The world of Dr. Seuss is one in which anything's possible. At the Dr. Seuss Foundation, we approach literacy with the same spirit. We fund programs that promote learning, foster imagination, and help expand opportunities for all.
The mission of the Dr. Seuss Foundation is to foster literacy in all its forms by financially supporting and partnering with organizations that share this goal. The values that guide us in this mission are a direct reﬂection of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s own beliefs.
We support educational approaches that promote literacy and embrace learning through life experiences.
We value creativity, art, and humor. We believe learning and imagination are inextricably linked.
We are committed to diversity in voice, experience, and interests. We strive to expand equitable opportunities for all.
We are all in this together. We foster strong communities through collaboration and engaged participation.
1904 – 1921
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 2, 1904. He entered Dartmouth College in 1921, where he first adopted the “Seuss” pen name while writing for the college humor magazine, Jack-O-Lantern.
1922 - 1947
Ted received his B.A. degree in English from Dartmouth College in 1925 and married Helen Marion Palmer in 1927. In 1937, after numerous rejections, he published his first Dr. Seuss children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, based on his childhood adventures in Springfield. Over the next decade, Ted wrote four more books, published hundreds of political cartoons, and co-wrote the Academy Award®–winning documentary, Design for Death.
studio in La Jolla, California, in the 1950s
1948 - 1967
In 1948, Ted and Helen moved to La Jolla, California, where both became active members of the community and served on several nonprofit boards. In 1951, Ted co-wrote the animated short, Gerald McBoing-Boing, his second Academy Award®–winning film. The Cat in the Hat was published to immediate acclaim in 1957, prompting Ted and Helen to create the Dr. Seuss Foundation. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and Green Eggs and Ham followed in quick succession.
1968 - 1983
Helen died in 1967, and Ted married Audrey Stone Dimond in 1968. Over the next 15 years, Dr. Seuss published dozens more books for children. During this period, Ted was honored with two Primetime Emmy® Awards, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, and a Peabody Broadcasting Award.
1984 – Present
In 1984, Ted Geisel received a Pulitzer Prize for his “special contribution over nearly half a century to the education and enjoyment of America’s children and their parents.” Theodor Seuss Geisel died on September 24, 1991. Two years later, Audrey Geisel founded Dr. Seuss Enterprises. In 1995, the University of California San Diego renamed its main library in honor of both Ted and Audrey.
Dr. Seuss is awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises is formed to protect and promote the intellectual property of Dr. Seuss. All Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ profits benefit charitable organizations that focus on education, health, animal conservation, and the arts.
To date, the Dr. Seuss Foundation has gifted more than $300 million to
Geisel Fact Sheet
- Born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts
- Received a B.A. in English from Dartmouth College in 1925
- Married Helen Marion Palmer in 1927
- Published his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, in 1937
- Co-wrote two Academy Award-winning films: the documentary Design for Death (1947) and the animated short Gerald McBoing-Boing (1951)
- Co-founded Beginner Books with Helen Palmer in 1958
- Formed the Dr. Seuss Foundation in 1958
- Received two Emmys (1978-1982)
- Married Audrey S. Dimond in 1968
- Received a Pulitzer Prize in 1984
- Died on September 24, 1991 (age 87) in La Jolla, California
- Born Helen Marion Palmer on September 16, 1898,
in New York City
- Received a B.A. from Wellesley College in 1920 and an M.A. from Oxford University in 1926
- Married Theodor (Ted) Seuss Geisel in 1927
- Published her first book, Walt Disney's Surprise Package, in 1944
- Co-founded Beginner Books with Ted Geisel in 1958
- Published her final book, Why I Built the Boogle House, in 1964
- Died on October 23, 1967 (age 69) in La Jolla, California
- Born Audrey Stone on August 14, 1921, in Chicago, Illinois
- Received a B.S. in Nursing from Indiana University in 1944
- Married E. Grey Dimond, M.D. in 1945
- Married Theodor (Ted) Seuss Geisel in 1968
- Founded Dr. Seuss Enterprises in 1993
- Died on December 19, 2018 (age 97) in La Jolla, California
Claudia PrescottPresident A longtime associate of the Geisel family, Claudia Prescott serves as President of the Dr. Seuss Foundation. Her philanthropic endeavors have been recognized with numerous accolades, including the 2020 Vista Hill “In My Backyard” (IMBY) Award.
Brian SchottlaenderVice President / Treasurer Vice President and Treasurer Brian Schottlaender is a Founding Principal of re:work library consulting. From 1999 to 2017, he led the UC San Diego Library as the Audrey S. Geisel University Librarian. Brian is also the Chair of the Geisel-Seuss Enterprises Board of Directors
Ted OwensSecretary Secretary Ted Owens is a designer and filmmaker. His company, Syncronos Design, promotes sustainable technology design and is currently directing a feature-length animated film on environmental issues. Ted is also on the board of Geisel-Seuss Enterprises.
Jay HillExecutive Director Jay Hill serves as the first Executive Director of the Dr. Seuss Foundation. He was also the first CEO of the San Diego Public Library Foundation and served as the Executive Director of Gay Games IV, a worldwide sports and cultural event fostering health, empathy, and community.
Briea EmoryAdministration Manager Briea Emory is the Administration Manager for the Dr. Seuss Foundation. She brings 10 years of administrative experience to her role overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Foundation, providing executive support to the staff and Board, and collaborating with community partners.
Alexandria PapasavasAccounting Manager Alexandria Papasavas is the Accounting Manager for the Dr. Seuss Foundation. She previously worked at a large, west coast-based CPA firm and founded a minority- and woman-owned accounting and HR consulting firm providing bookkeeping, controller, HR, and CFO services.
What and who will the Dr. Seuss Foundation fund?
Our focus is on improving literacy and learning as these are essential to succeeding in the multi-layered worlds of the arts and humanities, health and well-being, animal welfare, and the environment. To be eligible for a grant, an organization must be a tax-exempt charitable organization in good standing, as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. See additional eligibility requirements under the Grant Seeker section.
What geographic areas does the Dr. Seuss Foundation support?
Currently, we fund projects in San Diego. Please note that a nonprofit does not need to be headquartered in San Diego, California to be considered, but the applying program must serve San Diego.
How do I apply for funding?
All applicants—including existing and past grantees—must register and submit letter of intent (LOI) via the Grantee Portal. If an organization can no longer access the Grantee Portal because previous contacts have left, send an email with the name/email of the new contact using our Contact Form.
What is an appropriate request amount?
Grant awards are dependent on project, organizational capacity, partnerships, and other factors. No request below $10,000 will be considered.
How many grants may an organization be awarded?
An applicant may apply as often as they like, but may only be awarded one grant per year.
Will applicants receive feedback if proposals are declined?
Due to the volume of applications received, individual feedback cannot be offered.
Does the Dr. Seuss Foundation accept meetings with applicants?
The Foundation may request a meeting after an applicant submits an LOI.
What if I have other questions?
Please send an inquiry using our Contact Form.
If you’re seeking a grant from the Dr. Seuss Foundation, please read through our FAQs as well as the eligibility and application requirements outlined on this page. If you have questions that aren’t answered on this site, feel free to contact us using the form below. For inquiries about Dr. Seuss entertainment, partnerships, or product licensing, please visit Dr. Seuss Enterprises.
The mission of the Dr. Seuss Foundation is to foster literacy in all its forms by financially supporting and partnering with organizations that share this goal. To date, the Foundation has gifted more than $300 million to charitable causes.
Funding Focus - Early Literacy
Research shows that children's earliest years—from birth to age eight—are critical for developing the social, emotional, and academic skills that lay the groundwork for later success in school and in life. Studies also note that students of color and those from underserved communities often perform at a lower level than their peers from more advantaged communities. The Dr. Seuss Foundation supports evidence-based programs which increase the number of children who enter school ready to learn and thrive, and who are proficient readers by the time they enter fourth grade.
Specifically, the Foundation supports:
- Instructional quality improvements and educational staff support
- Early education service and program expansions
- Strong, healthy starts for children and new parents
- Expanding access to programs and information that support caregivers in their role as their
child's first teacher
- Offering children extended learning opportunities that expand upon strong in-school teaching and learning
- Promoting awareness of evidence-based practices and evaluating and improving programs and services
- Advocating for expanded public funding for early learning programs
- Programs that integrate creative youth development (arts education) and environmental education into their work will receive special consideration
The Foundation will primarily make grants to organizations that support projects located within San Diego.
To be eligible for a grant from The Dr. Seuss Foundation, your organization must be a tax-exempt charitable organization in good standing, as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
What we do NOT fund:
- Grants to individuals
- Grants to private foundations or regranting organizations
- Grants for debt retirement or to cover operating deficits
- Requests for current programming or general support
- Unsolicited requests for special event or gala sponsorship
- Activities intended to influence legislation or support candidates for political office
- Activities for religious or doctrinal purposes, although faith-based organizations may apply for program support
- Organizations that do not comply with applicable laws and regulations
- Grants for endowment or capital development will be considered only rarely
The Dr. Seuss Foundation provides grants in San Diego through approved funding cycles each year, or by invitation. No grants under $10,000 will be considered. There will be one granting cycle for 2023, which will open June 1, 2023 for submissions. The anticipated application schedule is below.
- June 1: LOI submissions open 7am PT
- June 14: Optional virtual grant seeker workshop (registration details to come!)
- July 1: LOI submissions close 5pm PT
- Mid-August: Applicants notified of LOI decisions via email
- Mid-September: Full Proposals due
- November: Applicants notified of Full Proposal decisions via email
- November: Grant agreements finalized, funding disbursements made
Letter of Intent (LOI) and Request for Full Proposal
All applicants must complete the LOI via the Grantee Portal. LOIs will be accepted and reviewed based on the above three funding cycles and evaluated based on eligibility and fit with Foundation priorities. Applicants will be notified via email whether they have been invited to submit a full proposal or if their request has been denied. An invitation to submit a full proposal does not guarantee funding.
Applications (LOI and full proposals) should include:
- How the proposed program will expand beyond, or add to, current programming
- What impact the proposed program is expected to have and how this impact will be measured
- Whether the proposed program is anticipated to scale and/or be adapted by others
- How the proposed program addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion
- How requested funding will be used to leverage funds and/or resources from other partners
- Note: the apply button is only activated during the open LOI submission periods.
Full Proposal Submission and Review
Applicants invited to submit a full proposal will do so via the Grantee Portal. Invited applicants will have approximately one month to submit. Guidelines for creating a budget and a recommended budget format can be found below. The review process will begin after a full proposal has been submitted. Additional information, follow-up conversations, or site visits may be requested.
Building a Budget: Direct and Indirect Costs
Dr. Seuss Foundation prefers to fund direct project costs, but understands that, particularly for smaller organizations, the recovery of indirect costs is a necessity. The Foundation calculates indirect costs as a percentage of direct project costs. If indirect costs exceed 20% of direct costs and the applicant can provide justification for the amount, the amount in excess of 20% may be accepted and the grant approved. If the applicant's explanation is insufficient to justify the higher rate, we will notify the applicant before deciding whether to proceed with approving the request. If the percentage appears reasonable, the Foundation usually approves the inclusion of indirect costs in the budget.
Direct costs are those for activities or services that benefit specific projects, e.g. salaries for project staff and materials required for a particular project. Because these activities are easily traced to projects, their costs are usually charged to projects on an item-by-item basis.
Indirect costs are those for activities or services that benefit more than one project. Their precise benefits to a specific project are often difficult or impossible to trace. For example, it may be difficult to determine precisely how the activities of the director of an organization benefit a specific project.
It is possible to justify the handling of almost any kind of cost as either direct or indirect. Labor costs, for example, can be indirect, as in the case of maintenance personnel and administrative assistants; or they can be direct, as in the case of project staff members. Similarly, materials such as miscellaneous supplies purchased in bulk — pencils, pens, paper — are typically handled as indirect costs, while materials required for specific projects are charged as direct costs.
Costs usually charged directly
- Project staff
- Project supplies
Costs either charged directly or allocated indirectly
- Telephone charges
- Computer use
- Project clerical personnel
- Postage and printing
- Miscellaneous office supplies
Costs usually allocated indirectly
- Audit and legal
- Administrative staff
- Equipment rental
In-kind contributions include materials, equipment, or services that are given without charge to the program or organization. These items should not be included in the budget of cash revenues and cash expenditures submitted with proposals to the Foundation. However, in-kind contributions should be noted in the project budget narrative. The final accounting on the grant must report against the approved budget submitted with the proposal and the actual cumulative expenditures since the start of the grant. In order to determine if all sources of funds were disbursed, actual cash expenditures are compared with actual cash revenues received; in-kind contributions are excluded from this calculation in determining if a refund is due to the Foundation.
A grant to an organization may include the purchase of capital equipment, which generally includes such items as computers, office furniture, and other items. Books purchased to enhance a library may also be considered capital equipment. On the other hand, office supplies and other consumable items are not generally considered capital equipment. Books purchased for limited research purposes are not considered capital equipment. (Indirect costs cannot be included in direct costs.)
Budgets submitted should include 1) itemized budget for the entire project (or for the amount requested) including all revenue sources known to date, and 2) justification showing how each budget line item relates to the project and how the budgeted amount was calculated.
Budgets are generally broken down into two main sections: personnel costs and non-personnel costs. Salaries and benefits should include all staff salaries allocated to the project. Each position and percentage of time devoted to the project should also be identified. Contracted services, including an estimation of the hours and hourly rate, should be listed separately from salaries. Supporting details should also be provided for all other major non-personnel line items.
Example of preferred budget format
Example of a sample budget
Applicants will be notified via email once decisions have been made. If awarded, an applicant will receive a grant agreement for review and signature pending any additional due diligence requirements. The grant agreement will outline reporting and other requirements. Payment of the grant is typically processed within 30 days of the signed agreement being received. Receiving a grant does not guarantee future funding.
The Dr. Seuss Foundation is committed to transparency. An independent, professional accounting firm audits our financial statements annually.