I would like to speak to someone about my research before submitting the proposal; is this possible, and whom should I contact?

If you have reviewed our website and are still uncertain as to whether your research falls within the Spencer Foundation’s funding mission, please feel free to contact Annie Brinkman, Grants Manager, at abrinkman@spencer.org or 312-274-6511 for guidance. If you are hoping to receive feedback or start a dialogue about your research with a program officer, we would be unable to accommodate your request, but rather prefer to receive the proposal submission as a first step in the review process.

My research proposal seems to fit within more than one of your Areas of Inquiry/Strategic Initiatives. How should I submit it?

If your project seems to fit well within one of the Strategic Initiatives (The New Civics, Data Use and Educational Improvement, or Philosophy in Educational Policy and Practice), please submit the proposal specifically to that initiative. If not, review the Areas of Inquiry and if the focus of your research falls under more than one of the areas, please chose the primary area in which to submit your proposal. We realize that our Areas of Inquiry are broad and many research projects will overlap more than one, but for administrative purposes we ask that you identify the primary Area of Inquiry when submitting your proposal.

Do you accept research proposals from outside the United States?

Yes, we accept proposals from outside the U.S.

Do you support research in settings other than K-12 and higher education institutions?

Yes, the Foundation funds research projects that span the life course (i.e., from early childhood to adult learning) as well as those that focus on contexts outside of school.

Do you have samples of successful proposals available for reference?

No, we do not have samples available. However, summaries of research grants awarded in past years can be found under the “Research” tab on our Home page. Click on Grant Summaries to view the listings.

May I apply to other funders at the same time for the same project?

Yes. However if your project is funded by both funders, you would be expected to decline one of the awards if there is budgetary overlap.

What are some of the typical requests that Spencer is not able to fund?

We receive many requests for the following types of projects, all of which we are unable to support:

Curriculum development
Program development and implementation
Program evaluation
Professional development

What factors contribute to a research project being turned down for funding?

There are multiple factors that are taken into consideration when making a determination about a proposal. These include the proposal quality, the project’s likely impact, and the Foundation’s current funding budget and priorities.

If my proposal is turned down, may I request feedback?

Due to the number of inquiries and proposals we receive, we typically are unable to provide detailed feedback on declined proposals.

If my proposal is turned down, may I revise and resubmit it?

Normally if the program officer that oversaw the review of your proposal is interested in receiving a revised proposal, we will invite a resubmission in the declination letter. Otherwise, resubmission of the same research project is generally discouraged.