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Grants to USA, Canada, and International Investigators to Develop Research Projects about Educational Systems

Vision Grants


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
The Spencer Foundation
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);
USA Compact Free Associations:The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)
International, Israel and Canada.

Important Dates
LOI Date: 08/15/23
Deadline: 09/14/23 12:00 Noon CDT Save

Grant Description
Grants of $75,000 to USA, Canada, and International researchers affiliated with nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies to plan large-scale studies on developing equitable educational systems. Applicants must submit an Intent to Apply before submitting a full application. The purpose of funding is to bring together a diverse team of researchers to collaborate in creating a fully fleshed-out research plan on a particular topic by the end of the grant period. The research proposed should have the potential for transformative impact on equity in education.

The Vision Grants allow teams to join together and generate ideas for collaborative scholarship that develops a new vision of what equitable educational systems can look like, consider which disciplines have taken up these issues previously (and why they have fallen short or encountered limitations), and foreground important ideas that will allow new and ambitious research to emerge. 

Vision Grants will provide planning funds for teams to develop proposals for research projects that: 

  • Are focused on key challenges and opportunities that have the potential for increasing equity in education
  • Engage across disciplines and/or research methods
  • Collaborate with practitioners, policymakers, and communities (and other stakeholders)
  • Have clear sightlines to transformational change through research at a systemic level

For example, Vision Grants might lead to research projects that:

  • Develop a new policy, pedagogical approach, practice, or intervention, e.g., at the K-12 or post-secondary level, that has the potential to have a transformative and systemic impact and explore the feasibility of implementing it at the state or local level or within a system.
  • Build upon approaches or policies that have worked well in one setting, with the goal of studying them in a range of settings to understand better how, where, and with whom they work and why.
  • Work in partnership with youth at the city, state, or federal level to reimagine the choices young people have to learn beyond school.
  • Work with communities to co-design approaches that improve educational equity by working across sectors (e.g., education and health, housing, criminal justice).
  • Connect scholars with legal teams to impact litigation strategies in local, state, or federal contexts of educational inequity.
  • Rethink effective approaches to teacher and educational leader preparation, learning, and development, and partner with systems of teacher and leader preparation and/or accreditation to enact changes that would increase the diversity and robustness of the educator and leader pathways.

While the Vision Grant program stands on its own to spark research ideas and collaborations, being awarded a Vision Grant is also a prerequisite for applying to the Foundation's Transformative Research Grant program (TRG, $3.5 million), which are designed for large-scale research projects that transform education systems for equity.

For more information, see:


Additional Eligibility Criteria
-Principal Investigators affiliated with a non-profit organization or public/governmental institution that is willing to serve as the administering organization if the grant is awarded may apply. Examples include non-profit private or public colleges, universities, school districts, and research facilities, as well as other non-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3) determination from the IRS (or equivalent non-profit status if the organization is outside of the United States).
- Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs applying for a Vision Grant must have appropriate experience or an earned doctorate in an academic discipline or terminal degree in a professional field.

- The Spencer Foundation does not award grants directly to individuals.
- The Spencer Foundation does not allow indirect costs for budgets that are $75,000 or less.
- While graduate students may be part of the research team, they may not be named the PI or Co-PI on the proposal.

Pre-Proposal Conference
Spencer Vision Grant Info Session
May 19, 2023
Link to register:

Pre-Application Information
- Applications Open: mid-June, 2023
- Intent to Apply Form Deadline: August 15, 2023 (12 noon CDT)
- Informational Webinar: May 19, 2023
- Full Proposal Deadline: September 14, 2023 (12 noon CDT)

- Two cycles of this grant program will be held annually.
- Spencer's accepts resubmissions of Vision Grants.

Applicant Information and Policies:
Transformative Research Program:

Number of Grants
The Foundation expects to award 10 Vision Grants during each cycle of the program. There will be two cycles per year.

Estimated Size of Grant
Proposed budgets for this program are limited to $75,000 total.
Proposed budgets of $75,000 or less may not include indirect cost charges.

Term of Contract
The Vision Grant may not be longer than 12 months in duration.

Contact Information
Online application:

Program contact; Jessica Anzaldúa,

The Spencer Foundation
625 N Michigan Ave, Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60611

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