Ray Solem Foundation



The Ray Solem Foundation was created to carry out the directions stated by Richard Ray Solem (known to family and friends as Ray) before his death on January 4, 2006. He wrote, "I have always been driven by an internal sense of purpose - a belief that service to mankind should take precedence over personal comfort, status or accumulation of assets." Ray wanted the bulk of his estate to support finding creative ways to help low-income immigrants advance within the United States of America and become productive citizens, a goal furthered through his charitable foundation. An entrepreneur in his own right, Ray took a personal interest in the challenges faced by immigrants. Moreover, he excelled in thinking "outside the box" and strived to find unusual and effective methods that overcame obstacles to achieving goals.

The foundation provides grants to organizations throughout the United States that support creative ways for helping immigrants in the United States become productive and valued members of society. Current priority for funding will be given to organizations that help victims of human trafficking and domestic violence and/or unaccompanied immigrant youth.

Grants are made for one (1) year only. Applicants may re-apply in each new funding cycle. Priority is given to applicants with incomes under $1 million. The maximum grant award is $10,000.

The Ray Solem Foundation will not consider grants to the following types of organizations or for the following purposes:

  • Individuals;
  • Operational deficits;
  • Religious organizations for explicit religious activities, as distinguished from social or educational activities;
  • Partisan activities;
  • Fraternal organizations, labor, societies, or other;
  • National fund-raising efforts;
  • 501(c)(4) organizations or lobbying activities;
  • Organizations whose overhead percentage is more than 20% of total expenses
  • Brand-new projects that have not yet been piloted.

Applications are due no later than April 30 of the current calendar year.

Applications must be submitted by e-mail to memerson@raysolemfund.org. Mailed applications, either paper or thumb drive, are not accepted. Requests must be in 12-point font, 1-inch margins, PDF format. No more than 15% of direct costs may be requested for indirect costs. Total submission should not exceed five (5) pages, not including the project budget and supplementary information such as brochures or annual reports. The budget narrative is included in the 5-page limit.

Each application must include the following:

  • Executive summary (250 words or less) that states the problem your project addresses and the amount of funding requested.
  • Organization background, mission, record of achievement, and connection to RSF priority areas of focus.
  • Project description including goals and objectives.
  • Implementation plan including intended impact.
  • Expected outcomes and evaluation plan including how you plan to measure the success of the project.
  • Project budget narrative. Include matching funds if applicable.

Revised Feb. 2019



This is Ray's autobiography, called Tracks (a pdf), describing his early years and his professional life. He wrote it for his children in 1999, seven years before his death.


Past Winners

Washington monument

These are links to web sites of public schools and non-profit organizations that have received awards from the Ray Solem Foundation for their innovative approaches to helping immigrants. (links worked on March 10, 2019)


You can contact Marianne Emerson, the president of the Ray Solem Foundation, at memerson@raysolemfund.org or 202-486-4143.