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Deadline: November 1, 2018

Arthur Vining Davis Foundations

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations (AVDF) aim to strengthen America’s intellectual life, humane instincts, and democracy through philanthropic support for the following areas:

Private higher education: Grants concentrate on private colleges and universities with a primary academic mission in the liberal arts and sciences, rather than career or vocational studies. Applying institutions should exemplify academic quality and financial stability. Proposals from associations and consortia that serve higher education are also welcome. A portion of funding is reserved each year to help support the vitally important work of historically Black colleges and universities, Native American tribal colleges, schools within the Appalachian College Association, and Work College Consortium members.

Public education and media: Grants support public television, targeting national broadcasts for children’s educational programs with lasting value. Competitive projects will emphasize: 1) Children’s education through a series focused on literacy, character development, or science; 2) An educated public through programs with enduring value focused on history, science, the environment, or interfaith leadership and religious literacy; 3) The advancement of education for audiences of all ages; and 4) The innovative use of technology to enhance community outreach and educational use in classrooms. On occasion, consideration may be given to stand-alone programs of exceptional merit with a confirmed national airing.

Interfaith leadership and religious literacy: Interfaith leadership grants emphasize the importance of preparing leaders to model meaningful engagement among different faith traditions. Such leaders include those who serve in clerical roles as well as in civic, academic, business, professional, and nonprofit sectors. Religious literacy grants enhance public understanding of the religious beliefs and practices that shape America, both historically and in the present.

Additionally, the Foundations will consider proposals from its designated partners in the areas of environmental engagement and palliative care.


  • Private higher education: Planning grants range from $25,000-$100,000; Comprehensive grants of up to $300,000 are also offered.
  • Public education and media: Grants may range from $250,000-$400,000 (planning grants not available or this category).
  • Interfaith leadership and religious literacy: Applicants may request planning grants that range from $25,000-$100,000; Comprehensive grants of up to $300,000 are also offered.

Eligibility: Tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations. Additional eligibility criteria per focus area is detailed below:

  • Private higher education: Private colleges or universities with a primary focus on liberal arts and sciences. Institutions must be accredited, four-year, residential institutions and the institution’s president must have been in place for one year prior to the Foundations considering a grant request from an institution.
  • Public education and media: Organizations must meet the following criteria: 1) Requested funds must be for capstone funding; 2) The series or film must be assured of national airing on PBS or other national distribution platforms; 3) The organization must provide a list of other funders for the film or film series; 4) The organization must provide a list of advisers or experts who provided insight into the accuracy of historical projects; and 5) The organization must provide a rough cut of the project for review by AVDF program staff.
  • Interfaith leadership and religious literacy: Applicants must must be closely linked to a private, degree granting institution of higher education or be a national organization with significant ties to private higher education to be competitive. The most competitive proposals will: 1) Focus on programs designed for college-aged students, graduate students, or career professionals; 2) Emphasize interfaith curriculum development in theological schools, private colleges or universities, graduate schools, and programs with national impact; 3) Further the understanding and programming around interfaith issues in palliative care; and 4) Explore the interfaith issues embedded in our environmental challenges and solutions.

Link: http://www.avdf.org/Programs/ProgramsOverview.aspx

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