Private Higher Education

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations’ Board of Trustees is in the final stages of our strategic planning process.  The next deadline for grant proposals will be November 1, 2017.

Once the Board of Trustees completes its strategic plan, we will brief you on the outcome by May 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.

Brandeis undergraduates contribute to the work of leading researchers and pursue their own interests in labs that promote interdisciplinary collaboration.
Courtesy of Brandeis University

The Foundations’ philanthropy to private higher education concentrates on private colleges and universities whose academic mission is primarily in the liberal arts and sciences, rather than career or vocational studies. These institutions should exemplify academic quality and financial stability. Proposals from associations and consortia that serve higher education are also welcome.

A portion of funding is reserved each year to help support the vitally important work of historically black colleges and universities, Native American tribal colleges, schools within the Appalachian College Association and Work College Consortium members.

The Foundations seek compelling proposals that translate thought leadership into practical, effective action. These initiatives must target the undergraduate experience. Proposals should reflect a high institutional priority and should intend to: advance academic quality, establish new, innovative practices or address persistent academic issues. Priorities may include curricular or co-curricular programs related to teaching, learning, scholarship, undergraduate research, faculty development, academic quality, intellectual vigor or innovative ideas with lasting impact at either the requesting institution or across the sector. While there is no preference for a specific discipline or interdisciplinary focus, the Foundations honor attention to academic quality, leadership development, innovation and integrity of mission.

Grant Amounts 

The Academic Center for Excellence at Dillard is designed to improve student retention, academic success and graduation rates.
Courtesy of Dillard University

Private higher education institutions may request planning grants that range from $25,000 up to $100,000, or comprehensive grants for $250,000.


All private, four-year residential colleges and universities are eligible to be invited to apply. Those institutions undergoing a presidential transition must wait to submit a proposal until the new president has been in office for a year. For larger, comprehensive grants, a minimum of four years must have elapsed since an institution’s most recent grant award before a new request may be submitted. The four-year period is determined by the notification date of the previous grant award.

When & How to Apply (by invitation)

Once an invitation has been extended, proposals may be submitted through our grantee portal

Every effort is made to respond to all submitted proposals in a timely manner. Upon receipt of a grant proposal, all materials will be evaluated according to the guidelines and criteria provided for each program area. If a proposal is not competitive within the current grant cycle, notification will be sent as soon as possible and may include an invitation to re-submit a revised proposal at a later date.

Submitted material related to the grant proposal will not be returned.


To answer general questions that may result from these programmatic changes, please view our Frequently Asked Questions.

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