ESA Foundation Grant Application Information

The ESA Foundation is dedicated to supporting positive programs and opportunities that make a difference in the lives of America’s youth.  The Foundation seeks to harness the collective power of the interactive entertainment industry to create positive social impact in our communities.  We support geographically diverse projects and programs that benefit American boys and girls of all races and religions. 

The ESA Foundation does not support programs or projects that discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, religion or sexual orientation. 

The ESA Foundation is limited in the number of projects that we can support.  To receive funding, an organization making a grant request must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or be a governmental unit exempt under Section 115 and described in Section 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  2. Seek funding for a specific project or program that is or will be implemented or available nation-wide or at a minimum in two or more states in the United States. 
  3. Serve American youth ages 7-18.
  4. Provide programs and services that utilize technology and/or computer and video games to educate America’s youth and young adults

Limitations: In general, the ESA Foundation does not accept applications for endowment, operating support, benefit and event fundraisers, annual fund appeals, youth sports teams, religious organizations for religious purposes, political organizations or campaigns, labor groups, indirect costs, research or from fiscal agents.  Grants are not made to individuals or for projects outside the United States of America.

The ESA Foundation reserves the right to revise the grant criteria and/or process at any time.

Please email if you have questions.

Deadline for Application Submissions

The 2019 ESA Foundation Grant application has two stages: a letter of inquiry (LOI) and a full application. The LOI stage is open May 21, 2018 and must be completed and submitted by 11:59 pm (EDT) June, 22, 2018. By July 18, 2018, select applicants will be invited to submit a full application that must be completed via the online portal by 11:59 pm (EDT) August 17, 2018.

Please follow us on Twitter @ESA_Foundation or sign up for our newsletter (see the right column of this page) for updates on our grant making cycle.

ESA Foundation Grant – Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does the ESA Foundation Grant fund the purchase of hardware and software?

A: No. The ESA Foundation does not fund the purchase of hardware and software. However, if your project engages youth through technology and/or computer and video games and you require specific hardware to accomplish the goals of the project, you can request funding for necessary hardware and software.

Q: What are indirect costs and are they allowed?

A: No. Indirect costs are expenses that are not readily identified with a particular project or program, but are for general operation and the conduct of proposed activities imposed by a larger entity under which the project is housed. In a few select circumstances, ESA Foundation will consider a reasonable percentage of indirect costs. Note: fees charged by fiscal agents are never an eligible expense.

Q: Does the ESA Foundation have a policy that specifically states that indirect costs are not eligible or that they must be limited to a specific percentage?

A: Yes. Indirect costs are not allowed unless a waiver is requested and granted prior to the award stage. A waiver would only be granted in the event that an organization has an established, written policy that states it will not accept grant funds without allocating a portion to indirect costs. Even in this case, a waiver is unlikely, and the total amount allowed would be capped at 10% of the total project/program budget. 

Q: Are organizations discouraged or otherwise limited in the number of applications they can submit?

A: There are no limits on how many applications you may submit.

Q: What if my organization does not have audited financials?

A: You can submit recent or previous year’s actual expenditures and income with a letter indicating that you do not have audited financials.

Q: What does it mean to be implemented in a minimum of two states?

A: To be eligible for an ESA Foundation grant, a project or program must operate and have a physical location in at least two states where the project or program is conducted.

Q: If I put my game online is it considered nationally available?

A: Simply putting your product online does not fulfill this requirement. If you wish to satisfy the multi-state location requirement by making your product or program available online, you must also submit a marketing plan that will demonstrate how you will reach your targeted audience and provide information that substantiates your organization’s website as a trusted peer resource.

Q: Can the grant funds be used to hire or contract a computer programmer or other professionals?

A: Yes, the grant funds can be used to hire or contract professional services essential to the success of the project.

Q: What is the amount of your average grant?

A: While there is no set amount for ESA Foundation grants, it is unlikely that first-time ESA Foundation grantees would receive more than $50,000. However, the amount requested should reflect the actual cost of the project.

Q: Do you accept applications for multi-year grants?

A: No. At this time, ESA Foundation is not making multi-year grant commitments.

Q: What if my project does not directly impact youth and instead works with educators to teach them how to integrate technology and/or computer games that will benefit American youth?

A: Programs that “train the trainer” are eligible for funding so long as those trained will use their training to positively impact the lives of American youth ages 7-18 through technology and/or computer or video games.

Q: Is it preferable to show that we have applied to other foundations or corporations for support?

A: Our preference is for proposed projects and programs to be feasible. If your project or program requires additional funding, then it would be a detriment to the application if there were no other potential sources of revenue. If your budget can be fully funded by the ESA Foundation Grant, then it would not be considered a determent if you have not applied for funds elsewhere.

Q: Our program is part of a university. When completing the financial information on the cover page, do we use the university’s financial information or the program/project’s financial information?

A: You may limit the financial information to the specific department or program that will implement the proposed project or program. Be sure to include a narrative that summarizes the financial status of the department or program in relation to the overall university, along with required financial materials.

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