In Theological Education, the Foundations seek to provide philanthropic support for leading theological schools that offer curricula and programs to address the pressing issues facing the preparation of religious leaders. Of particular interest to Trustees are programs that encourage aspiring clergy and lay leaders to bring energy and vision to the faith and spiritual needs of contemporary society. This includes revitalizing traditional church structures that continue to be influenced by theological, demographic, and cultural changes. Theological Education grant amounts range from $50,000 to $200,000.
Proposals in Theological Education should reflect the school’s mission and current strategic priorities. Selection criteria will focus on academic excellence, stable leadership and governance, and the potential for lasting impact on the quality of the educational experience. Competitive proposals should reflect one or more of the following:
- Creative and transformational approaches to the current trends and challenges affecting theological education and the communities for which they are preparing religious leaders;
- Collaborative efforts among seminaries and/or other partner institutions or organizations. Examples might be shared physical resources, academic expertise, or student learning experiences;
- Curricular initiatives that prepare religious leaders for pluralistic contexts. Areas of particular interest are interreligious engagement, racial integration and cultural equality, sensitivity to differences in gender and sexual orientation, and ministries directed to the under-served; and
- Programs that contribute knowledge and best practices which benefit the whole of theological education and beyond. These might include models for financial sustainability, ecology of resources, and effective educational pedagogies.
The applicant institution for a Theological Education grant must be fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and located within the United States. No preference is given to any denomination or ecclesial affiliation.
A minimum of four years must have elapsed between an institution’s most recent grant and its eligibility to send a new request. This is determined by the date the previous grant was awarded.
The Foundations’ Trustees also continue to prefer that the CEO of the applicant institution has been at the institution for a minimum of one year.
The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations have moved to two annual grant cycles for proposal submissions. Applicants should strive to meet one of two submission dates: November 1
and April 1
(regardless of the day of the week). Each proposal should be submitted with the application form which can be accessed here
In addition to the application form, the initial grant application should include the following:
- A signed one-page cover letter from the Chief Executive Officer (president, dean or rector) of the institution articulating the relevance of this proposal to the current highest priorities and mission of the institution;
- A two hundred word abstract (approximate) that will be used publicly if grant is awarded;
- A two-page summary of the proposed grant including purpose, audience, goals, methodology, project leadership and anticipated outcomes;
- A detailed budget with the total project costs, requested funds from the Foundations and other sources of support (the Foundation does not fund indirect costs);
- A timeline for proposed activities; and
- A copy of the applicant institution’s current IRS statement of eligibility and Employer Identification Number.
Completed grant applications may be sent by mail or email to Dr. Nancy J. Cable, President.
Evaluation and Notification
The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations
225 Water Street, Suite 1510
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Upon receipt of the grant proposal, all materials will be evaluated according to the criteria noted above. If a proposal is not competitive within the current field of applicants, a notification of decline will be sent. Additional information may be requested from those judged to be competitive. Program staff will help guide applicants through the consideration process including preparation of the final proposal for action by the Board of Trustees. Trustees make all final decisions.
Every effort is made to respond to all questions, inquiries and proposals in a timely manner. Generally, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations strive to render final decisions on grant requests within four to six months of proposal submission.