The Sarah Ralston Foundation seeks to fund organizations serving vulnerable and underserved older adults residing in Philadelphia County. Organizations may be based outside of Philadelphia County.


The Sarah Ralston Foundation seeks transformative impact on the lives of vulnerable and underserved older adults. It does so by providing general operating support and innovative project support.
  • Older Adults typically refers to those who are 60 and older.  
  • Vulnerable refers to a disproportionate risk of some adverse events, in this case risk of an undesirable quality of life. 
  • Underserved refers to insufficient access to services, or deficient quality of services received at multiple levels – public and private institutions, family, and community.   In the health care field, underserved refers to unequal access of health care and unequal health care treatment (health care delivery). Ralston’s view of service also encompasses deficient services related to social factors (food, transportation, socialization, finances, etc.).

General Operating Support and Innovative Project Support Grant Cycles are two distinct and individual review and award processes.

Supports a nonprofit organization’s mission rather than specific projects or programs. General operating support is the working capital needed to sustain day-to-day operations.

Supports organizations and projects that seek to develop or expand the scope of models that improve the delivery of health care or respond to social factors that influence health and quality of life. Innovative project support develops, extends, tests, and evaluates approaches to what sometimes seem to be intractable challenges.  Innovative initiatives should be more effective than, and should ultimately displace, prevailing approaches. The support is intended for older adult serving projects pursuing bold new approaches or opportunities that could lead to significant change. Examples include but are not limited to: 

  • Projects intended to discover new and better ways of solving pervasive problems that impact older adults. 
  • Seemingly small interventions that that when scaled, can have significant impact to addressing a big problem. 
  • Organizations and projects led by entrepreneurial leadership teams who are skilled at testing new ideas. 


Grantmaking Area Application Deadline Decision Notification 
General Operating Support April 1 May 31
Innovative Project Support September 1 November 15
Grantmaking Area Application Deadline Decision Notification 
General Operating Support April 1 May 31
Innovative Project Support September 1 November 15


Funding Areas

The population of older adults is growing in Philadelphia, and their needs are becoming more diverse.  According to the Community Health Needs Assessment 2022, the key challenges of older adults in Philadelphia include: chronic health problems like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, COPD, and chronic pain; mental and behavioral health concerns; social isolation and loneliness; access to transportation, green space, healthy and affordable food, and health care and medications. 


The Sarah Ralston Foundation will address these challenges by funding services and programs that include: 

  • Access to affordable, equitable and high-quality care
  • Behavioral and mental health issues
  • Caregiver support (family and significant others)
  • Care coordination
  • Housing
  • Homelessness
  • Loneliness and social isolation issues

Organization Types

The Foundation considers applications for General Operating Support and Innovative Project Support from the following types of organizations: 
  • Organizations where older adults can go to receive services and socialization (e.g., Senior Centers, Adult Day, and Behavioral and Mental Health Programs); 
  • Organizations that provide in-home services (e.g., Home Maintenance Programs, Food Programs, but excluding those services paid for by insurance), Organizations that provide Caregiver Support and Care Coordination;
  • Organizations that provide programs that support those older adults living in the community (e.g., Information & Resources, Transportation, Food Programs, Housing Programs, Homelessness, Companionship Services, and Virtual Programs and other programs targeting loneliness and social isolation issues). 
The Foundation considers applications for Innovative Project Support from all types of organizations, particularly those that possess specific operational knowledge, but the project for which support is being sought must focus on serving older adults residing in Philadelphia County.

Grant Sizes

General Operating Support grants generally range between $5,000 – $50,000 annually.
  • The Foundation invites eligible organizations to apply for single year grants.
Innovative Project Support grants generally range between $25,000 – $125,000 annually. 
  • The Foundation recognizes that innovative projects take time to develop and therefore provides multiyear support up to 3 years. 
  • The Foundation welcomes the opportunity to co-fund innovative projects with other funders. 


  • The Sarah Ralston Foundation uses the grantmaking system Foundant to request information/applications, conduct review, and process requests. Click here to access the system.
  • Each of the grantmaking areas has a different deadline. Please review the specific area to determine when to apply.
  • If you are an eligible organization in Philadelphia County, you can apply for a grant in each category within a single fiscal year. Check each area’s page to learn more about their guidelines and deadlines.

Have Questions?

Check out our FAQ page.