The information below applies to all Spencer grant programs, unless specifically noted.
The Principal Investigator (PI) and any Co-PIs named on a proposal to the Spencer Foundation are expected to have an earned doctorate in an academic discipline or professional field, or demonstrated professional experience appropriate for the program to which they are applying.
PIs and Co-PIs are restricted from holding more than one active research grant from the Spencer Foundation at a time. This restriction includes fellowships awarded by the National Academy of Education in the Dissertation or Postdoctoral Fellowship programs. Note: This restriction does not apply to the Conference Grant program.
The Spencer Foundation does not award grants directly to individuals- therefore all proposals must be submitted by an administering organization. The administering organization must have a non-profit determination from the IRS (e.g., university, college, research organization, school district, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, etc.).
We are open to receiving proposals from organizations outside of the United States. If the organization does not have an IRS non-profit determination, it will be expected to have an Equivalency Determination certificate. This is not required in order to submit a proposal. However, if the proposal reaches the final stage of review, the Spencer Foundation will work with the organization to obtain this certification through NGOSource.
The Spencer Foundation requires that submitted proposals be reviewed and signed by an authorized representative of the administering organization (typically a grants and contracts or finance administrator), accepting full responsibility for expenditure of the funds should the grant be awarded. Note: this requirement does not apply at the Letter of Intent or Intent to Apply stage in certain programs.
We do not allow indirect costs on grant awards of $75,000 or less. Research grant proposals with budgets of more than $75,000 may include indirect costs of 15% of the total direct costs.
Most institutional infrastructure costs should not be included when calculating the direct costs of project. Examples of non-allowable institutional infrastructure costs are: office rent, grants and contracts office expenses, institutional and departmental administrative expenses, institutional and departmental information technology expenses, and accounting and legal services.
In instances where the research grant proposal budget is more than $75,000 and includes a subcontract budget, the subcontract budget can also include the 15% indirect costs charge. However, the subcontract budget total should not then be included in the main budget total when calculating the overall indirect costs for the project.
The Spencer Foundation does not pay government-approved overhead rates on research grants. The Foundation does not pay indirect costs on non-research grants, such as fellowships or training grants, regardless of budget total. Administrative expenses for these projects may be built into the direct costs, with the exception of those related to institutional infrastructure.