What types of grants are made?

The Plough Foundation recognizes there are many pressing social and economic issues facing Memphis and Shelby County. Our grant-making reflects those needs as well as concentrates resources in areas of special interest, selected periodically by our Trustees. We recognize that the needs of our community are constantly shifting, so the Foundation maintains the flexibility to respond to those changes.


Examples of some of the types of grants recently approved include:

  • College attainment and workforce development initiatives for adults and the underemployed
  • Family violence prevention
  • Academic excellence at our colleges and universities
  • Teacher effectiveness in grades K-12
  • Anti-crime and anti-recidivism
  • Substance abuse and mental health
  • Chronic homelessness
  • Arts expansion and sustainability
  • Parks, trails and other quality of life amenities
  • Anti-hunger and food desert elimination
  • Health care delivery systems

The Foundation makes awards quarterly for a variety of programs across many different sectors.

What kinds of requests will NOT be considered by the Foundation?

  • Projects outside the Memphis/Shelby County area
  • Individuals
  • Lobbying activities or advocacy campaigns
  • Annual fund-raising events, e.g dinners, galas, and tournaments
  • Conferences and seminars
  • "Crisis management" situations caused by poor planning or poor execution
  • Private schools K-12
  • Debt retirement

Does my organization qualify?

As a private independent foundation, the Plough Foundation only makes grants to 501c(3) entities exempted by the IRS from federal income tax.

Additionally, the Foundation will fund programs and requests that directly benefit the citizens of Shelby County. To be precise, an organization can be located in Shelby County and propose a grant for Shelby County citizens or the organization may be located outside of Shelby County, but proposing to spend the funds exclusively in Shelby County.

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