The Starr Foundation makes grants in the following areas:
- Education: Traditionally education has been one of the largest areas of giving for the Foundation, because of Mr. Starr's personal interest in providing scholarships to deserving students. The Foundation has endowed C.V. Starr Scholarship Funds at more than 100 colleges and universities and selected secondary schools. Applications for an endowed scholarship fund are accepted from schools on an invitation-only basis.
The Foundation funds organizations that provide need-based financial aid to students seeking to attend secondary and post-secondary schools. In keeping with Mr. Starr's international perspective, the Foundation has funded a number of exchange programs over the years to encourage the education of U.S. students abroad and students from foreign countries in the U.S.
- Medicine and Healthcare: The Foundation's grants in these areas are far ranging, including capital grants to hospitals, significant research grants and grants to assist in the provision of healthcare to under-served communities in New York City and overseas. The Foundation plans to make more grants in the area of preventive healthcare in the next few years. The Foundation does not provide funding for individual research projects and prefers to focus its project funding at New York City hospitals and research centers.
- Human Needs: The Foundation has made significant gifts to emergency food programs, job training, literacy programs, programs for the disabled and programs that provide emergency or transitional housing for the disadvantaged. The Foundation rarely funds local charities outside of New York City but may fund national organizations that also serve communities within and outside of New York. The Foundation's human needs grants abroad include refugee and relief efforts, the provision of medical care and microenterprise development.
- Public Policy: The Foundation has concentrated its giving in the area of public policy on international relations and the promotion of the rule of law and democratic institutions around the world.
- Culture: Since its inception the Foundation has made significant grants both to large cultural institutions such as museums as well as to smaller arts organizations. The Foundation has also funded community-based arts groups providing special services to specific populations, such as the elderly and the disabled. The Foundation funds cultural exchange that furthers Mr. Starr's interest in international relations and understanding. The Foundation rarely funds documentaries or film projects and does not fund individual artists.
- The Environment: The Foundation funds selected organizations working on issues relating to the environment and conservation.