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Institutional Challenge Grant

Grants to USA University-Based Schools, Research Institutes,
and Centers for Research Partnerships to Reduce Youth Inequality

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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William T. Grant Foundation

Deadline Date:

09/06/19 3:00 PM EST


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Grants to university-based schools, research institutes, and centers to foster youth-focused research partnerships with nonprofit organizations or public agencies. The purpose of the program is to reduce inequality in youth outcomes. Eligible partnerships will focus on serving youth in the areas of justice, education, mental health, child welfare, workforce development, and immigration.

Proposals are encouraged especially from teams with African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian American members in leadership roles. The partnership leadership team should include the principal investigator from the research institution and the lead from the public agency or nonprofit organization.

Research institutions will need to address four important goals:

- Build a sustained institutional partnership with a public agency or nonprofit organization that serves young people in the United States.
- Pursue a joint research agenda to reduce inequality in youth outcomes.
- Create institutional change to value the partnership and its work.
- Develop the capacity of the partners to collaborate and use research evidence.

For more details about the program goals, see

The partnership must conduct research to build, test, and increase understanding of programs, policies, or practices to reduce inequality in the outcomes of young people ages 5-25 in the United States.

The Funding source is particularly interested in behavioral, academic, social, and economic youth outcomes. However, research in other areas will be considered.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 186088

Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

The award will provide $650,000 in support of:

- Up to $50,000 for 6-9 months of joint planning activities (e.g., refining protocols for partnering, selecting fellows, finalizing partnership agreements, etc.).
- Fellowship support for the equivalent of one full-time or two half-time fellows per year, for two years. In addition, the research institution must contribute the equivalent of one full-time or two half-time fellows for the equivalent of a one-year, full-time term.
- Up to three years of support for the partnership to conduct research to reduce inequality in youth outcomes.
- Resources to develop the capacities of both partners.
- Indirect cost allowance of up to 15 percent of total direct costs.

Term of Contract:

The award spans the period of three years. Recipients of the award will have the opportunity to apply for a two-year continuation grant in order to solidify the partnership and institutional changes.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible research institutions:
The award will be made to an organization, not to an individual. Organizations can include university-based research institutes, schools, or centers. Grants are limited without exception to tax-exempt organizations.

Please note that research organizations, think tanks, and other institutions that sit outside of the academy are no longer eligible to apply.

Eligible principal investigators:
The principal investigator should be a leader at the research institution. S/he should have visibility, influence on institutional policies and practices, and access to the resources needed to optimize and implement the award. S/he should also possess the skills needed to cultivate trusting relationships with leaders from the partner public agency or nonprofit organization.

Eligible public agencies or nonprofit organizations:
Eligible public agencies include state or local agencies and their departments and divisions. Nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations are eligible if they are open to the general public and provide services for youth ages 5 to 25 in the United States. Eligible agencies and organizations engage in work relevant to youth in the areas of education, justice, child welfare, mental health, immigration, or workforce development and have the resources needed to implement and optimize the award.

Eligible leaders from the public agency or nonprofit organization:
Leaders from the public agency or nonprofit organization should have the authority and influence required to successfully institutionalize the partnership and the use of research evidence in the agency or organization’s work.

Eligible partnerships:
Research-practice partnerships are defined as long-term, mutually beneficial collaborations that promote the production and use of rigorous and relevant research evidence. These partnerships take a long view and should extend beyond the life of any one grant, project, or leader. While the competition is open to partnerships at different stages of maturity, applicants will need to convince reviewers that the grant adds significant value to what already exists. We anticipate that it will be difficult for a well-established partnership with strong institutional support to make a convincing case that the award adds value. For younger partnerships, reviewers will seek promising initial evidence that the partners have successfully worked together in the past and have the potential to sustain long-term collaboration.

For details on eligible partnerships and eligibility for fellows, see:

Pre-Application Information:

All applications are due by September 6, 2019, at 3:00 PM EST.

Once the finalists are chosen, the PI and leader from the public agency or private nonprofit organization are invited to submit a written response and to attend an interview in New York City with the selection committee.

The interview for the 2019-2020 competition will be held on February 4, 2020; the Foundation will cover airfare, meals, and hotel associated with the trip. During the interview, finalists have the opportunity to present their team and respond to Committee members’ reviews. Following the interviews, the Selection Committee chooses one Institutional Challenge Grant recipient. The application is presented for approval by the Board of Trustees at its March meeting.

The Foundation accepts applications only through the online application system.

The research institution needs to contribute a match of a mid-career research fellow for the equivalent of a one-year, full-time term.

Applications will be accepted once per year.

There is no limit to the number of applications that may come from a single institution.

Resources for applicants:

Application information:


View the April 2019 webinar:

Contact Information:

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

Apply online:

William T. Grant Foundation
60 E. 42nd Street 43rd Floor
New York, NY 10165
T 212.752.0071
F 212.752.1398

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