I came on the board of the FHL Foundation in 1980. Back in those days we used a fairly simple printed application form. When I took the reins in 1999, I decided to push for an online application. We used an online application service for about three years. The online application was a two-step process: a Letter of Intent (LOI) followed by a Full Application, if there was interest on the part of the board. What we discovered was that we would often approve a grant based just on the information presented in the LOI (along with a few follow-up emails or calls to fine-tune things). So, today, we have a hybrid: a simple online LOI form (which is linked to at the bottom of this page). In most cases, the LOI is all we need, thus making for a streamlined application process. If we need more information or a quick clarification, we’ll call or email.

Our board meets four times a year, typically in:

  • October (our annual meeting)
  • January
  • April
  • July (our end-of-year meeting)

Our fiscal year starts August 1st. We typically set our next meeting date at each meeting. So, if you contact me (using the Contact menu item) after the July meeting, I can tell you when we will meet in October. We send out our agenda two weeks before each meeting. Once the agenda goes out to the board, staff, and consultants the agenda is fixed. If an LOI comes in and there’s more than two weeks before the next meeting, then in most cases I’ll be able to get it on the agenda if it fits well enough with the focus areas mentioned in the About area.

Here are some general “deal breaker” guidelines:

  • No grants to individuals
  • Only grants to organizations recognized as a non-profit at the federal level (typically a 501(c)(3))
  • No grants to organizations operating under an umbrella group
  • No grants to organizations that have a 501(c)(3) pending
  • No grants to international organizations
  • Grants to college or university foundations are OK with a 5% pass-through cap
  • We must have a copy of your IRS ruling letter, which can be attached to your LOI

Here are some general “suggestion” guidelines:

  • We highly recommend that you signup and create an organization profile at
  • We typically do not make multi-year grants
  • We do make grants for general operations
  • We typically do not get involved in match grant campaigns
  • We typically do not work well with grant writers [1]
  • We tend to favor New Mexico-based organizations, but a number of our research grants go out-of-state mainly because the research we’re interested in (say, attachment research) is not being conducted in New Mexico
  • We’re not big fans of private-public partnerships. Why? They tend to blow up. Contact me (using the Contact menu item above) and I’ll tell you a few horror stories (like the night the lights went out on behavioral health in New Mexico).

I believe that’s it. If you have any questions or are not sure if your project fits with our focus areas or guidelines, contact us before submitting your LOI form and let’s kick things around. No sense wasting time. Feel free to browse our Grant Listing (in the menu above) to get a sense for the types of organizations and projects we have funded since 1999.

We typically make grants totaling about $250,000 per year. The typical grant award is between $10,000 and $20,000, which means about 12 to 14 grant awards per year. However, in the last couple of years, we have sought out larger, single projects, like the solar project mentioned in the About area. If we continue to find these large, single projects (and they’re hard to find), this will limit our ability to make smaller grants. I try to post grant awards to our Grant Listing area as soon as they are made. The Grant Listing should give you some idea of where we stand with respect to our $250,000 per year giving requirement. If in doubt, give us a shout and we can update you.

If you do receive a grant award, we typically like to see the project completed within one year of the date on the grant award letter. If you absolutely cannot finish within one year, contact us and let us know what the heck is going on. And, yes, we do expect a final report at the conclusion of the project. Interim reports are greatly appreciated and always welcomed. We may post reports (in part or in whole) to this web site, so please do not send any copyrighted, confidential, or proprietary materials. Do not send originals (we may lose them). If you send us pictures (which we encourage), we assume that you have secured the proper use waivers and that we are able to post these pictures to the web.

LOI Form

A note to mobile users: Technically you are able to access our LOI form using a smartphone. However, you will probably be more comfortable using a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. This is especially true if you are going to cut and paste prepared text into text fields such as Organization Mission and Organization History. Keep in mind that you will be asked to upload your IRS Ruling Letter.


[1] In our experience, grant writers tend to make promises the organization they represent cannot keep. In some cases, organizations are not aware that grant writers are making promises on their behalf. Often grant writers will list themselves as the main contact person. We’d rather work directly with you. Who knows your organization better than you? We have encountered situations where the grant writer lived thousands of miles away and had never visited the organization they represent. Sure, use grant writers as consultants, but we’d prefer that you take the lead as far as securing funding from our Foundation.