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William T. Grant Foundation

Deadline: May 5, 2016

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. Reducing inequality: Inequality by race, economic standing, and immigrant origin status is evident across a range of domains, including the education, child welfare, mental health, and justice systems. Proposals should identify the dimension of inequality (e.g., race, ethnicity, economic standing, and/or immigrant origins), and make a case for its importance. Applicants should specify the youth outcome(s) to be studied (e.g., academic, social, behavioral, and/or economic), and show that the outcomes are currently unequal. Applicants should also include a compelling case for how the study is relevant to reducing inequality, not just to furthering an understanding of inequality as a problem. 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 most. Studies may address a key dilemma that practitioners or policymakers face in addressing unequal youth outcomes, or challenge assumptions that underlie current approaches. It also invites studies that improve the measurement of inequality in ways that will enhance the work of researchers, practitioners, or policymakers. For example, the Foundation supported measurement research on an observational tool that will help define and identify effective English language arts instruction for English language learners in elementary school.
  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 and aims to build theory and empirical evidence on strategies to improve the use of research evidence in ways that benefit youth. In 2016, the Foundation shifted 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.

Within improving the use of research evidence, the Foundation generally supports studies in education, child welfare, and justice, and focuses on the use of research evidence by state and local decision makers and intermediary organizations. However, because it recognizes that the best ideas might fall outside these decision making groups and policy domains, it remains open to groundbreaking studies that fall outside of these areas if applicants provide a compelling rationale. The Foundation supports different types of studies, including: disruptive studies that clarify mechanisms for improving research use; intervention studies that examine attempts to improve research use; and studies that improve the measurement of the use of research evidence in ways that enhance the work of researchers or decision makers.

Amount: Annual giving is $9,814,771. Reducing inequality grants range from $100,000-$600,000 and cover 2-3 years of support. Improving the use of research evidence grants range from $100,000-$1,000,000 and cover 2-4 years of support. Grants average $100,000-$200,000 annually.

Eligibility: Tax exempt, nonprofit organizations. Giving on a national basis.

Link: http://wtgrantfoundation.org/

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