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Research Grants on Reducing Inequality

Grants to USA Nonprofits to Improve the Lives of
Children and Youth through Research on Inequality

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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William T. Grant Foundation

Deadline Date:

08/01/19 3:00 PM EST


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Grants to USA researchers at nonprofit institutions for investigations into practices and policies that improve the lives of American children and youth ages 5 - 25. Funding is intended to support research that generates change by contributing to a body of knowledge that can improve the lives of young people and reduce inequality in academic, social, behavioral, and economic outcomes.

Research proposals are evaluated on the basis of their fit with a given focus area; the strength and feasibility of their designs, methods, and analyses; their potential to inform change; and their contribution to theory and empirical evidence. The Foundation supports research to build, test, and increase understanding of approaches to reducing inequality in youth outcomes, especially on the basis of race, ethnicity, economic standing, language minority status, or immigrant origins. They support research from a range of disciplines and methodologies, and encourage investigations into various systems, including justice, housing, child welfare, mental health, and education.

Research Grants on Reducing Inequality

The primary line of inquiry in this focus area is building, testing, and increasing understanding of responses to inequality in youth outcomes. The Foundation welcome descriptive studies that clarify mechanisms for reducing inequality or elucidate how or why a specific program, policy, or practice operates to reduce inequality. They also welcome intervention studies that examine attempts to reduce inequality.

In addition, the Foundation seek studies that improve the measurement of inequality in ways that can enhance the work of researchers, practitioners, or policymakers. The common thread across all of this work, however, is a distinct and explicit focus on reducing inequality—one that goes beyond describing the causes or consequences of unequal outcomes and, instead, aims to build, test, or understand policy, program, or practice responses.

Applications for research in this focus area must:
- Identify a specific inequality in youth outcomes, and show that the outcomes are currently unequal. The Foundation is especially interested in supporting research to reduce inequality in academic, social, behavioral, or economic outcomes.
- Clearly identify the basis on which these outcomes are unequal, and articulate its importance. Especially important is research to reduce inequality on the basis of race, ethnicity, economic standing, language minority status, or immigrant origin status. Proposals for research on reducing inequality on a basis not listed here, or on ways in which a basis of inequality intersects with another, must make a compelling case that this research will improve youth outcomes.
- Articulate how findings from your research will help build, test, or increase understanding of a specific program, policy, or practice to reduce the specific inequality that you have identified.

Proposals for research on reducing inequality should make a compelling case that the inequality exists, why the inequality exists, and why the study’s findings will be crucial to informing a policy, program, or practice to reduce it. The Foundation welcomes creative studies that have potential to advance or even transform the field.

Major Research Grants on reducing inequality typically range between $100,000 and $600,000 and cover two to three years of support.

Projects involving secondary data analysis are at the lower end of the budget range, whereas projects involving new data collection and sample recruitment can be at the higher end. Proposals to launch experiments in which settings (e.g., classrooms, schools, youth programs) are randomly assigned to conditions sometimes have higher awards.

In addition to financial support, the Foundation invests significant time and resources in capacity-building for research grantees. They provide opportunities for connections with other scholars, policymakers, and practitioners, and organize learning communities for grantees in each focus area. Such meetings allow grantees to discuss challenges, seek advice from peers and colleagues, and collaborate across projects. To strengthen grantees’ capacities to conduct and implement strong qualitative and mixed-methods work, the Foundation provides access to a consultation service.

Officers’ Research Grants are a separate funding mechanism for smaller projects with budgets ranging from $5,000 to $50,000. Some are stand-alone projects that fit the research focus areas; others build off of larger projects. The budget should be appropriate for the activities proposed. Projects involving secondary data analysis are typically at the lower end of the budget range, whereas projects involving new data collection and sample recruitment can be at the higher end.

Where appropriate, the Foundation values projects that:
- Harness the learning potential of mixed methods and interdisciplinary work;
- Involve practitioners or policymakers in meaningful ways to shape the research questions, interpret preliminary and final results, and communicate their implications for policy and practice;
- Combine senior and junior staff in ways that facilitate mentoring of junior staff;
- Are led by members of racial or ethnic groups underrepresented in academic fields;
- Generate data useful to other researchers and make such data available for public use; and
- Demonstrate significant creativity and the potential to advance the field by, for example, introducing new research paradigms or extending existing measures.

The Foundation encourages research projects led by African American, Latinx, Native American, and Asian American researchers. Early career scholars are also encouraged to apply for these grants as a way to build their research programs.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 179286

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Research grants on reducing inequality typically range from $100,000 to $600,000.
- Officers’ Research grants cover budgets up to $50,000.

Term of Contract:

Research grants on reducing inequality - two to three years of support.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

- Grants are made to organizations, not individuals.
- Grants are limited, without exception, to tax-exempt organizations. A copy of the Internal Revenue Service tax-exempt status determination letter is required from each applying organization.
- Research projects should have compelling relevance for programs, policies, and practices affecting youth ages 5-25 in the U.S.
- Institutions usually have their own eligibility criteria regarding who can act as Principal Investigator (PI) on a grant. This often excludes graduate students. Graduate students can, however, be included as Co-Principal Investigators.

The Foundation rarely or never funds:
- Research institutes or programs. The large majority of funding supports investigator-initiated research that is consistent with the Foundation's focus areas.
- Books or other writing activities outside the focus areas.
- International studies. The Foundation's mission focuses on supporting research to improve the lives of young people in the United States.
- Pilot or feasibility studies. When they are funded, they are generally initiated by the Foundation.
- Scholarships, building funds, annual campaigns, fundraising drives, or endowments.
- Working meetings. When they are funded, they are usually commissioned to build capacity in Foundation focus areas.
- Proposals on social settings.

The Foundation may support:
- Studies in which some participants fall outside the age range of 5 to 25, so long as the primary research questions must focus on children or youth within the target age range.
- Applications that incorporate both research focus areas, e.g., both the use of research evidence and reducing inequality. However, experience has shown that few applicants are able to do this well. The most successful applications address a few research questions within a single area.

Pre-Application Information:

The online application is now open.

Application Deadlines:
January 9, 2019, 3:00 PM EST
May 1, 2019, 3:00 PM EST
August 1, 2019, 3:00 PM EST

The application process for all research grants begins with a letter of inquiry (LOI). Letters of inquiry for research grants are accepted three times per year (in the winter, spring, and summer). Officers’ research grants are accepted two times per year (in the winter and summer).

For Major Research Grants, letters of inquiry are reviewed internally by staff with social science expertise. On occasion, internal reviewers will request more information from applicants or solicit expert opinions in order to more adequately assess a project. After internal review of a letter of inquiry, the Foundation will decide whether to decline the LOI or invite a full proposal for further consideration. The investigator will be notified of this decision within eight weeks of the LOI deadline. In recent years, about fifteen percent of the letters received for major grants have been invited to submit a full proposal. Typically, applicants are offered two deadlines for full proposals, ranging from approximately six weeks to six months from the time of the invitation.

Applications for Officers’ research grants are accepted two times per year, and share the same deadlines as the larger research grants program. Submissions for the Officers’ research grants will be accepted on the January 9, 2019 and August 1, 2019 deadlines. Letters of inquiry for the Officer’s research grants will not be accepted for the May 1, 2019 deadline. Officers’ research grants are awarded on the merit of the letter of inquiry alone and the review process is usually eight weeks from the corresponding deadline. Awards are made available after internal review.

The entire process takes between 10 and 14 months. The review process for letters of inquiry is about eight weeks and is conducted by staff. The time between an invitation for a full proposal and its submission is 2-5 months. The review process for full proposals is about six months.

Reducing Inequality Focus Area:

Research Grants FAQ:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Letter of Inquiry application begins with registration here:

For questions about application instructions and procedures, contact:
Cristina Fernandez, Research Assistant

General Contact Info:
William T. Grant Foundation
570 Lexington Avenue, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10022-6837
Tel: 212.752.0071
Fax: 212.752.1398

URL for Full Text (RFP):

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