Working through qualified, tax-exempt organizations, the Foundation seeks to reach, educate, and motivate the general public and the current and future leaders of American society on the science of self-government.

The specific efforts of the
Foundation include support for:

  • Programs and activities that provide personal involvement in the political process and functions of government, such as democracy reform, civic education and engagement programs, and mock legislative sessions, as well as conferences and seminars on relevant public policy issues.
  • Teacher training on the founding documents and/or democratic principles.
  • Programs and academic contests on American democratic self-government targeting youth, educators, young professionals, and other societal leaders.
  • Other programs and activities that, in the opinion of the trustees, meet the obligations of the Foundation's statement of purpose.
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Please read the Foundation’s statement of purpose and vision statement to confirm the applicability of the grant request.

All requests for grants cannot be acted upon favorably. A request determined to be within the Foundation’s scope and statement of purpose will be reviewed carefully from the standpoint of program content, funding requirements, availability of funds, existing or future grant commitments, and geographic considerations.

Foundation grants are generally restricted to programming in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, although programs in Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri occasionally are made to qualified organizations.

The Foundation does not make loans, grants-in-aid, or fellowships directly to individuals.

Grants for purposes other than scholarships or fellowships are made only to organizations that are qualified charities under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

It is the policy of the Sumners Foundation that grant funds may be used only for the specific purposes for which they were awarded and may not be used to cover any indirect costs.

Grants are made in good faith from information supplied by the applicant. The Foundation reserves the right to require periodic reports on the status of the grant funds and certifications that such funds are being used for the purpose intended, as well as the opportunity to audit, at its own expense, the recipient’s records as they relate to the activities funded by a Foundation grant.

Grants are made without any commitment of future financial support unless otherwise specified by the board of trustees.

The Foundation is nonpolitical and nonpartisan, and none of its funds may be used for political or propaganda purposes.

The Foundation will not accept grant applications sent via fax, email, or mail.

Sumners Foundation

Application Process and Deadlines

Grant applications will be accepted from January 1 to August 1 using the online portal. Final decisions on grant proposals are made by the trustees in October or November.

Grant applications received after 5:00 PM Central, August 1 will not be considered.

Once a decision has been made approving or disapproving a grant request, the applicant will be advised.  If you have applied for a grant in past years, please use that login information rather than creating a new grant account.  Thank you!

Grant applications are available online below. No grant applications will be accepted via fax, email, or mail.

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Sumners Foundation

In 2023, the trustees of The Sumners Foundation provided $1,540,000 in grants through 33 different grants.  The Foundation also supported 91 Sumners Scholars with scholarships totaling $2,270,000 through At-Large and endowed scholarship programs.

University Scholarships

Austin College, Sherman, TX

Howard Payne University, Brownwood, TX

Schreiner University, Kerrville, TX

Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth, TX

University of Dallas, Irving, TX

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I apply for a grant?

A. The Foundation will only accept grant applications filed on its website. The annual deadline is August 1 at 5 p.m. CST.

Q. What is the Foundation's postion regarding offensive statements by Congressman Sumners?

A. For more than 50 years the Sumners Foundation has provided scholarships to outstanding students at more than a dozen universities in the Southwest. Sumners Scholars are strategically identified, selected and provided financial assistance and experiential opportunities to prepare them for a lifetime of participation in the democratic process. Unfortunately, Congressman Sumners, for whom the Foundation is named, espoused some views, although popular with certain segments of the population at the time, that are antithetical to the mission and core values of the Foundation. Because of his high-profile position, many of these views were recorded for history. The Sumners Foundation repudiates those statements and abhorrent values in the strongest possible terms. The Foundation is committed to fostering individual values, ensuring racial equality, and equal opportunity for all. The Foundation’s core mission is the research, study and teaching of the art and science of selfgovernment. For decades, the Foundation has strived to provide scholarships and grants to all parts of American society, including those that are disadvantaged economically and who have been subjected to historical discrimination because of their race, creed, or beliefs. We will continue to do so because it is the right thing to do, and because it strengthens American democracy. To make our position clear, the Foundation has renamed itself to be the Sumners Foundation and scholarship recipients are referred to as Sumners Scholars, emphasizing the Foundation’s independent status from Hatton W. Sumners. The focus of the scholarships will continue to be the commitment to leadership, participation in the democratic process and creating an educated, engaged citizenry. This information is not provided as a desire to erase the past, but to assure all potential Sumners Scholars that the Foundation is committed to continuing to include students from all backgrounds with enhanced attention to diversity and inclusion. The Trustees are proud to have had a positive impact on past Sumners Scholars and their accomplishments since they graduated and continuing to prepare Scholars for the challenges and opportunities of participation in a democratic republic going forward. To this goal, the Trustees of The Foundation are fully committed.

Q. How often do you make grants?

A. The Foundation makes grants annually. Applications are accepted until August 1 at 5 p.m. CST and are screened by the trustees at a subsequent meeting. The final grant decision is made in October or November and funds are distributed in December.

Q. Can we make a grant presentation to the trustees?

A. No. If you would like to meet with the vice president of programs about your work, they are happy to do so as time permits.

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Q. Do you make multiyear grants?

A. It is a rare exception when multiyear grants are approved.

Q. Do you make grants to religious organizations for religious purposes?

A. Grants are not made for religious purposes.

Q. Do you have a formal grant application?

A. Yes. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Q. Do you make grants for capital campaigns or construction projects?

A. Rarely, if ever, are such grants made.

Q. . Do you make grants for endowments?

A. While the trustees have approved such grants in the past, those were limited to the creation of the Foundation's endowed scholarship programs. The trustees are not inclined to create new endowments at this time.

Q. Can Foundation grants cover indirect costs at colleges and universities?

A. No. It is the policy of the Sumners Foundation that grant funds may be used only for the specific purposes for which they were awarded and may not be used to cover any indirect costs.

Q. What reports are required?

A. Interim reports are due August 1 on or before grant applications are submitted. Final reports are due December 1. Report forms are available online and must be submitted online.

Q. Is it true that Hatton Sumners supported anti-lynching legislation while in Congress?

A. Congressman Sumners was against lynching but felt that states were in a better position to address the problem promptly rather than relying on marshaling federal law enforcement. As a result, he voted against the anti-lynching bill and supported states’ rights to combat the problem.