William T. Grant Foundation
The William T. Grant Foundation invests in high-quality research to ensure that young people from diverse backgrounds reach their fullest potential. Since inception, the Foundation has been interested in facilitating a better understanding of how children and youth develop and thrive. Currently, it is interested in research with the potential to improve the lives of young people between the ages of 5 and 25 in the United States. It funds research that increases understanding of:
- Programs, policies, and practices that reduce inequality in youth outcomes
- Strategies to improve the use of research evidence in ways that benefit youth
Current funding priorities are focused in the following two areas:
1. Inequality by race, ethnicity, economic standing, and immigrant origin status is pervasive in the United States, and, in many ways, has become more extreme in recent decades. This inequality is evident across a range of systems, including the education, child welfare, mental health, and justice systems, and in varied settings, such as neighborhoods, schools, families, and communities. Young people from marginalized backgrounds face increasing barriers to achieve their potential in the academic, social, behavioral, and economic realms. The Foundation contends that the research community can play a critical role in reversing this trend. Toward this end, it supports research to identify, build, and test responses to inequality in youth outcomes and opportunities. To propose research on reducing inequality, applicants should:
- Clearly identify the dimension(s) of inequality to be studied (e.g., race, ethnicity, economic standing, and/or immigrant origins)
- Make a case for the importance of the dimension(s) of inequality
- Specify the youth outcome(s) to be studied (e.g., academic, social, behavioral, and/or economic).
- Show that the outcomes are currently unequal
Strong proposals will establish a clear link between a particular dimension of inequality and specific youth outcomes. The Foundation welcomes different strategies to reduce inequality. For instance, inequality may be reduced by implementing a program, policy, or practice that helps disadvantaged students more than others, or by applying a universally beneficial approach in a compensatory way so that it especially benefits the youth who need it the most. Responses to inequality may also be informed by studies that offer critical insights on a key dilemma that practitioners or policymakers face in addressing unequal youth outcomes, or challenge assumptions that underlie current approaches. In all cases, the applicant must be specific about the dimension of inequality that is the focus of the study.
2. Improving the use of research evidence: Critical gaps exist between research, decision-making, and youth outcomes. Too often, research is absent from deliberations about programs and practices for youth, and the information needs of decision makers working on behalf of youth too rarely shape research agendas. The Foundation sees a need for new knowledge about how to improve the use of research evidence. The Foundation’s use of research evidence initiative takes up this challenge and aims to build theory and empirical evidence on strategies to improve the use of research evidence in ways that benefit youth. We recognize that research use is rarely a simple process whereby research “facts” are passed from researchers to research users and then applied in a rational decision-making process. As the Foundation commits to renewed interest in this area, it shifts its focus from understanding how and under what conditions research is used to understanding how to create those conditions. The renewed focus includes:
- Investigations to identify, create, and test the structural and social conditions that foster more routine and constructive uses of existing research evidence
- Studies to identify, create, and test the incentives, structures, and relationships that facilitate the production of new research evidence that responds to decision makers’ needs
- Studies that investigate whether and under what conditions using high quality research evidence improves decision making and youth outcomes
Amount: Grants typically range between $100,000-$600,000 and cover two to three years of support. Research grants about improving the use of research initiative will range between $100,000-$1,000,000 and cover two to four years of support.
Eligibility: Tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations. Giving is on a national basis. Additional eligibility requirements:
- Research project advances the Foundation’s interests in understanding programs, policies, and practices that reduce inequality or improving the use of research evidence
- Research project has compelling relevance for programs, policies, and practices affecting youth ages 5-25 in the U.S.
- Funds primarily support research activities, not intervention or service costs
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