Applicant Resources

Applicant Guidance

These resources offer recommendations for applicants seeking to apply for a research or Scholars grant aligned with the Foundation’s focus area on reducing inequality.

If you are considering applying for a major grant or Officers’ research award in our reducing inequality focus area, we encourage you to closely evaluate whether your proposed study is a fit with our funding interests.
Proposing Research on Reducing Inequality: Is Your Study a Fit?
As you prepare your LOI, ask yourself: what strategy will I test, build, improve, or identify through this project that might reduce unequal outcomes among youth ages 5-25 in the …
Letters of Inquiry to Propose Research on Reducing Inequality: Identifying the Lever for Change
I’d like to share advice with potential applicants about developing a letter of inquiry for our reducing inequality focus area, the critical first step in the grant application process. How can applicants persuade reviewers of their projects’ …
Changing the Conversation About Inequality—The First Step: Writing the Letter of Inquiry
After reviewing nearly 400 letters of inquiry, we share some thoughts about the research we want to support, along with recommendations for future applicants.
Changing the Conversation About Inequality: Applying for Research Grants

Recommended Reading

The following resources address three critical considerations in proposals for research on reducing inequality: 1) rich conceptualizations of what it means to reduce inequality, 2) robust methods for studying efforts to reduce inequality, and 3) research agendas that propose ways to reduce inequality. We encourage you to read the resources below and consider the research agendas outlined as you develop a proposal.

Conceptualizing Reducing Inequality

This essay describes how strong conceptualizations of inequality can inform subsequent efforts to identify and study appropriate strategies for reducing inequality. Irons offers specific examples of how grantees have employed rich conceptualizations of inequality to inform their own studies, and outlines considerations for researchers to attend to as they propose their own efforts to develop, test, or inform strategies to reduce inequality.
Shifting the Lens: Why Conceptualization Matters in Research on Reducing Inequality
This essay describes the Foundation’s approach to supporting research on reducing inequality. Grounded in a discussion of educational inequality, Gamoran’s essay offers new approaches to thinking about inequality, identifies key leverage points for reducing inequality, and examines the potential for research to inform effective responses to inequality.
Inequality is the Problem: Prioritizing Research on Reducing Inequality
This commissioned paper examines the micro-level social processes that contribute to the social exclusion of disadvantaged racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups and offers insight into the ways that context can disrupt the effects of these processes. Burton and Welsh conclude with research and policy recommendations for strengthening social capital and social mobility among the poor that take these social processes into consideration
Inequality and Opportunity: The Role of Exclusion, Social Capital, and Generic Social Processes in Upward Mobility
This commissioned paper synthesizes existing research on social inequality in the socioeconomic, health, political, and sociocultural domains. Carter and Reardon also offer a detailed conceptualization of what they mean by inequality. The paper concludes with a discussion of key gaps in the literature on inequality and ways to reduce inequality.
Inequality Matters

Methods and Measurement

This essay offers specific guidance for researchers proposing mixed-methods studies, identifying four key elements of high-quality mixed-methods proposals.
Harnessing Discovery: Writing a Strong Mixed-Methods Proposal
This essay, designed to be useful to all applicants regardless of their methodological approach, describes the value of qualitative and mixed-method approaches for studies on reducing inequality.
How and Why: Questions that are Well-suited for Qualitative and Mixed Methods

Research Agendas for Reducing Inequality

This commissioned paper explores specific mechanisms driving disparities in mental health outcomes for minority children and adolescents, as well as protective factors and barriers to mental health care. The authors detail a research agenda for future studies to respond to mental health inequalities among youth.
Disparities in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Mental Health Services in the U.S.
This essay puts forth a new frame for understanding and confronting racial inequalities. Darity discusses the structural roots of racial disadvantage and consequences of generations of anti-Black discriminatory policies. This essay also outlines a research agenda focused on specific policy responses to racial inequalities.
A New Agenda for Eliminating Racial Inequality in the United States: The Research We Need
This essay presents an analysis of trends driving inequalities in the education system. Gamoran outlines an agenda for future research on efforts to reduce inequalities in educational outcomes.
The Future of Educational Inequality: What Went Wrong and How Can We Fix It?
This commissioned paper offers an overview of existing research on crime, victimization, and the justice system response and describes the inequalities that exist prior to and emerge from justice system involvement. Building upon this discussion, Laub outlines a research agenda for future research on reducing inequality in justice outcomes for youth.
Understanding Inequality and the Justice System Response: Charting a New Way Forward
This essay describes how the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) offers an opportunity to improve academic outcomes for English learners. Louie examines specific research questions and data needs related to ESSA’s implementation that have the potential to improve English learners’ academic outcomes.
Learning English in the Era of the Every Student Succeeds Act
This commissioned paper outlines key issues and new directions for research to improve the outcomes of youth who enter college but fail to complete a credential.
The New Forgotten Half and Research Directions to Support Them
This essay discusses the need for research to identify and develop ways to address macro-social structures that form the basis of existing inequalities. Smeeding also outlines a research agenda for identifying policy solutions that can disrupt the foundations of inequality and improve outcomes for youth.
Once More from the Top: Examining Macro-Social Structures of Inequality to Improve Youth Outcomes
This commissioned paper explores six drivers of inequality for immigrant-origin children and youth and considers how school and family contexts might facilitate efforts to improve outcomes for immigrant-origin youth. The authors also outline relevant areas for future research to reduce immigration-related inequality.
Intersecting Inequalities: Research to Reduce Inequality for Immigrant-Origin Children and Youth
In this interview, Suárez-Orozco draws from themes from recent research on immigrant and refugee youth to outline a research agenda for ways to reduce inequalities in outcomes for immigrant and refugee youth across a range of policy domains.
Disrupted Lives: The Forceful Displacement of Refugee Children and New Directions for Research
In this essay, Yeager draws upon insights from his research on mindset interventions to reduce inequality in order to respond to critiques that studies of programs and practices to reduce inequality do not address the underlying contexts in which these inequalities exist.
Research on reducing inequality: Why programs and practices matter, even in an unequal society

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