Proposals will be considered only for the following purposes.

  • Specific basic, medical research projects dealing with cancer, heart disease, or AIDS

  • Only four-year universities and colleges with MSCHE accreditation having financial aid programs for needy, worthy, full-time undergraduate students (No request ever is accepted directly from an individual student.)

  • To provide shelter, food or clothing for needy children (including low-income families with dependent children) or low-income elderly age 60 and above.

    The Trustees endeavor to keep abreast of the needs and conditions in the area served by the Trust and variations from these policies may be made at their discretion.

  • Support to non-profit organizations in the Philadelphia, Delaware River, area for maritime educational activities designed to: preserve historic maritime resources, increase public awareness, develop an appreciation for the maritime heritage of Philadelphia, or teach basic or advanced maritime skills.


As of 2016, the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust’s Cancer & AIDS Research Distribution Meeting and the Trust’s Heart Disease Research Distribution Meeting have been combined. There will no longer be two separate medical research meetings to review and approve grants. The new medical research distribution meeting encompassing all three of the Trust’s research funding areas will be held in mid-October.

The NEW DEADLINE for Cancer, AIDS, and Heart Disease Research Proposals is JULY 15.

Grant proposals must be received no later than July 15 for Heart Disease, Cancer and AIDS research. When this date falls on a holiday or weekend, the Trust’s deadline is 4:30 p.m. on the last business day before that holiday or weekend. Each application must be submitted in quadruplicate and accompanied by a copy of the most recent audited financial statements as well as a complete copy of the current 990 for the researcher’s institution.

Projects to be funded should be for one year. It is Trust policy that proposals not request funds for equipment alone. Copies of all published material relevant to a proposed research project should be made available to the Trust both before and after a grant is made. Unused grant funds must be returned to the Trust promptly so that other scientists may benefit from the relinquishment of those funds.

Up to two proposals can be submitted per parent organization if there are separate tax IDs underneath, with a preference to giving only one award per institution. Each of the proposals must be submitted under a separate tax ID.

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Proposals for grants to colleges and universities are by invitation only, must be received by April 1, and will be awarded at the May Trustee meeting. Colleges are required to screen financial aid applicants and award the Trust’s scholarships only to full-time students, in good academic standing, who are considered most needy and worthy, and are permanent residents of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, as well as the City of Camden, New Jersey.

Proposals should detail the selection process suggested to identify qualified students whose financial needs are not being met by existing policies. Each Smith Scholar is required to write the Trustees a thank you letter.

Recipient institutions are visited biennially by Trust staff and/or Trustees. No grants are made for endowment, equipment, construction, capital campaigns, annual giving or other purposes.

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Through the Basic Needs program, the Trust awards grants to nonprofit organizations that provide food, clothing, or shelter assistance to children and older adults who reside within the five-county Greater Philadelphia region (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties) or the City of Camden, NJ. Proposals are accepted on a continuous basis. Applications received by December 15th will be reviewed by the Trustees in March or April; those received by June 15th will be reviewed in September or October. Review our guidelines for complete details.

Please click here to download our Basic Needs guidelines, including eligibility criteria and allowable uses of grant funds.

Apply Online
Ready to apply?  Click here to access our online application.

The Trust no longer accepts hard copy or emailed applications. Please contact us if you need assistance with the online application: or 610-397-1844.

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This program is restricted to the Philadelphia waterfront and funds only non-profit organizations whose main purpose is maritime education and/or maritime heritage preservation, and the preservation of the Gazela.

Proposals are accepted for the following submission deadline dates: December 15, June 15, and July 15. Proposals will be reviewed at the Trustees meeting corresponding to the appropriate deadline date.

The W. W. Smith Charitable Trust Project Summary Sheet must accompany each proposal.

Information Necessary for a Complete Maritime Proposal
Failure to include all documents will delay processing of proposal
Full application may NOT be submitted electronically

On separate pages please enclose:

  1. A cover letter stating the amount requested, including description and justification of the proposed project
  2. Completed W. W. Smith Charitable Trust Proposal Summary Sheet, from the above link
  3. Description of the project and explanation of how the grant will affect your program
  4. Complete project budget and timetable
  5. Current fiscal year operating budget of the organization
  6. List of top sources of funding (up to 5) in the last fiscal year for the organization
  7. Current Board list, including members’ employment affiliations, special areas of expertise, and years of service
  8. Summary of how the Board functions:
    1. Is it a working or fundraising board?
    2. Do all members participate and how?
    3. How many times do they meet in a year?
    4. Describe committees, if applicable.
    5. Do you have a strategic plan? Explain
  9. One paragraph description of key staff, including qualifications relevant to this request
  10. The most current complete IRS 990
  11. The most current audited financial statement
  12. A copy of the organization’s most current tax determination letter. If you are classified as a Supporting Organization (or Supported) 509(a)(3), please contact the Trust’s office for additional information.

Grant term is ONE YEAR.

Applicants are limited to one proposal at a time and one grant per calendar year.

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