Submitting a Letter of Inquiry

The Hewlett Foundation’s Performing Arts Program makes grants to sustain artistic expression and encourage public engagement in the arts in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Funding through the Letter of Inquiry process is extremely competitive. We expect to make up to ten grants through the Letter of Inquiry process in 2016, and we will receive many more letters of inquiry than we will be able to fund.

Submission deadlines for 2016 are March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1.

Here is the process for submitting a Letter of Inquiry:

1. Determine if the Program is a good match for your organization. To see if your organization aligns with the goals of the Performing Arts Program, please read the following documents:

Organizations or programs that meet one or more of our stated preferences and priorities will be the most competitive applicants.

2. Submit a Letter of Inquiry. Use the online form.

  • If available, submit your organization’s California Cultural Data Project (CDP) Funder Report for the Hewlett Foundation at the time you submit the Letter of Inquiry.
  • If your organization is invited to submit a full proposal, you will have to submit a California CDP Funder Report for the Hewlett Foundation with two years of information to be eligible for consideration. For more information about the California CDP, click here.

3. Receive our response. An automated email acknowledging receipt of the Letter of Inquiry will be sent within 48 hours. If you do not receive this, please email

Following each submission deadline, staff members from the Performing Arts Program carefully review each Letter of Inquiry received during the prior three months.

After this review, all applicants receive an email with notification of the Foundation’s decision. Competitive applicants are asked to submit additional information. Applicants that are not recommended for further review may be eligible to submit a Letter of Inquiry again in twelve months.

Applicants typically receive this notification within six weeks of their submission deadline (March 1, June 1, September 1 or December 1).


  • Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we cannot respond to phone calls or emails regarding Letters of Inquiry.
  • Organizations are eligible to submit one Letter of Inquiry within a twelve-month period.
  • Organizations or programs that are currently receiving a grant through the Performing Arts Program should not submit a Letter of Inquiry.
  • Please do not send additional information or submit a full proposal unless your organization is expressly invited to do so, as it will be neither reviewed nor considered.
  • We do not accept Letters of Inquiry for the following:
    • Building construction, capital campaigns, or endowments.
    • Expenses or debt that has already been incurred.
    • Government agencies or departments.
    • Individuals, including individual artists.
    • Humanities, literary/poetry, or history programs.
    • Lobbying.
    • One-time or intermittent events such as conferences, festivals, field-trips, parades, or school assemblies.
    • Scholarships or staff training.
    • Technology projects.
    • Touring or travel expenses.