Proposal Guidelines

Full Proposal Guidelines & Suggested Grant Proposal Format

The United States-Japan Foundation makes every effort to maintain a simple and clear application format. If at any time you have questions regarding the proposal format or application guidelines in general, please contact the Foundation.

While grant proposals may vary in content, style, and length, USJF would appreciate it if the following suggestions were adopted. This format is for those applying for new grants only; please refer to the suggested renewal guidelines if you are applying for a second, or in rare cases, a third year of funding.

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.

General Information

The final proposal must be written in English. Two copies of the proposal are requested. Please also submit an electronic version of narrative portion of the proposal to David Janes, Director of Foundation Grants, at

Overall Length of the Proposal

Please keep the length of the narrative portion (i.e. excluding the budget, resumes, and other appendix items) of the proposal to approximately 4,000 words or under. The proposal may be single or double-spaced. Proposals are circulated among the USJF staff and occasionally to anonymous outside reviewers. If your project is recommended to the Board of Trustees for funding, the Board will only see a summarized version of your proposal. Therefore, the content of your proposal is more important than the presentation.

Cover Sheet

Please complete the USJF cover sheet and submit it with your final proposal.
(PDF 84KB | Word Doc 28KB)


In one brief paragraph, please explain the who, what, where, when, how, and why of the project.

Project Description

Please describe what your project would look like if carried out as planned. Be as specific as possible, elaborating on words like study, explore, and examine. Detail who will be involved and how the proposed project will contribute to improved US-Japan relations. Explain why this project is needed at this particular time and provide details on the state of the field (e.g., what, if any other, similar projects have been or are being conducted on this topic or a similar topic), and elaborate on what is distinct or unique about your project. If your project is a multi-faceted one, please place the emphasis on the portion of the project that is being considered for the grant, rather than on the description of the entire project. (Approx. 1,500 words)


Please state the specific objectives that your project will achieve. Who will your project impact in the short term and long-term? How will these objectives impact the field a whole? (Approx. 250 words)


Although there may be some overlap between this section and the description section of your proposal, this is the place to emphasize how your project will accomplish its goals. What are the steps you will take to ensure the project is successful? Please include a detailed timeline of how the project will proceed. (Approx. 1,250 words)


Explain how you plan to disseminate and sustain the impact of the project’s outcome? In what way will your project continue after funding from the Foundation is complete? (Approx. 500 words)

About the Applying Institution(s)

Please explain why your institution and the personnel involved (and your collaborating institutions) are qualified, or best qualified, to conduct this project. Please focus on the relevant qualifications. (Approx. 500 words)

Complete Budget

Please include a complete budget (i.e. please show the entire cost of your project even if your are asking the Foundation to consider only a fraction of that cost). The budget should be calculated and presented according to the USJF budget guidelines (see below). The grant may be requested in US dollars and / or Japanese Yen.

Tax-exempt Status

For US-based organizations, please submit a copy of your IRS determination letter indicating you are a 501(c)(3) organization or are tax exempt for some other reason. Japan-based organizations are requested to submit some form of documentation demonstrating their nonprofit status; please consult with Foundation staff if there are questions. The Foundation does not make grants to individuals.

Optional Appendix Items

It is helpful for the Foundation to receive resumes from the main people involved in your project. In addition, you may feel free to include other information such as letters of support and annual reports which might help us understand your organization and project better. (Please note that the Foundation will not be able to return these items).

Suggested Budget Format

Note: included figures are for illustrative purposes only and are NOT meant to reflect real, or realistic costs.

Items Amount Requested  from  USJF Amount from other sources* Total Proposed Amount
I. Salary $50,000 $25,000 $75,000
Project Director(25% time for 12 months) $25,000 $25,000 $50,000
Administrative Assistant (50% time for 12 months) $15,000 $0 $15,000
Secretary (50% time for 12 months) $10,000 $0 $10,000
II. Consultants $4,200 $4,200 $8,400
International Education Consultant (2 days @ $200 per day) $200 $200 $400
Curriculum Consultant (3 days @ $500 per day) $1,500 $1,500 $3,000
Japan/America Scholar(s) (5 days @ $500 per day) $2,500 $2,500 $5,000
III. Travel $26,700 $30,700 $57,400
Tokyo-New York (5 people @ $1,500 per trip x 2 trips) $5,000 $10,000 $15,000
Hotel (5 people @ $150 per day x 10 days x 2 trips) $15,000 $15,000 $30,000
Meals (5 people @ $40 per day x 2 trips) $400 $400 $800
Admission Fees (i.e. museums and cultural events) $300 $300 $600
In-country transportation (5 people @ $400 x 3 trips) $6,000 $5,000 $11,000
IV. Program Costs $400 $400 $800
Books (5 people x 2 books @ $20 each) $200 $200 $400
Curriculum Materials $200 $200 $400
V. Publications $10,000 $5,000 $15,000
1,000 copies x 15 page report $10,000 $5,000 $15,000
Subtotal $91,300 $65,300 $156,600
Overhead $9,130 $6,530 $15,660
TOTAL $100,430 $71,830 $172,260

*Please state the name of the foundation(s)/donor(s) which have either been contacted or have extended funding.

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