JKSFST Application

J. Kirby Simon Foreign Service Trust 

Request for Grant Applications

Due Date: September 1, 2020

The J. Kirby Simon Foreign Service Trust (“the Trust”) is a charitable fund established in memory of J. Kirby Simon, a Foreign Service Officer who died in 1995 while serving in Taiwan.  The trust makes annual grants to eligible members of the foreign service community who are engaged in volunteer activities. In 2019 we made grants to 32 applicants in 25 countries, totaling almost $70,000. 

We are currently accepting applications for our 2020 round of grants, which was postponed from spring to fall. 

Who is Eligible: All U.S. foreign service personnel and their family members who are located at American diplomatic posts anywhere in the world, regardless of nationality, who are involved with community service projects on an entirely unofficial, voluntary basis. This includes employees of any U.S. government agency who are attached to a diplomatic post and their family members. As Peace Corps volunteers [PCVs] are already volunteering, the difficulty of separating their official from their voluntary duties makes it unlikely that the Trust will fund projects submitted by PCVs. 

Types of Projects Funded: The Trust is committed to expanding the opportunities for community service. We have in the past made grants to a wide variety of projects, including teaching English, working with schools and orphanages, providing medical care, home-building, playground and sporting activities, and income-generating programs for children and adults. Our emphasis is on facilitating volunteer involvement by foreign service personnel and family members, not simply fundraising. Descriptions of past projects are available at kirbysimontrust.org. 

How to Apply: Write a short grant application following the instructions below. While we do not require a specific form, you must include the six sections below. Applications must be written in English. 

Required Sections:

1. Summary. A one-sentence description of the project, including the country and city or region where it will be carried out. Include the total dollar amount you are requesting.

2. Applicant information. For each applicant, provide the name, the government position of the applicant or of the family member to whom the applicant is related, and contact information (e-mail, phone, mailing address). Please indicate whether you would prefer to receive a check or have a grant made to a PayPal account, should you be selected for a grant.

Important: If there are multiple applicants, please designate one person as the primary applicant. This is the person we will contact with any questions about the application, so it should be somebody who will be available to respond to e-mail queries over the next few months. It greatly assists us in tracking applications if the primary applicant sends the email with the application. 

If the primary applicant is leaving post within six months, please state who will be responsible for the project after his/her departure, and provide that person’s contact information as well.

3. Full description of project. Describe the project and what it is intended to achieve, including any background information regarding why the project is needed. If you are working with a local organization, please discuss the organization’s background and the applicant’s current volunteer involvement with the organization. This section is typically 3-5 pages long. 

Important: In light of the ongoing pandemic, it would be helpful to explain how you and any organizations you are working with have adjusted your volunteer work to meet local needs and restrictions. You might also wish to explain any contingency plans should circumstances change.

4. Involvement of applicant(s). Describe the role to be played by the applicant(s) – and any other Foreign Service or other U.S. government personnel or their family members – in conducting the project. Explain how this grant will facilitate your volunteer involvement. 

5. Budget. Provide the total amount requested from the Trust and a budget for the project (in U.S. dollars). Please also comment on the likelihood of other sources for full or partial support for the project, and whether the project could be accomplished with a lower level of funding if the Trust cannot fund the full amount requested. (Most of our grants are under $4,000.) 

6. Biographical information. Brief biography of each applicant, either a paragraph or a short resume. 

Optional: Please tell us how you heard about the Kirby Simon Trust and the application deadline, and whether you or any organization you are working with has previously received a grant. 

Submitting your application:

While you are welcome to include photos and budget spreadsheets as part of your application, please combine all materials into one Word or PDF file. Name the file with the country where the project is located and last name of the primary applicant (for example, China_Smith). Please include this file name in the subject line of your email. While there is no page limit, most successful applicants can fit all required information in 8 pages or fewer. Send your application to:


If for some reason you cannot send your application to this e-mail, please write to us at this address and we can assist you with an alternative delivery method. 

Deadline: September 1, 2020. Applications will be accepted until it is midnight anywhere in the world on September 1, 2020.  Late applications will not be considered. 

It will greatly assist in our review of your proposal if you:

  • Are clear about your and others’ role in the volunteering (as distinct from just raising money).
  • Explain any unusual circumstances that might not be obvious (for example, a volunteer project that is distant from post).
  • Write out any acronyms that might not be familiar to people outside the Foreign Service, post, or your agency.

We appreciate your interest in continuing the legacy of the Trust. Please contact us at kirbysimontrust@gmail.com with any questions. 

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