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Vision Grants

Vision Grants

Application Deadlines:

Applications Open
June 5, 2024

Intent to Apply Form Deadline
August 14, 2024, 12:00 PM Noon (Central/USA Time)

Full Proposal Deadline
September 17, 2024 12:00 PM Noon (Central/USA Time)

Program contact:
Jessica AnzaldĂșa

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The Spencer Foundation invests in research to improve education, broadly conceived. We have identified a critical need for innovative, methodologically and disciplinarily diverse, large-scale research projects to transform education systems for equity. Importantly, we believe that ambitious research must begin with the challenges, problems, and opportunities in education systems. To stimulate research that addresses this need, the Spencer Foundation seeks to provide scholars and collaborators with the time, space, resources, and support to plan a large-scale study or program of research: geared toward real-world impact on equity; drawing on research across disciplines and methods; reliant on meaningful and equitable collaboration with practitioners, policymakers, communities, and other partners; and focused on transforming educational systems.  

Toward this end, the Vision Grants program funds the collaborative planning of innovative, methodologically diverse, interdisciplinary research on education that contributes to transforming education systems for equity. Vision Grants are research planning grants to bring together a team, for 6 to 12 months, to collaboratively develop ambitious, large-scale research projects focused on transforming educational systems toward greater equity. This program takes as core that visionary, interdisciplinary, and collaborative research projects require time, space, and thoughtfulness to incubate and plan. Vision Grants are $75,000 total and two cycles of this grant program will be held annually. Different from many of Spencer’s other programs, the proposal does not yet need to be a fully fleshed out research plan. Instead, this is an invitation to think forward about what research we need to transform education systems toward equity and then to envision how that systems-change will happen, utilizing research evidence. Teams are encouraged to reflect on the people who need to be involved from the beginning of the research design process, and how evidence from the eventual research study/studies could be used to actually transform systems. Vision Grant proposals should identify the system(s) targeted for transformation and the levers the team thinks need to be engaged in order to work toward systems transformation. Proposals should also explicitly identify a research topic and initial thoughts about scope of the study plan for impact, collaborative process, and a team that will lead to a fully fleshed out research plan by the end of the grant period.

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 our Transformative Research Grant program (TRG, $3.5 million), which is designed for large-scale research projects that transform education systems for equity.

The Vision Grants program is designed to support the field in producing research that disrupts long-standing inequities toward more just and equitable systems. While we are in a time of major challenges in education, we are also in a moment of possibility. We believe that visionary and cross-disciplinary/multi-method scholarship, conducted in generative and equitable collaboration with partners in the field, including policymakers, practitioners, and communities, can contribute to reimagining and transforming educational systems toward equity. 

Vision Grants are not meant to outline or plan the next step in a scholar’s research agenda. Instead, 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 multiple PIs across distinct disciplinary and/or research methods approaches towards the planning of a large-scale, rigorous research study
  • Collaborate equitably with practitioners, policymakers, and communities (and other partners)
  • Have clear sightlines to transformational change at a systemic level

We imagine that research projects developed with these planning grants will consist of a range of project types. We expect that these grants will go far beyond solely documenting inequality, to instead make significant movement toward policy, practice, or pedagogical change in a way that transforms an education system or systems. We also expect that a range of disciplinary perspectives would be thoughtfully employed, and that these research projects will require multiple methods. Funded projects will engage across disciplinary traditions or methods, rather than utilizing one disciplinary perspective or lens and/or one methodological tradition. We are field-initiated and invite proposals on a wide range of topics and issues. In addition, we want to especially encourage Vision Grant proposals that focus on four key areas: 1. Intersections of AI, Learning, and Equity; 2. Youth civic engagement and youth organizing toward systems transformation for equity; 3. New avenues of research about teaching and teacher preparation for equity and thriving; and 4. How we better measure and assess the full range of skills, capacities, and experiences that lead to robust learning.

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

  • 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.
  • Work in partnership with youth at the city, state or federal level to reimagine the choices young people have to learn beyond school and over long time horizons.
  • Build upon educational approaches or policies that have worked well in one setting, with the goal of studying them in a range of settings to better understand how, where, and with whom they work and why.
  • Work in partnership with families to reimagine family engagement in PreK-16 schooling.
  • Rethink effective approaches to educator and educational leader preparation, learning, and development in a variety of educational spaces. Partner with systems of educator and leader preparation and/or accreditation to enact changes that would increase the diversity and robustness of the educator and leader pathways.

These are just examples. We welcome proposals that consider creative ways to understand and solve complex problems with the goal of reimagining and transforming education systems for equity. 

Supports for 
Vision Grant Cohort Program

Once we make funding decisions, we will bring together cohorts of Vision grantees to learn from each other, and to participate in learning opportunities that will further support Vision Grant teams’ collaborative planning and project development. Learning opportunities include support for how to do research for impact (including developing a theory of change), how to partner in equitable and generative ways, and how to consider the full breadth of expertise needed on the project team.  Teams who are funded for this cycle of Vision Grants are expected to participate in these sessions in September and November 2024, and February 2025. After participating in these grantee meetings, teams will be eligible to apply for the next cycle of the Transformative Research Grants ($3.5M).


Proposals to the Vision Grant program must be for planning research projects that study education and/or learning, broadly conceived, though they will likely include scholars and partners in other sectors and fields. 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. While graduate students may be part of the research team, they may not be named the PI or Co-PI on the proposal.

The PI must be affiliated with a non-profit organization or public/governmental institution that is willing to serve as the administering organization if the grant is awarded. The Spencer Foundation does not award grants directly to individuals. 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).

PIs and Co-PIs may apply for a Vision Grant if they have another active research grant from the Spencer Foundation or if they have another Spencer grant proposal in review.

Proposals are accepted from the U.S. and internationally. All proposals must be submitted in English and budgets must be proposed in U.S. Dollars.

Note: All awarded Vision Grantees will have the option to apply for a Transformative Research Grant, with awards to carry out the planned research projects (budgets up to $3.5M). In addition to considering the development of a proposal for the Transformative Research Grant program, Vision Grant Awardees are also eligible to submit a proposal to other Spencer Foundation grant programs. 


PIs and Co-PIs may not be part of more than one Vision Grant proposal (funded and/or in review). *Please note that this restriction marks a change in policy from the first two cycles of the Vision Grants program.

Proposed budgets for this program are limited to $75,000 total and may not include indirect cost charges per Spencer’s policy.

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


Step 1: Submit an Intent to Apply Form

The Intent to Apply is not more than 200 words and has no impact on proposal review. It is a mechanism to assist Spencer’s internal planning and program management. The Intent to Apply is required to submit a proposal to the Vision Grants program. 

Intent to Apply Guidelines

Before you are given access to the full proposal application, the Intent to Apply must be submitted through an online application form following the guidelines below. The steps for registering and/or updating SmartSimple profiles and then submitting an Intent to Apply form are as follows:

Registration and My Profile
This application is configured for the Principal Investigator (PI) on the project to register and submit the form. If someone other than the PI will be completing the online application (e.g., an administrative assistant), the PI should register as described below and then provide their username and password to the person assisting them with the application.

If the PI has never accessed the Spencer Foundation online portal, they must register and create a profile by going to and clicking the “Register Here” button. Profiles can be created by following the guidelines on the registration page.

If the PI already has an account, they should log in to update their profile and access the application. Whether creating a new profile or updating an existing one, we request that the PI responds to the variety of questions related to how they identify, as well as their topical and methodological expertise

After logging in, the PI should follow the directions to complete the information requested on the My Profile page and upload their current CV (10-page limit). The My Profile page is the PI’s online account with the Spencer Foundation whether they are applying for a grant, reviewing a proposal, or submitting a grantee report.

Note: Any Co-PIs must also register and complete their profile information if they wish to be included on the application.

Intent to Apply Form
To complete an Intent to Apply form, the PI should go to Workbench and click the Apply button for the Vision Grants program. The draft form can be saved and returned to a later time if necessary. The draft form will be available on the PI’s Draft Proposals list on their Workbench.

Intent to Apply Form Elements
Below is an overview of the application elements that the PI will be expected to complete. This information is not binding (i.e., project teams may change what they have submitted on the Intent to Apply form when working on the full proposal). However, it is helpful in determining the appropriate reviewers for your eventual full proposal and for internal evaluations of our grant programs.

  • Project Personnel - As the person creating the draft application, the PI will automatically be assigned to the proposal as the Principal Investigator. For Co-PIs on the proposal, the PI will be asked to provide their names and organizations in this section.
  • Proposal Summary – Information about the proposal is requested, such as the project title, estimated duration, the central topic(s), and a 200-word project summary.
  • Project Data – Within the online application, we ask the PI to check off the appropriate options for the proposed Vision Grant in the following categories: disciplinary perspective, topics, geographical scope, and contexts.
  • Submit the Intent to Apply Form – Once the PI has completed the form, they should click the Submit button at the bottom of the page. The Full Proposal application form will now be available on their Workbench.

Reminder: The Intent to Apply form must be submitted by noon central time on the due date in order to submit a Full Proposal for the upcoming review cycle.

Step 2: Prepare and Submit a Full Proposal.
As a reminder, Vision Grants are $75,000 for a duration of between 6 and 12 months. Vision Grants are intended to provide research planning grant support to teams of researchers, policymakers, practitioners, community members and/or other partners to develop thoughtful and rigorous studies and programs of research. Proposal elements are further specified below.       

Like the Intent to Apply form, the Vision Grants full proposal must be submitted through an online application form following the guidelines below.

The person filling out the application should go to “Draft Proposals” on their Workbench and click Vision Grants in draft status. The draft application can be saved and returned to as necessary before the deadline. Saved draft applications are located in the Draft Proposals list on the Workbench.

Vision Grant Proposal Elements
Below are the elements that Vision Grants teams are expected to submit.

Project Personnel
This section will automatically populate from the submitted Intent to Apply form. Teams can edit the text that appears in this section if they choose.

Proposal Summary
This section will also automatically populate from the submitted Intent to Apply form. Teams can also edit the text that appears in this section if they choose.

Proposal Narrative (2000 words)
The Vision Grant program is intended to provide support in planning and developing a study or program of research that is designed to transform education systems toward equity. However, because this is a planning grant, we do not expect that the full research project will already be planned out in the proposal. Thus, our focus will be on evaluating the promise of the research project that will be developed, and its potential to lead to transformative change for equity in education. The proposal narrative should include the following (uploaded as a PDF):

A description of the particular challenge or opportunity this research project seeks to address and its potential to be transformative. Include the following: What system(s) is the team ultimately seeking to transform (and why) and what levers will need to be engaged in order to transform that system(s) (and why)? What is innovative about the focus of the project? How will the team know it is important to the field and to other partners? What have been prior constraints in this area or how will this project move beyond prior efforts to disrupt inequities or advance equity? Does the scope and scale of the project lend itself to transformative systems change, and are there sightlines to that transformation? Describe how this project has the potential to result in transformative change to education systems, and initial thoughts about how that transformation will be advanced.

An empirical rationale for the potential project. Although we anticipate that the empirical rationale may evolve over the course of the planning grant, we are interested in the project team’s identification of relevant literatures, findings, gaps, and opportunities. We encourage the team to seek out a range of lenses and empirical bodies of work, and to explore across disciplines for empirical studies, conceptual frameworks, and theories that will initially guide the transformative research project design. 

A description of the team. Conducting transformative research requires the engagement of a diverse set of expertise, methodological, disciplinary, and experiential, from the beginning of the research study planning process. We anticipate that teams will engage scholars across departmental and school affiliation and will include multiple partners across systems levels or sectors. Proposals should include descriptions of key leadership and team members and their expected contributions to the project. This includes a description of the expertise (conceptual, empirical, methodological, praxis/professional) that is represented on the team, and how the team is poised through this proposed research planning grant to further develop or draw on diverse conceptual and methodological approaches, as well as practice and policy-based experiences. This should include a description of researchers and other partners (students, families, educators, site/system leaders, policy experts, others). We realize that some team members might be added during a team’s Vision Grant planning process. However, we are looking for proposals that at the time of submission name specific collaborators across partner groups who have already agreed to participate.

A process for collaborative work on developing the research design. This includes an overview of the processes the team will use to engage in collective thinking and planning of the research project/program of work. It also includes the potential methodological approaches the team is planning to pursue and how the team will build upon the existing expertise of the team to develop new knowledge along the way. A key aspect of the process should be focused on how multiple partners will engage in the research design to ensure deep and equitable collaboration and impact. For example, how will the team develop relationships across partner groups and how will all team members be included in project development, routine practices, and project governance and structures as part of this planning grant? 

The text should be double–spaced and in 12-point font. APA style is preferred. At the conclusion of the narrative, please include the word count in parentheses. The reference list should follow the narrative in the same PDF file and will not count toward the 2000-word limit. 

Note: Tables and other figures can be included in the text of the proposal, where appropriate, provided they are used sparingly. The text contained in any tables and figures will not count toward the word limit. However, it is important that any tables or figures in the narrative portion of the proposal are explained or described.

Project Timeline
A project timeline should be uploaded as a PDF file and should indicate the proposed start and end dates of the project, as well as key project events and milestones. The project timeline may not exceed 1 page, and the text should not be smaller than 9-point font. The proposed project duration can be up to 12 months. 

Budget and Budget Justification
The budget form is divided into the following categories and each category has a pulldown menu of the line item choices listed in parentheses below:

  • Salaries (PI, Co-PI, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Graduate Student, Researcher, Undergraduate Researcher, Other Research Staff, Other Staff, Supplemental PI Course Release, Supplemental Co-PI Course Release)
  • Benefits (PI Benefits, Co-PI Benefits, Researcher Benefits, Other Staff Benefits, Tuition/Fees, Supplemental Course Release Benefits)
  • Other Collaborator (Collaborators from Partner Groups, Consultants, Advisors)
  • Travel (Project Travel)
  • Equipment and Software (Equipment, Software)
  • Project Expenses (Supplies, Communication, Transcription)
  • Learning and Professional Development (Trainings, Team Building and Co-Learning Opportunities)
  • Other (other costs not associated with the line items above)

Each expense for the project should be added and the budget narrative field should be completed, providing a description of that specific expense. Detailed guidelines are available within the application form.

Subcontracts: If the proposed Vision Grant will have a subcontract(s), a separate subcontract budget form will need to be completed for each subcontract involved. The subcontract form has the same categories and line item choices listed above.

Optional Appendix A: Innovative Approaches to Equity in Research
We recognize that scholars and scholarship have continued to develop innovative approaches to conducting research in ethical and just ways. If you choose, you are invited to upload a one-page appendix in your Vision Grant proposal to elaborate on the theoretical, methodological, and partnership structures, or other dimensions you deem as relevant to conducting ethical and just research. For example, if your work engages youth, families, or community-based organizations, you may want to elaborate on how traditional power dynamics will be addressed. Or, if your work engages with Indigenous communities, you may want to elaborate on the project leadership’s histories and engagement with Indigenous communities, any formal agreements (e.g., Tribal IRB or approvals), or the use of Indigenous methodologies in the project. Or perhaps you are working on new quantitative measures or modeling approaches that would benefit from further explanation. We anticipate and welcome a wide range of other possibilities.

Optional Appendices B: If you have supporting documents, such as letters of agreement or collaboration, they can be uploaded in this section of the application.

Project Data
Within the online application, we ask you to choose the appropriate options with regard to your project in the following categories: disciplinary perspective, topics, geographical scope, and contexts. This information is helpful in determining the appropriate reviewers for your proposal and for internal evaluations of our grant programs.

Signature from Authorized Representative of the Administering Organization
This section of the application details the steps necessary to obtain the authorized signature for the proposal through the Adobe E-sign process. The PI is required to provide the Signatory’s name, title, and email address; this is normally an administrative or financial person who has the authority to sign the proposal on behalf of the organization. Note: The signature process must be completed by noon on the deadline date. The applicant is responsible for making sure that the proposal is signed by the deadline. To do so, we recommend filling in the online application at least a week ahead of the deadline date. The Spencer Foundation is unable to accept late submissions.  

Once all of the elements listed above are completed, click the Submit button at the bottom of the application page and it will be routed to the identified Signatory for signature and final submission.

Please email with any questions.

Proposals submitted to the Vision Grants program are peer reviewed by a select panel and Foundation staff. The review panel for this program is made up of scholars in the field of education research with expertise across many disciplines and methodological areas, as well as practitioners and/or policy experts. Panelists are asked to rate and comment on the following:

Significance of the Focal Issues
Reviewers will evaluate the significance of the proposed issues and their transformative potential in educational systems. This will include the description of how the proposed research described in the proposal that the team intends to plan is situated in relation to prior research, theory, and practice/policy, and the knowledge-building potential of the area being pursued. We are looking for innovative systems-change ideas that the research planning grant will allow teams the time and space to develop into ambitious and forward-looking research projects to transform our educational systems toward greater equity.

Articulation of Collaborative Research Design Process
Reviewers will evaluate the processes and plans for developing a rigorous and collaborative research project that would ultimately lead to systems change. Evidence-based approaches to developing new practices, processes, policies, and structures must be at the heart of systems transformation in education. Thus, reviewers will evaluate both the potential for rigorous research, and the structures for equitable collaboration (including how power will be shared across team members). Reviewers will also evaluate the disciplinary and methodological diversity and collaborative potential of people involved in the project. This means that reviewers will be looking for team members from different schools, departments, and disciplinary approaches, and/or team members that use significantly different research methodologies; inside or outside of universities. Reviewers will also evaluate the appropriateness and strength of the collaboration with practice, policy, community, and other partners.  Reviewers will be looking for whether the expertise required for the research planning project being proposed is represented and they will be looking for how the individuals and collective will continue to stretch, grow, and develop new understandings together as part of this planning process.

Opportunity for Transformation
Reviewers will evaluate the extent to which the topic of the project, the scope and scale of the view for systemic change, and the approach is likely to result in transformation toward making education and learning systems, practices, and policies more equitable. Reviewers will be looking for initial evidence that the team understands why the particular problem or opportunity is significant to partners and how they will continue to strengthen this evidence through the research planning grant. The reviewers will also be looking for how the team will be working toward not just what is plausible but what is possible as we envision new and more equitable educational systems to meet the needs of children and young people, families, educators, systems leaders, and communities more broadly. Proposals should have clear sightlines to systems transformation and an initial plan for how the evidence ultimately gathered in the research project will lead to impact.

Budget and Timeline
Reviewers will evaluate the adequacy of the budget and timeline, as well as the alignment among budgetary allocations, proposed collaborations, and development of ideas.


Q: Can a PI or co-PI be eligible for a Vision Grant if they already have another active Spencer grant?

A: Yes. PIs and/or Co-PIs may be involved with another Spencer funded grant or proposal as PI and/or Co-PI, in addition to being named as a PI and/or Co-PI on a Vision Grant proposal.


Q: Can the same person be part of multiple Vision Grants proposals as a PI or Co-PI?

A: No. The same person cannot be the PI or Co-PI on multiple Vision Grants proposals. Note that this marks a policy change from what the Foundation allowed in earlier cycles of this program.


Q: How large should Vision Grant teams be? Who should be represented on teams?

A: Project teams should decide on the scope and scale of their Vision Grant teams given the research project being planned and developed. We expect that most teams will be somewhere between 4 and 10 people. We do expect teams to be interdisciplinary and/or multi-method. We also expect collaborations with practitioners, policymakers, young people, educators, non-profit organizations, governments, or communities (this list is not exhaustive—these are only examples). Although we understand that teams might choose to add collaborators as part of the Vision Grant planning process, at the time of submission we expect proposals to name specific collaborators across sectors who have already agreed to participate.


Q: What are typical budget line items for a Vision Grant project?

A: Please see the Budget and Budget Justification section under How to Apply above, where we provide details about the budget, including budget categories.


Q: Are indirect costs allowed for Vision Grants?

A: No. The Spencer Foundation does not allow indirect costs for budgets that are $75,000 or less. Please see the Applicant Information and Policies section of the website for additional information:


Q: How are Vision Grants different from a research project that could be submitted to other Spencer grant programs?

A: Vision Grants are planning grants. They are designed to provide project teams with the time, space, resources, and scaffolding to plan a large-scale study or program of research and impact for systems transformation toward equity. Different from Spencer’s other research funding programs, the proposal does not yet need to be a fully fleshed out research plan. Proposals identify a topic or focus with the potential for transformative impact, initial ideas about the study, as well as a process and a team that will lead to a fully fleshed out research plan by the end of the grant period.


Q: How is the Vision Grants program different from Spencer’s Research-Practice Partnership grant program?

A: The scale and scope of Vision Grants is different from those that would be appropriate for the Research-Practice Partnerships Program. We expect Vision Grant teams to be working toward transforming educational systems for equity; equity-oriented transformative systems change is the goal. While Research-Practice Partnerships also involve collaboration, these partnerships need not be as focused on transformative systems change outcomes. Additionally, Vision Grants are planning grants, and the program is designed to create and nurture strong and impactful collaborations – both existing and newly formed – with a variety of partners across geographies, institutions, disciplines, methodological traditions, policy and practice. Together, partners work toward imagining and designing innovative research project(s)/program of research that disrupt(s) and transform educational systems. This is unlike Spencer’s Research-Practice Partnership grant program where we fund partnerships that are required to have a history of working together, propose to conduct a specified set of research and praxis-oriented activities that they will accomplish during the course of the grant, and leverage theoretical and analytic frameworks that may or may not be multi-method or multi-disciplinary.


Q: Can Vision Grant proposals include time and resources for developing partnerships/ relationships/community between researchers, practitioners, policy advocates, etc.?

A: Yes. We expect that Vision Grant proposal budgets will include time and resources for the development of partnerships and relationships. Please see the Budget and Budget Justification section above for additional information.


Q: How broadly should we think about education systems being targeted for change? How is Spencer envisioning “large scale transformation”? Are there particular topics or issues that Spencer is interested in for the Vision Grant?

A: Vision Grants are field initiated like Spencer’s other grant programs, meaning that we do not dictate particular topics or issues that we want Vision Grant teams to address. Vision Grant teams have complete freedom to propose planning grants about critically important topics and issues situated in systems that need to be transformed for equity. Please see the Program Statement section above for a few example project ideas to help concretize what we mean by systems transformation (and please keep in mind that these are only examples). Please also explore the Transformative Research Program section of the Spencer website for descriptions of Vision Grants that have received funding.


Q: How long are Vision Grant awardees eligible to apply for the Transformative Research Grant?

A: Vision Grant grantees are eligible to apply for a Transformative Research Grant for up to two years after their Vision Grant is completed.


Q: If awarded a Vision Grant, are Vision Grantees required to submit a proposal to the Transformative Research Grant program?

A: No. Vision Grants are planning grants to support teams in imagining and creating methodologically and disciplinarily diverse, collaborative research projects designed to reimagine education systems for equity. Funded Vision Grant teams may apply for a Transformative Research Grant, or they may apply for other Spencer Foundation grant programs if those are a better fit. There is no requirement to apply for future funding.


Q: How many Vision Grant proposals will be awarded each cycle?

A: We expect to award 10 Vision Grants during each cycle of the program. There will be two cycles per year.


Q: Do PIs have to be located in a university to be eligible?

A: No, PIs and/or Co-PIs do not need to be located in a university to be eligible for a Vision Grant. As we note under Eligibility: 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. While graduate students may be part of the research team, they may not be named the PI or Co-PI on the proposal. The PI must be affiliated with a non-profit organization or public/governmental institution that is willing to serve as the administering organization if the grant is awarded. The Spencer Foundation does not award grants directly to individuals.


Q: Are resubmissions allowed?

A: Yes. Like Spencer’s other grant programs, we accept resubmissions of Vision Grants.


Q: Do you accept proposals from outside the United States?

A: Yes, we accept proposals from outside the U.S. Additionally, project teams do not have to include a U.S.-based scholar(s) or other U.S.-based partners. Application materials must be submitted in English and project budgets must be in U.S. dollars.


Q: When is the earliest that projects could begin?

A: Project timelines should not begin until 5-6 months after the proposal deadline to allow for the time it takes for the review process.


Q: Who will review Vision Grant proposals?

A: A panel of senior scholars and other partners (e.g., practitioners, policymakers, leaders of community-based organizations, etc.) who have extensive experience designing and collaborating on research projects aimed to transform systems toward equity will review Vision Grant proposals to support the Spencer Foundation as we make our funding decisions.


Q: Are there types of work that you do not fund in the Vision Grants program?

A: Across all Spencer grant programs, and Vision Grants are no exception, we do not fund activities like program evaluation, capital campaigns, the creation or maintenance of research centers, or scholarships. In addition, we are not looking for planning grants where the research design is already fleshed out and the team is seeking funding for pre-study activities such as designing study instrumentation and securing IRB approval and permissions.

September 2024 deadline

Applications Open
June 5, 2024

Intent to Apply Form Deadline
August 14, 2024, 12:00 PM Noon (Central/USA Time)

Full Proposal Deadline
September 17, 2024 12:00 PM Noon (Central/USA Time)

The Spencer Foundation recently announced the inaugural Vision Grant awardees. See the list of awardees here.