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Spencer Foundation and William T. Grant Award Nine Grants for Advancing Equity in Research-Practice Partnerships


The Spencer Foundation and the William T. Grant Foundation recently awarded nine grants to teams of scholars interested in working collectively to challenge existing power dynamics and advance equity in Research-Practice Partnerships (RPPs). 

The Advancing Equity in Research-Practice Partnerships Supplemental Grant Program will support teams previously or currently funded by Spencer or William T. Grant who are committed to equity and anti-racism in their partnership structures, policies, and practices. RPP teams will work together to conceptualize new, powerful examples of what equity within RPPs could look like.

“Research-practice partnerships often contain a variety of power asymmetries and inequitable policies and practices that can exacerbate the very inequities they seek to address,” said Megan Bang, Spencer Senior Vice President. “We hope that this program helps RPP teams deeply explore issues of race, privilege, equity, and belonging in their processes of partnering and develop new practices, tools, and potentially measures that support transformative work.” 

The program will provide grantees with the opportunity to explore how existing structures, policies, and practices affect both the quality of relationships within their current partnership and the quality of work the partnership produces. Ultimately, the group will be tasked with co-designing frameworks and other tools that help center equity in research-practice partnerships.

“We know that research-practice partnerships hold great promise to improve systems and create more useful research that has the potential to affect policy and practice, and reduce inequalities,” said WT Grant Senior Program Officer Lauren Supplee. “But to fulfill this promise, we need new thinking, new models, and new tools to ensure that equity is at the forefront of these partnerships.”

Awarded teams:

Gustavo J. Bobonis (University of Toronto), Damarys Varela Vélez (Puerto Rico Department of Education), Orlando Sotomayor (University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez), Emily Goldman (Universidad del Sagrado Corazón/Puerto Rico Department of Education)

Teresa Brockie (Johns Hopkins School of Nursing), Deborah Wilson (Johns Hopkins School of Nursing), Katie Nelson (Johns Hopkins School of Nursing), and Michelle Kahn-John (Johns Hopkins School of Nursing)

Keisha Browder (United Way of Santa Cruz County); All team members who are part of the Youth Action Network and the UCSC (University of California, Santa Cruz) research fellows, leadership, and community engagement teams will participate in the project. This will include a total of 4 people from United Way (including the community fellow, Sarah Emmert) and 7 people from UCSC (the PI Rebecca London, 4 research fellows, 1 community engagement specialist, and the Campus + Community research center’s managing director)

Gerald Campano (University of Pennsylvania); María Paula Ghiso (Teachers College, Columbia University), Olivia Vazquez (Juntos and School District of Philadelphia), Wei Chen (Asian Americans United), Angela Chan (St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and School District of Philadelphia), and Robert Rivera-Amezola (School District of Philadelphia)

Meredith Honig (University of Washington), Steve Grubb (Highline Public Schools), and Lydia Rainey (University of Washington)

Ann Ishimaru (University of Washington), Dana Nickson (University of Washington), Keisha Scarlett (Seattle Public Schools), Mia Williams (Seattle Public Schools), Eric Anderson (Seattle Public Schools), two family and community leaders, other district staff, and University of Washington graduate research assistants

Christopher R. Lawton (Putnam County Charter School System), Laura Melton (Putnam County Charter School System), Katie Walters, Avis Williams (Putnam County Charter School System), Melanie Hatch (Albany State University), Elizabeth Delancy (Albany State University), Anta’Sha Jones (Albany State University), and Ta’Varis Wilson (Albany State University)

Rebecca Shearer, Dr. Moise, Dr. Natale, Ms. Jhonelle Bailey, advanced doctoral student, Dr. Anabel Espinosa, Early Learning Coalition and Director of inclusion services, Dr. Maite Riestra-Quintero, Director of Miami-Dade Head Start, Mr. Mark Needle, Consortium facilitator, and leadership from the three community-based organizations. We will also ask for a representative from an agency (BSRI) we have begun collaborating with through the IDEAS to Action grant funded by The Children’s Trust. BSRI has staff with expertise in equity work, BSRI, to help us guide some of the conversations and processes to be developed.

Susan Stone (University of California, Berkeley), Norma Ming (San Francisco Unified School District), and Devin Corrigan (San Francisco Unified School District)



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