Letter of Intent Template f or ENs
General Template Instructions
This template contains sample wording for a Letter of Intent (LOI), which should come from your CEO to
the designated foundation official, usually a program officer. LOI also stands for “Letter of Inquiry.”
These terms are interchangeable. You can use the template below in a few ways:
1. You can use this letter as a template for your letter by:
a. Using WORD’s search feature to find and replace ORGANIZATION with your
organization’s name and FOUNDATION with the foundation’s name, and
b. Selecting the blue text throughout the document to add your own content to the
wording presented here. The words in blue will guide you on what to write. Text in blue
print throughout this document is presented as prompts, or idea starters, for your
consideration as you compose your LOI. You do not have to answer each question. You
can, of course, also modify any of the wording NOT in blue to suit your specific needs.
2. Many foundations have their own guidelines for what they want to see in a LOI. If this is the
case, follow the foundation’s instructions exactly. You will be able to insert much of the text in
the boilerplate LOI in any foundation’s LOI format.
3. You can use this letter as an example for your own original letter. If you write your own letter
from scratch, be sure to include:
Who you are
What you do
What the project will do and how it will improve the community
o Target population; number of people to be served; geographic area
o What you hope to accomplish (outcomes)
o How you intend to accomplish it
How much funding you’re requesting and for how long
Who to contact for more information
Most foundations require that you limit your LOI to two pages. It is important to adhere to this page
limitation if requested. Even if the foundation does not have a page limitation, it is still a good idea to
keep your letter to approximately two pages. Because of this page limitation, no citations have been
included for the poverty and employment figures used in paragraph three (Background Information.) If
the foundation to which you are applying allows you to include attachments to your LOI, you can attach
the TTW Fact Sheet for Foundations, which does have citations for these figures.
Delete this page and any remaining instructions or examples from your final letter, and copy the letter
to your letterhead.
Mary Jane Smith
Dear Ms. Smith
ORGANIZATION respectfully requests a 12-month grant of $$$ from FOUNDATION to leverage Federal
funding designed to help people with significant disabilities obtain competitive employment without
losing their access to publicly funded health care. This groundbreaking opportunity is offered by the
Federal Ticket to Work (Ticket) program , which provides outcome-based payments to nonprofits and
other service providers to place and support Social Security Administration (SSA) beneficiaries with
disabilities. Of critical importance in this period of economic uncertainty, the Ticket program not only
fills a basic need by facilitating jobs for our country’s poorest citizens, but it can also generate a steady
stream of revenue that can be used to sustain ORGANIZATION’s employment program and build
organizational capacity (see linked Ticket to Work Fact Sheet for Foundations). Further, the Ticket
payments represent new Federal money that only ENs can channel into local economies.
ORGANIZATION’s track record of [define the service you provide in a phrase or two, e.g., training,
employment, job placement, etc.] to people with disabilities in [define geographical service area] since
YEAR positions it to utilize the Ticket Program to help people with disabilities now on benefits become
self-sustaining and productive workers. In addition, we anticipate that ORGANIZATION’s efforts as an
Employment Network (EN) – as providers authorized by SSA are called – will become self-sustaining via
SSA income within X years [See EN Revenue Estimator, www.cessi.net/en_estimator/, to calculate when
you think you can reach self-sufficiency]. The requested funds will be used for start-up costs to enable
us to participate effectively in the Ticket Program.
Background Information. The incidence of disability in the general population is 19%; it is even higher
in communities of color and in poor and rural communities. The poverty rate of people with disabilities
in general was nearly 25% in 2007, 2.7 times as high as for people without disabilities. People with
disabilities receiving SSA benefits fare even worse: 49% live in families with incomes below the poverty
A major factor contributing to this high poverty rate is an extremely low employment rate. According
to the Current Population Survey, the primary source of U.S. labor market statistics, this rate was
estimated at just under 19% in 2007 for people with significant disabilities, compared to an estimated
78% for people without disabilities. In [your state], the employment rate among adults with disabilities
is XX%. This is in contrast to a XX% employment rate among adults without disabilities in the state.
[See the proposal template endnotes for complete citations for the statistics in the two preceding
paragraphs. See Notes on Employment Statistics for source information for the statistics cited above,
alternative statistics, how to find statistics for your own state /county/metropolitan area, and the critical
distinction between “employment” and “unemployment” rates. ]
For people with significant disabilities, the job search can be a difficult and trying process. For those on
Social Security, the additional fear that they will lose their federal health care benefits along with SSA
cash payments when they transition to work often prevents them from attempting to become
economically independent. That is because until recently, most people with disabilities who received
SSA benefits were barred from earning a competitive wage by regulations that literally defined
‘disabled’ as ‘unable to work.’ Loss of cash benefits also meant loss of the Medicare and/or Medicaid
coverage that accompanied those benefits.
Recognizing these complications, the Ticket to Work Program was enacted in 1999 to make it possible
for SSA beneficiaries with disabilities to work while addressing their fears of losing crucial, often life -
preserving, health benefits. Under the Ticket program, all working age disability beneficiaries receive a
Ticket, which they can exchange for free employment-related services delivered by any provider
authorized by SSA to serve as an “Employment Network” (EN). The ENs, in turn, receive payments from
SSA when their clients reach employment milestones and/or outcomes. Significantly, the Ticket
program contains a provision allowing many beneficiaries to keep their Medicare benefits for an
extended period of time and/or to ‘buy-in’ to Medicaid.
Ticket funding is flexible and unrestricted, which enables ENs to provide any type of employment-
related service an individual might need and offers ENs the opportunity to define their own niche as
specialty service providers within the EN network. The range of services includes, but is not limited to,
job development and placement, job coaching, providing tools and transportation for new jobs, referrals
for employment-related health services, and benefits planning and work incentives counseling.
Project Description. Begin with a sentence or two about your EN status. Possibilities: when did you get
EN status, mention focus of services provided, number of clients trained/placed, income received by your
organization. ORGANIZATION is the sole EN or ORGANIZATION is one of X ENs in geographic area
available to serve X prospective clients. This provides critical quantification of the potential of your
project. Be certain to include the duration of your grant request, usually 12-24 months. [See
www.socialsecurity.gov/work/tickettracker.html for an up-to-date chart showing national and state-by-
state totals of Tickets issued and assigned, as well as the number of ENs in the country and each state.
Also see www.cessi.net/ttw/ticketexpress.html for a map showing the number of ENs and beneficiaries
in your region.]
3-4 sentences about the specifics of the project you propose: possibilities: “ORGANIZATION will build
upon its XX-year record of providing service to people with disabilities by increasing its capacity to
identify, recruit, train, place and support in competitive employment adults with disabilities in the XX
region.” Be careful to say something that is specific to TTW context and avoid simply re-stating your
placement model or other business-as-usual. X months after the start of the proposed program, we
anticipate that we will place XX clients and expect to be on our way to generating renewable income
from SSA to sustain our program.
Sustainability. It is possible to begin generating payments within the first month after providing
effective support to SSA beneficiaries with disabilities who present their Ticket to ORGANIZATION in
exchange for services. These payments will be used to sustain our EN program and build its capacity to
serve more individuals. Each Ticket can generate over $20,000 in payments from SSA to an EN that
successfully places a Ticket Holder who stays employed for three to five years.
Adjust this paragraph to reflect your own program and forecasts. We estimate that we can serve XX
Ticket Holders, place XX and generate $$$$ in revenue during the first XX months of our program. As we
place additional clients, revenue would increase dramatically. Over a five-year period, we anticipate
finding jobs for as many as XX clients and generating up to $$$$ in revenue.
Conclusion. The performance-based nature of the EN system provides a means of evaluation not
typically found in community-based programs. With the support of FOUNDATION, ORGANIZATION will
be able to provide high-quality services and sustain its operations, beneficiaries will continue to get the
services they need to become and remain employed, and the community of LOCATION will benefit from
an influx of federal dollars.
The Ticket to Work Program is an invitation to innovation. Given the pressures on nonprofits and
foundations alike in today’s uncertain financial markets, the Ticket program is both a sound venture and
an opportunity to effect real change in the systems of health and work supports for people with
Thank you for your consideration of this request. If you have any questions, please contact me [or list
another contact] at phone and email.