The Foundation has awarded in excess of $1,885,000 since its first grant cycle in September 1992. The Foundation assists comic book creators with some of the costs in self-publishing their work; it is not the Foundation's intention to fully support an artist/writer through the entire process of self-publishing, but rather to encourage creators to experience the learning process involved in working towards such a goal.
The Foundation tends to support work of an alternative or non-"mainstream" nature, reasoning that if a comic has strong commercial appeal, it would be picked up by one of the major publishers. Therefore, it is an extremely valuable supporter of "art for art's sake" comics, and has helped launch the careers of a number of "literary" cartoonists. Notable past winners of the Xeric Grant include Megan Kelso (1993), David Lasky (1993), Jason Lutes (1993), Adrian Tomine (1993), Tom Hart (1994), Jessica Abel (1995), James Sturm (1996), Ellen Forney (1997), Jim Ottaviani (1997), Gene Yang (1997), Jason Little (1998), David Choe (1999), Nick Bertozzi (1999), Jason Shiga (1999), Farel Dalrymple (2000), Anders Nilsen (2000), Leland Purvis (2000), Jordan Crane (2001), Brian Ralph (2001), Hans Rickheit (2001), Donna Barr (2002), Derek Kirk Kim (2002), Lauren Weinstein (2002), Josh Neufeld (2004), Karl Stevens (2004), and David Heatley (2005).