The John P. Murphy Foundation


The John P. Murphy Foundation currently is not accepting applications from new grant seekers. That is, if you previously have not received a grant from the Foundation, you may not apply for a grant prior to December 31, 2009. Please visit our website again in January 2010 to determine if this policy has been changed.


While all final decisions on grants rest with the Distribution Committee, the Committee tries to respect and generally follow the practices of giving as established by John P. Murphy during his lifetime. The following general guidelines may assist grant seekers in preparing their applications:

  1. In considering the merits of an application, several matters are evaluated:
    a) Degrees of benefit to community.
    b) Capability of organization and its personnel.
    c) Adequacy of proposed action to be meaningful in the problem undertaken.
    d) Cooperation with other organizations in same field.
    e) Appropriateness of time.
    f) Support from other foundations, agencies and individuals.
  2. In determining priorities of grants, consideration is given to:
    a) Seriousness of the problem being addressed and necessity for action.
    b) Possibility of meaningful action from grant.
    c) Implementation of proven or to be proven research and development.
    d) Actions of other funding sources.
  3. Grants will only be made where there is fiscal responsibility including adequate accounting procedures and an annual audit.
  4. At the discretion of the Foundation periodic reports may be imposed as part of the grant.
  5. Primary concern of the Foundation is Cuyahoga County, Ohio and its immediately adjacent counties.
  6. Grants to national or regional institutions with broad public support will be made only for startup programs where time is a factor or where the proposal addresses a specific local community need.
  7. No grants will be made to endowment funds or for scholarships.
  8. Equipment purchased with funds from grants becomes the property of the organization to which the grant was made, provided such equipment is not diverted from the purpose of the grant while the project is in progress.
  9. All grants will be made in accordance with the laws governing private foundations to organizations properly classified by the Internal Revenue Service as being eligible to receive grants. Each applicant must file its most recent IRS letter of classification with each proposal.
  10. If between the time of making a grant and the payment(s) thereof any event of a substantial nature changes the grant seeker's organizational structure, operations, tax or legal status or competitive environment, the Foundation may, at its discretion, advance, postpone, reschedule or cancel any future payment.


Feeling the proper role of a foundation is to assist organizations to become established and thereafter to provide support that enhances rather than simply maintains those organizations, the Foundation established a policy in 1995 that is meant to curtail the growth of support to Annual Operating Funds, or their equivalents. This policy affects only those non-profit organizations or institutions that charge the general public fees to attend performances, exhibitions and other offerings and must seek funds from other sources including foundations.

Grants awarded in 1995 and thereafter to such Annual Funds will be limited to no more than awarded in 1994 and may be less. Further, the Foundation cautions each prior recipient of awards for Annual Funds to be wary of assuming continuous annual support from the Foundation for general operating purposes.

In establishing this policy, the Foundation hopes to encourage each of the non-profit organizations referred to above to improve marketing skills to make the organization more attractive to the general public. The growth of interest of the general public as measured by attendance, by private and public support, by general public acclaim and by ticket revenue will be used to determine which organizations will continue to receive annual operating support from the Foundation.


Because of the very fortunate stock markets of 1997 and 1998 which provided the Foundation with an extraordinary growth of assets, it was decided to make an extra-special grant in the memory of John P. Murphy and the principals for which he stood. While recognizing the grant was not in keeping with the guidelines of the Foundation, the trustees awarded a grant of $5,000,000 (payable over five years) to the University of Notre Dame to establish chairs in that university's Law School on Morals and Ethics in Law. John Murphy was an exceptionally moral and ethical individual who felt the law should always reflect the highest standards of morality. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first chairs of ethics and morals in law in the Country.


Grant applications should be sent to:

John P. Murphy Foundation
50 Public Square, Suite 600
Cleveland, Ohio 44113-2267
Phone: (216) 623-4770
FAX: (216) 623-4773

All requesting organizations are required to submit such requests on a John P. Murphy Foundation Application for Grant. The Foundation will accept a computer-generated request that follows the outline of the Application for Grant form.

Each Application for Grant will be considered by the Distribution Committee of the Foundation. The Distribution Committee meets quarterly but not on any precise schedule. To be sure your application is on the closest agenda, it must be filed at least six weeks before the meeting date. Call the office to determine the exact date of the next meeting.

Attention: Grant seekers are generally better served when their requests are submitted early in a cycle. The Distribution Committee considers requests in the order received and quite frequently commits its allocated funds before the entire list of requests has been reviewed. Therefore, those who rush in at the deadline risk rejection or delay of consideration.

In submitting the Application for Grant, it is requested that an original plus five (5) copies (making six in total) be submitted. Only one copy of any additional information should be submitted and that should be attached to the original of the Application for Grant. If there is insufficient space on the application form to adequately respond to any of the requested information, additional sheets may be added. The application should not include notebooks, binders or plastic folders. The submission may be made in person, by mail or by messenger.

One of the guiding principles of this Foundation is the belief that it is very important to develop good working relationships between grant seekers and the Foundation. This entails full and current knowledge of each party by the other. The grant seeker is always welcome to inquire if the submission of a request is timely and appropriate, to ask about the status of any submitted request, to submit additional information that might be helpful to the Distribution Committee in making its decision, or to explore with the Foundation methods and opportunities to accomplish its role more effectively and efficiently. Likewise, the Foundation may sometimes ask the grant seeker to submit additional information or arrange for a field visit by one of its officers.

The President is empowered to notify any applicant prior to a meeting if the request is not in keeping with the guidelines, the present interests of the Foundation, or the reasonability of the Foundation to fund the request.

Special Note: The Foundation acknowledges each request by mail and if acceptable, assigns a reference number and reports that number back to the requesting party. At the time of the acknowledgement, the date of the Distribution Committee meeting at which the application is to be considered will be specified.

It is our policy to notify by mail all requesting parties of the action taken within two weeks after the meeting. It is sincerely appreciated when grant seekers do not call the Foundation until they have received the letter. If there is some urgency in knowing the action taken on the request, please so indicate at the time of request.