Shaping our Future: Update on the AVDF Strategic Plan

In 2014, the trustees and staff of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations began a comprehensive planning effort to determine our philanthropic priorities for the next decade. The trustees have:

  • reconfirmed our emphasis on three current program areas for 2015-2020: 1) private higher education, 2) interfaith leadership and religious literacy, 3) public educational media;
  • recommitted to provide grants that build leadership, excellence and innovation;
  • tabled the secondary education teacher professional development program indefinitely;
  • suspended for 18 months our historic work in palliative care and health and caring attitudes in order to explore new, high impact areas in “medicine and health” in which our funding and expertise can add significantly on a national scale;
  • determined that we will explore new areas for our philanthropy including: 1) science, mathematics and the environment, 2) an “innovation” category that allows us flexibility to move away from sector-based funding and toward more innovative grants, and 3) other priorities that may emerge in our exploration of possible new program areas.

Recently, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations’ Trustees embarked upon a time of exploration and engagement regarding possible new program areas, new grant opportunities and philanthropic priorities.

Through context briefings and seminars with highly respected national leaders, our trustees and staff are acquiring a sense of context and understanding about emerging trends in each of our current program areas and new interest areas including science, mathematics and the environment. Several of these sessions are specifically designed to explore partnerships with organizations that may allow us to partner in our philanthropic leadership on a national scale. Consideration also is underway regarding grant application deadlines, grant amounts, waiting periods between grants and grant reporting guidelines.

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations’ Board of Trustees is in the final stages of our strategic planning process.  Given this, the AVDF staff is no longer inviting new grant proposals through 2016. The next deadline for Letters of Interest (LOIs) and proposals will be November 1, 2017, unless our strategic plan calls for specific unsolicited grant proposals in the interim.

Once the Board of Trustees completes its strategic plan, I will brief you on the outcome by April 15, 2017. We are deeply grateful for your patience and cooperation during this time and all of us look forward to working with you in 2017 and 2018.


Nancy J. Cable, Ph.D.

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