Since our founding in 1936, the William T. Grant Foundation has worked to further the understanding of human behavior through research. Today, we support high-quality research that is relevant to policies and practices that affect the lives of young people ages 5 to 25 in the United States.

The online application is now closed. The next deadline for applications is January 9, 2019, 3:00 PM EST.

Focus Areas

We fund research that increases understanding in one of our two focus areas:

We seek research that builds stronger theory and empirical evidence in these two areas. We intend for the research we support to inform change. While we do not expect that any one study will create that change, the research should contribute to a body of useful knowledge to improve the lives of young people.


Research grants about reducing inequality typically range between $100,000 and $600,000 and cover two to three years of support. Research grants about improving the use of research initiative will range between $100,000 and $1,000,000 and cover two to four years of support. This shift to a million dollar ceiling reflects our renewed commitment to this focus area and our interest in funding bold, large-scale studies to significantly advance the field. Projects involving secondary data analysis are at the lower end of the budget range, whereas projects involving new data collection and sample recruitment can be at the higher end. Proposals to launch experiments in which settings (e.g., classrooms, schools, youth programs) are randomly assigned to conditions sometimes have higher awards.

For smaller projects, we have a separate funding mechanism, Officers’ Research grants. These awards cover budgets up to $50,000. Some are stand-alone projects that fit our research focus areas; others build off of larger projects. Junior scholars of color are encouraged to apply for these grants as a way to build their research programs.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Research project advances the Foundation’s interests in understanding programs, policies, and practices that reduce inequality or improving the use of research evidence.
  • Research project has compelling relevance for programs, policies, and practices affecting youth ages 5-25 in the U.S.
  • Funds primarily support research activities, not intervention or service costs.
  • Applicant is employed at a tax-exempt organization.


The Foundation does not have a preference for a particular research design or method. We begin application reviews by looking at the research questions or hypotheses. Then we evaluate whether the proposed research designs and methods will provide strong data and empirical evidence on those questions. The strongest proposals incorporate data from multiple sources and often involve multi-disciplinary teams.

The Foundation also strives to support a diverse group of researchers in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and seniority. We especially encourage high-quality research projects led by African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian American researchers.


The Foundation invests significant time and resources in capacity-building for grantees. We provide opportunities for connections with other scholars, policymakers, and practitioners. We also organize targeted learning communities, such as our annual meeting for grantees working on the use of research evidence. Such meetings allow grantees to discuss challenges, seek advice from peers and colleagues, and collaborate across projects. To strengthen our grantees’ capacities to conduct and implement strong qualitative and mixed-methods work, the Foundation provides a consultation service through the University of California, Los Angeles’s Semel Institute, Center for Culture and Health, Fieldwork and Qualitative Data Research Laboratory. Services range from phone conversations and email exchanges to meetings or training sessions, depending on the needs of the grantee.

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