Find Nonprofit and Small Business Grants

Advance Search

Only Available for Paid Subscribers
Clear Filters
Search Filters

Low-Cost Randomized Controlled Trials to Drive Effective Social Spending

Grants to USA Organizations to Evaluate
Domestic Social Spending Programs

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

Add to My Calendar 

Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:



Request a Grant Writer

Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and IHEs for low-cost randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to build actionable evidence related to USA social spending and the effectiveness of social programs in the USA. Letters of inquiry are due by May 31. Funding is intended to implement trials using data that are already collected for other purposes and for initiatives that are being implemented anyway.

Selection criteria:

Importance: Is the applicant proposing to evaluate an intervention –

- That is backed by highly-promising prior evidence, suggesting it could produce sizable impacts on outcomes of recognized policy importance – such as educational achievement, workforce earnings, criminal arrests, hospitalizations, child maltreatment, and government spending. For example, the Foundation specifically encouraged applications seeking to replicate findings from prior rigorous evaluations that are especially promising but not yet conclusive (e.g., due to only short-term follow-up, a single-site study design, or well-matched comparison groups but not randomization). As a threshold condition for “highly promising” evidence, applicants should show that the intervention can be or (preferably) has been successfully delivered under real-world implementation conditions.
- For which there are other compelling reasons to evaluate its effectiveness – e.g., it is, or soon will be, widely implemented with significant taxpayer investment, and its impact on its targeted outcomes is currently unknown.

Please note that, to meet this criterion, it is not sufficient to establish that the study addresses an important problem; applicants must also present compelling reasons to evaluate the specific intervention.

Experienced Researcher: Does the applicant’s team include at least one researcher in a key substantive role who has previously carried out a well-conducted RCT (even if not low cost)? A well-conducted RCT is characterized, for example, by low sample attrition, sufficient sample size, close adherence to random assignment, and valid outcome measures and statistical analyses. To address this criterion, applicants should submit reports from prior RCTs that the researcher has conducted (please send the full study reports as email attachments to the letter of interest – no more than two reports in all). Reviewers will rely primarily on these reports in assessing this selection criterion.

Study design: Is the applicant’s proposed RCT design –

- Valid? In other words, does it have a sufficiently large sample (as shown through a power analysis) and other elements needed to generate credible evidence about the intervention’s impact on one or more targeted outcomes of high policy importance? The Foundation strongly encourages designs that measure such outcomes in both the short and longer term, as appropriate for the type of intervention and study, to determine whether the effects endure long enough to constitute meaningful improvement in people’s lives. Reviewers, in assessing an applicant’s proposed design, will use Key Items to Get Right When Conducting RCTs of Social Programs as a reference.
- Low cost? Such low cost may be achieved, for example, by (a) embedding random assignment in an intervention that government or philanthropic organizations are already funding or planning to fund; and/or (b) measuring key outcomes using administrative data that are already collected for other purposes and are of reasonable quality.

Applicants, as part of their discussion of this criterion, should specify the study’s primary outcome(s) of interest, how they will measure the outcome(s) and over what length of time, and what analyses they plan to conduct (e.g., any subgroups to be examined, regression methods to be used).

Partners: Does the applicant’s team include all parties needed to conduct the RCT? Examples of necessary parties include: researcher(s), an agency delivering the intervention, and an agency housing the administrative data. To verify the existence of such partnership, the reviewers will look for attached letters or other communication showing, for example, that (a) a social service agency that delivers the intervention has agreed to participate in the study, including random assignment; and (b) a data agency has agreed to provide the researcher(s) with access to the administrative data needed to measure study outcomes.

LJAF permits grantees to request funding for all of the direct costs associated with a project, including salaries and federally required benefits for employees, travel, meetings and conferences, data access fees, and payments to third-party consultants and sub-grantees that are directly attributable to or created specifically for the purpose supported by a particular grant.

The Policy permits institutions of higher education, including community colleges, to receive an indirect cost rate of 15 percent of total direct project costs; all other organizations (e.g., non-profit, governmental, for-profit, etc.) may receive an indirect cost rate of 20 percent of total direct project costs

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 150301

Estimated Size of Grant:

The targeted award amount is up to $150,000, and awards of up to $300,000 will be allowed if the additional cost can be justified.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants should specify the proposed recipient of the grant award, which is generally expected to be a tax-exempt organization (e.g., nonprofit organization, university, or governmental unit). If an organization is not tax-exempt and wishes to apply, please contact the Foundation (see contact information below).

Direct and indirect costs awarded to grantees may only be used for charitable, educational, and/or scientific purposes as such purposes are generally defined by those authorities interpreting the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and may not be used to carry on propaganda, influence legislation, fund any political campaign, influence the outcome of any election, carry on any voter registration drives, or violate any applicable local, state, federal, or foreign law.

Pre-Application Information:


- All prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of interest (maximum three pages) by May 31, 2018.
- Applicants will be notified whether they are invited to submit a full proposal (full proposals must be invited) by July 13, 2018.
- Invited applicants submit a full proposal (maximum six pages) by August 24, 2018.
- Applicants will be notified whether they have been selected for award by October 5, 2018.
- Grants will be awarded November-December 2018.

Contact Information:

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

Letters of interest and invited full proposals should be submitted to

For questions, please contact:
David Anderson, Director of Evidence-Based Policy

For questions regarding budget and what is or is not funded, please contact:
Bridget Williamson, Grants Budget Manager

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

Suggested Grants:

Grants to USA Nonprofits to Address the Climate Crisis and Reduce Inequality

Deadline Ongoing

Grants to USA nonprofit organizations to reduce social inequality and promote solutions to the climate crisis. Eligible programs will address the areas of racial and economic justice, corporate and political accountability; voice, creativity, and culture; and an inclusi

GrantWatch ID#: 123756

Grants to Oregon Nonprofits and Agencies for Neighborhood Improvements in Eligible Locations

Deadline 09/17/21 Conference Date: 08/05/21

Grants of up to $50,000 to Oregon nonprofit organizations and government agencies for activities to improve neighborhoods in eligible locations. Funding is intended to support programs and projects that enhance the appearance and environmental quality of communities, pr

GrantWatch ID#: 123969

Awards and In-Kind Benefits to Ohio and Michigan Nonprofits in Eligible Locations to Recogni...

Deadline 07/09/21

Awards of $6,000 and in-kind benefits to Ohio and Michigan nonprofit organizations in eligible locations to recognize excellence. Awards are available to recognize both overall organizational excellence and project, program, or initiative excellence. In addition to the

GrantWatch ID#: 124952

Grants to Minnesota Nonprofits for Educational Programs that Benefit Disadvantaged Children ...

Deadline 09/30/21

Grants to Minnesota nonprofit organizations for education-related programs and projects that improve the lives of low-income, underserved, and disadvantaged children and youth. Funding is intended to support efforts to eliminate disparities in education for these target

GrantWatch ID#: 124989

Grants to Virginia Nonprofits for Public Programs that Promote the Humanities in Local Commu...

Deadline 01/15/22 LOI Date: 11/15/21

Grants of up to $5,000 and grants of up to $20,000 to Virginia nonprofit organizations for programs that promote the humanities in local communities. Certain applicants are required to submit an LOI prior to a full grant application. All applicants are advised to contac

GrantWatch ID#: 125447

Grants to Massachusetts Nonprofits for Community Benefit Programs Primarily to Support Youth

Deadline Ongoing

Grants to Massachusetts nonprofit organizations for community benefit initiatives. A letter of intent must be submitted prior to submitting a full proposal. Priority is given to addressing the needs of low-income youth, children, and their families. The funding source s

GrantWatch ID#: 125830

Grants to Researchers Affiliated with USA Qualified Institutions to Improve Clinical Researc...

Deadline 08/27/21 LOI Date: 07/09/21

Grants of up to $50,000 to researchers affiliated with USA qualified institutions to advance research in the field of pediatric oncology. Applicants must submit a letter of intent prior to submitting a full application. Funding is intended to increase the institution's

GrantWatch ID#: 125838

Grants to USA and Canada Nonprofit Charitable Organizations to Impact Public Policy in a Var...

Deadline Ongoing

Grants to USA and Canada nonprofit charitable organizations to impact public policy in a variety of national and international issues. In previous years, grants have been awarded for general operations and project support to think tanks, national councils, judicial orga

GrantWatch ID#: 125864

Grants to New York and Pennsylvania Families Caring for a Child with Cancer to Offset Treatm...

Deadline Ongoing

Grants to New York and Pennsylvania families living in eligible areas and caring for a child with cancer to offset expenses related to the child's cancer treatments. Funding is intended to cover costs not covered by health insurance, including travel costs, housing, and

GrantWatch ID#: 125904

Grants to USA Nonprofits to Protect Natural Resources

Deadline Ongoing

Grants to USA nonprofit organizations to protect natural resources on land and water in locations around the world. Funding is intended to ensure that activities to acquire metals, gemstones, and corals for design use do not have an adverse impact on the area of origin.

GrantWatch ID#: 126162