Douglas Brooks and Ryujin Shimojo working together on a sabani, the traditional fishing boat of Okinawa. Brooks apprenticed with Mr. Shimojo in 2009 in order to document the elder boat builder’s methods. Now 84, Mr. Shimojo is one of only three boatbuilders left in all of Okinawa who can build these iconic boats in the traditional manner. Photograph by George Koch. Photograph courtesy Douglas Brooks.

While grant proposals vary in content, style and length, the US-JF has specific requirements for the grant process. We make every effort to maintain a simple and clear application format.


The Application Process

After carefully reviewing the Notes and Limitations section below, please submit a Letter of Inquiry of 3-4 pages. This should include: a brief description of the proposed project and its objectives, any necessary background information on the project and applicant, and a brief budget estimate. Letters of Inquiry may be written in either Japanese or English. The Foundation welcomes the opportunity to discuss projects with prospective grantees. Click here for contact information.

Letters of Inquiry will be reviewed by the Foundation’s staff upon receipt and a response will be sent as soon as possible.

If the Letter of Inquiry fits within USJF’s funding guidelines and there is interest, the applicant will be invited to prepare a Full Proposal. Click here to see a description of the Full Proposal format and content guidelines. Please note that unsolicited Full Proposals will not be reviewed and will not be returned to the applicant.

Application Deadlines

The Foundation welcomes Letters of Inquiry anytime during the year, but not later than December 15 for the Spring Grant Cycle and July 15 for the Fall Grant Cycle. The Foundation cannot guarantee that Letters of Inquiry received after these dates will be considered for the current grant cycle. Letters of Inquiry will be reviewed and decisions to invite a Full Proposal will be sent as soon as possible.

Full Proposals must be received by January 31 for the Spring Cycle and August 31 for the Fall Cycle. The USJF Board meets in April and October when funding decisions are made. Funding decisions are announced shortly after these meetings.

April Funding Cycle
By December 15 Suggested submission date for Letters of Inquiry. Please note that in spite of this deadline, applicants are encouraged to submit a Letter of Inquiry as early as practicably possible for review. We are unable to guarantee that those submitted close to the deadline will be reviewed and they may have to wait for the next cycle.
December 15 – January 15 Letters of Inquiry will be reviewed and responses sent as soon as possible.
January 31 Deadline for receipt of Full Proposal (only invited Full Proposals will be considered)
February/March Internal / External review of Full Proposals
April USJF Board of Trustees meet to review Full Proposals, make funding decisions
May Funding decisions announced

October Funding Cycle
By July 15 Suggested submission date for Letters of Inquiry. Please note that in spite of this deadline, applicants are encouraged to submit a Letter of Inquiry as early as practicably possible for review. We are unable to guarantee that those submitted close to the deadline will be reviewed and they may have to wait for the next cycle.
July 15 – July 31 Letters of Inquiry will be reviewed and responses sent as soon as possible.
August 31 Deadline for receipt of Full Proposal (only invited full proposals will be considered)
September Internal / External review of Full Proposals
October USJF Board of Trustees meet to review Full Proposals, make funding decisions
November Funding decisions announced


Notes and Limitations

Before applying for a grant, please take the time to carefully review the following notes and limitations:

  • The following types of projects fall outside of the Foundation’s guidelines: undergraduate education, sports exchanges, publication subsidies (unless directly related to a current USJF project), and scientific research. Grants cannot be made to individuals or for-profit organizations. Foundation grants may not be used for lobbying or to support election to public offices. The Foundation does not award grants as contributions to capital campaigns, endowment funds, deficit operations or for the construction or maintenance of buildings or other physical premises.
  • The Foundation accepts no responsibility for keeping any part of a request confidential and reserves the right to discuss a proposal with outside consultants to assist the program staff in its evaluation.
  • The Foundation limits overhead expenses to 10% of the total project budget.

Contact Information
The United States-Japan Foundation
145 East 32nd Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 481-8753
Questions about the Grants
should be directed to David Janes,
Director of Foundation Grants at
(212) 481-8757 or via e-mail at
programs@us-jf.org