1/3rd Threshold

The Open Society Foundations has a long-standing principle of limiting funding of most organizations to no more than one-third of the annual budget. The overall context, policies, memos, FAQ are available at the GMSG resource center on KARL and in the Open Society Foundations help manual for Foundation Connect, at the following links:



Grants that push OSF’s overall contribution over one-third of the grantee’s expenditures from their most recently completed fiscal year can be considered for funding but should be approved by the President.

FC will automatically calculate the One-Third Threshold based on the grantee’s active Annual Expenditures (AE) from the previous grantee fiscal year. Banner messages will appear on organization, proposal, docket write-up and docket pages when the threshold is crossed or may potentially be crossed. At this time, the system will not re-route or block the grant approval process if the one-third threshold is crossed.

In order for FC to make such a calculation the GO should review the following information:

Confirm that program staff have created and completed an Annual Expenditure record on the grantee’s organization record for the most recently completed fiscal year. This should be done before a proposal is placed into compliance review.

In the case of complex organizations, make sure that the entity implementing the project to be supported by the grant is assigned as the Grantee (on the proposal record) and the Annual Expenditure record has been created/completed for that entity (on the organization record). This means that sometimes an entity that is not a legal entity will need to provide an estimated annual expenditure amount – for example an institute of a university or a collection of legal entities that functionally operate as one (like OSF does).

Inform program staff that the grant will need to be sent for presidential approval in a separate docket.

The naming convention is “One Third Rule: Level 1 Program Name, Date of Submission”.

Use a system to confirm that the appropriate approval was requested.

Some GOs use the tag “One Third Rule Violation”

If the approval isn’t obtained by the appropriate approver, the proposal record should reverted back to “Generate Docket Write-Up” status and the program should be alerted.

This should occur prior to processing the grant letter.

You should also use the public tag “Budget Rule Scenario” for cases where the calculation is complex, in order to help future enhancement in FC .


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