Private Sector Partners

We welcome private sector partners who want to create charitable social and environmental impacts alongside financial returns. For-profit partners can apply through our Pitch Competition or through our General Program-Related Investment (PRI) Application.

Our For-Profit Social-Impact Investments program enables us to work with corporations and capital markets to pursue promising opportunities for charitable purposes that promote social good and address market failures. We primarily use PRIs to provide funding to private sector partners. 


What is a PRI?

A PRI is a financing tool that allows foundations to provide funding to businesses to create solutions to social problems in furtherance of the foundation’s charitable purposes. PRIs can take many forms, including loans, equity investments, or financial guaranties. Foundations do expect a PRI to be repaid according to the terms of the investment. When that happens, a foundation distributes the returned funds to other charitable purposes within one year. 


How is a PRI from a foundation different from other types of investments in a company?

The primary goal of a PRI is to achieve charitable benefit. The IRS allows a foundation to provide a PRI if the investment fulfills all three of the following criteria:

  • The primary purpose is to accomplish one or more of the foundation's exempt purposes,
  • Production of income or appreciation of property is not a significant purpose, and
  • Influencing legislation or taking part in political campaigns on behalf of candidates is not a purpose.

The IRS provides additional nuanced guidance that further clarifies each of these criterion. We encourage you to consult with your legal counsel and review the IRS guidance and other resources about philanthropic PRIs before you submit an application.



The Richard King Mellon Foundation is looking to invest in novel products, technologies, or services from social-mission oriented for-profit companies through our Pitch Competition.

Pitched ideas must align with the Foundation’s program areas in Economic DevelopmentEconomic Mobility, Health and Well-Being, or Conservation.

Winning ideas will receive the following investments:

First Prize: $500,000

Second Prize: $300,000

Third Prize: $200,000

Applications are due September, 1, 2021 at 12pm ET

For more information, please visit the Foundation's SII Pitch Competition Page



For those that do not want to participate in the Pitch Competition, the Foundation's general PRI application is the starting point for a rigorous due diligence process which will unfold over several months. 

There is no deadline for the General PRI Applications.

Your company may incur legal fees during this process, for which the Richard King Mellon Foundation cannot provide reimbursement. Also, your leadership team and other staff will need to dedicate time to meeting with Foundation staff, providing materials, and answering questions. 


Step 1: Submit an Initial Application 

The first step in the PRI application process is for you to submit a proposal through the PRI application portal on our website. In the application, you will provide information about your company and how your company contributes to broader social good. We will also ask for information about where that proposed charitable benefit will occur.  


The Foundation’s staff and legal counsel will use this information to conduct an initial assessment of whether a proposed PRI aligns with our 2021-2030 strategy and meets the charitable purpose requirements. We may reach out to you with additional questions as we review your application. Our assessment of your initial application can take up to several months to complete. If we determine that your initial proposal is not a good candidate for a PRI, we will inform you and decline your application. If we determine that your initial proposal is a good candidate for further consideration, we will invite you to submit an expanded proposal.


 Step 2: Complete an Expanded Proposal (invitation only)

The second step in the PRI application is for you to submit an expanded proposal. The expanded proposal requires you to provide further detail about your business plan and the charitable benefit that your organization proposed to further with funding. Submitting the expanded proposal initiates an even deeper level of due diligence that may take several more months to complete. During this due diligence, you may be asked to participate in a site visit from Foundation staff, meetings between Foundation staff and your company’s executive team, and thorough legal analysis of your business’s financials and operations. 


Start the General PRI application Here


Start the Pitch Competition application Here


Saved Pitch Competition or General PRI applications Here


If you have additional questions, please contact us at