Foundations have long created programs to provide grants to individuals—most often in the form of fellowships, scholarships, and prizes. Several of these programs have become so prominent that they are now institutions in and of themselves. Consider just a few examples: the Pulitzer Prize, Fulbright Program, and MacArthur "genius" awards. Governments, as well as foundations large and small, fund individual support programs.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has generously allowed the authors of this report to examine its portfolio of individual support programs to explore what the authors believe are some of the strategic fundamentals underlying this type of programming that could be applied to future individual support grantmaking. The purpose of this study is to inform those interested in individual support programs about not only some of the strategy considerations underlying this type of grantmaking but what these programs can be expected to achieve—and under what circumstances.