Equity in Grants Series: Funding Opportunities for Racial Equity – The Spencer Foundation

As part of a series throughout Black History Month, Assel Grant Services (AGS) provided various resources on racial equity to help grant professionals become better equipped to guide their organizations towards more equitable services, find funding, and better articulate into grant proposals the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work their organizations are already doing. Topics included writing with a racial equity lens, resources for your toolbox, and measuring progress. Last week, we highlighted a federal opportunity addressing racial equity in community health. This week we are wrapping up the series with a foundation opportunity for racial equity research in education.

The Spencer Foundation is accepting applications for Racial Equity Research Grants to support education research projects that will contribute to understanding and ameliorating racial inequality in education. The Spencer Foundation invests in research that cultivates learning and transforms lives, with goals to support projects that:

  • create a better society;
  • support high-quality education;
  • broaden the diversity of scholars and scholarship in research;
  • strengthen the impact for improving educational practice; and
  • make education research more accessible.

Who is eligible to apply?

Proposals must be for an academic research project that will contribute to understanding and ameliorating racial inequality in education. Principal investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs applying must have earned a doctorate in an academic discipline or professional field or appropriate experience in an education research-related profession. Graduate students may be part of the research team but may not be named as the PI or Co-PI. The PI must be affiliated with a non-profit organization or public/governmental institution that is willing to serve as the administering organization. This includes non-profit or public colleges, universities, school districts, and research facilities, as well as other non-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3) determination. International projects are eligible; however, all proposals must be submitted in English and budgets must use U.S. dollars.

What is the program goal?

This program aims to support rigorous, intellectually ambitious, and technically sound research that is relevant to the most pressing questions and compelling opportunities in relation to racial equity in education. The Spencer Foundation seeks to support scholarship that develops new foundational knowledge that may have a significant impact on practice and policy. Projects that foster creative and open-minded scholarship, engage in deep inquiry, and examine robust questions related to education and inequality will be valued. This opportunity supports proposals from multidisciplinary and methodological perspectives, both domestically and internationally, and from scholars at various career stages. Proposals should focus on a strengths-based approach. The Spencer Foundation accepts applications for projects ranging from one to five years with budgets up to $75,000.

See the full Racial Equity Research Grants request for proposals (RFP) for details of the required components. Racial Equity Research Grant proposals are due on June 14, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. central time.

What makes a project a good fit?

The Racial Equity Research Grant program will use the following criteria to review eligible submissions, using internal and external review panelists:

  • Centrality of racial equity and education within the research, the importance of the topic for transformation, and the quality and/or direction of research inquiry;
  • How the proposal relates to other research on the same topic and how the project responds to prior work and theory;
  • Quality, sophistication, and appropriateness of the research design and its alignment with research questions and conceptual framing;
  • Adequacy of the budget and timeline; and
  • Potential of the investigators to complete the study as described and disseminate findings.

What if I am ready to apply? To move your project forward, take the following action steps as soon as possible:

  • Review the full solicitation for additional details and project activities.
  • Submit an Intent to Apply form through the Spencer Foundation online portal by May 16, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. central time. New applicants will be required to create a profile; and
  • Become familiar with the Spencer Foundation’s applicant information and policies.

The foundation’s applicant resources page has useful tools such as an in-depth review of signature fellowship programs, how-to guides for preparing research proposals, grantee information on reporting requirements, “change of” requests, and other related post-award guidelines and procedures.

What if I need help with this application?

Contact AGS today! Our team can help with all aspects of preparing the application and managing the grant if you are awarded. If you would like to discuss this possibility, please contact AGS as soon as possible. Julie Assel, CGMS, GPC, President/CEO, will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you with a quote for grant services.

What if I am not ready to apply this year?

Start preparing for next year! The Spencer Foundation regularly funds research in different focus areas relating to racial equity that might be a good fit. Follow the organization to see news and updates on funded projects, innovative work, and future opportunities. Check out AGS’s Equity in Grants blog series or Cultural Competence: The Power of the Pen training to learn more about grant projects to support change.

How do I learn more about federal grant proposal writing, so my application is more likely to be successful?

AGS is excited to offer a Federal Agency Training Series in 2023! The series is designed to provide insight into federal agencies beyond the typical reading of the solicitation by program officers and provide details you need to be successful. AGS also offers several on demand webinars on a variety of topics to support the full grant cycle. Check out our website to learn more and sign up for our training newsletter.

AGS blogs, funding alerts, and trainings are aligned with the Grant Professional Certification Institute’s Competencies and Skills

Competency #1: Knowledge of how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs

Skill 1.2: Identify major trends in public funding and public policy

Skill 1.6: Identify fundable programs and projects for a specific organization

Skill 1.7: Determine best matches between funders and specific programs