Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ Topics


Does the foundation fund overhead for colleges and universities?
The foundation does not fund overhead or indirect costs for colleges and universities. Administrative costs related directly to the project might be considered if itemized in the project budget. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact Linsey Sauer at

When is the next Letter of Inquiry deadline?
Please visit our How to Apply page to find information about our grant application deadlines.

Does my letter of inquiry (LOI) have to reach you by the deadline date?
The foundation uses an online application system. Your Letter of Inquiry must be submitted using our online system by 11:59 PM Pacific Time on the LOI due date. We no longer accept letters of inquiry via postal mail, email or fax. We acknowledge all LOIs with an email confirming receipt within two weeks of the LOI due date. Please visit the
How to Apply page for information or click here to access our online grant application.

I am having problems with the online application, what should I do?
The online application system is hosted by a separate organization and system errors cannot be resolved by contacting the foundation. Typically errors are resolved within 24 hours. If this time frame would cause you to be late in submitting, please take a screen shot of the error and send it to Linsey Sauer at If you have questions about navigating the system, you may email or call Linsey. She can be reached at (253) 857-1658 and

How much money should we request?
Ask for what you need. To gauge the appropriate size of a request, you can check the foundation's list of recent grants to see the range of projects and amounts awarded. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, you may likely have the opportunity to discuss the request amount further. We rarely fund 100 percent of a project budget. You should be able to show that you are seeking or have received other sources of funding. Other sources might include foundations, corporations, individuals, community groups, or others.

What types of support do you consider?
Program and project support are our highest priorities. We do consider general operating requests if they are associated with clear goals and objectives.

Should we meet with someone before submitting a letter of inquiry?
Pre-letter of inquiry and donor cultivation meetings are not necessary. However, if you would like to speak with someone about your LOI in advance of submission, please feel free to email our grants manager, Linsey Sauer at If your LOI is advanced to the full proposal stage, our program staff will work to schedule a meeting or site visit with your organization.

How and when will we find out the status of our Letter of Inquiry or full proposal?
TRFF will contact the person indicated on your Letter of Inquiry within two months of the due date, either inviting you to submit a full proposal or declining your request. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, you will be provided a detailed time line about the foundation's decision process.

How does TRFF review Letter of Inquiry and full proposals?
The TRFF staff review all letters of inquiry and invite to full proposal. If an organization is invited to submit a full proposal, a member of the TRFF staff usually conducts a site visit to gather more detailed information. Foundation staff discuss the proposal and site visit with the TRFF board, and the board makes the final decision.

May we submit more than one request per grant cycle?
Yes. Separate project ideas should be submitted via separate Letters of Inquiry. If you have questions about this please contact our grants manager Linsey Sauer at

Is emergency funding available?
No, TRFF does not consider unsolicited requests for emergency funding. If you are responding to an urgent environmental matter that matches the foundation's interests, please discuss the situation with a member of our Programs Team before submitting a Letter of Inquiry.


Does the foundation provide sponsorship support?
At this time the foundation does not provide sponsorships for events or activities. To learn more about the foundation's funding opportunities, please visit our How to Apply page.


Is the foundation hiring?
We are not currently recruiting for open positions.  Please continue to check back for openings.


Who is on staff at The Russell Family Foundation?
For information about The Russell Family Foundation staff, please see our Staff page.


Can you refer me to other local foundations?
The Russell Family Foundation works collaboratively with foundations throughout the Pacific Northwest region. The following foundations fund in either environment or leadership development:


How can I learn more about philanthropy?


What membership organizations does the foundation belong to?
The Russell Family Foundation supports the following organizations through memberships and staff involvement:


George and Jane Russell bought the small brokerage and mutual fund business of George's grandfather in 1958 and developed it into one of the world's leading investment management and advisory firms, Frank Russell Company which was located in Tacoma, WA. In 1999, the Russells sold Frank Russell Company to Northwestern Mutual Life. The company was renamed the Russell Investment Group and later Russell Investments. The Russell Family Foundation and Russell Investments are separate entities.