Grants in Private Higher Education, Public Educational Media and Interfaith Leadership & Religious Literacy

(Note: For 2018–2020, Environmental Engagement, Stewardship & Solutions and Palliative Care grants will be considered only from designated partners that were chosen by the AVDF Board of Trustees in October of 2017. )

Inquiries and Application Process:

Step One - Carefully review the Foundations' guidelines for your area of interest: Private Higher Education, Public Educational Media, and Interfaith Leadership & Religious Literacy.

Step Two - Visit our grantee portal to determine eligibility. Both first-time applicants and returning applicants and grantees are required to create accounts in the portal.

  • If you already have an account in the AVDF online portal, log-in using your ID and password.  If you have misplaced your information, you may reset your password on the log-in page.  
  • If you do not have an account in the AVDF online portal, click here to visit the online portal, and select "Create an Account" on the right-hand side of the page.  After completing the eligibility form, qualified institutions will receive an email from the Foundations with an ID and password.

Step Three - Submit a letter of inquiry (LOI).  To log-in, use your ID and password and select "Submit New LOI" from the left navigation pane.  Your brief letter of inquiry should include a description of the project, intended goals and outcomes, budget, possible/desired impacts, timeframes, and why you believe your project aligns with the Foundations' philanthropic priorities.  

  • After submission of a letter of inquiry, the Foundations' program officers will contact you and either: (1) invite the submission of a full proposal, (2) invite you to revise or refresh your letter of inquiry, or (3) signal that your proposed project is not likely to be competitive at this time.  

Step Four- Submit a full grant proposal with more details about your proposed project if you are invited by the Foundations' program staff.


The Foundations utilize one grant deadline per calendar year.  

Please see our Grant Calendar Key Dates for more information about timing and our grant application process.

Sizes and Types of Grants:

Planning Grants: Planning grants are awarded in the formative stages of planning key strategic project and pilot activities or for support of new models and methodologies.  The Foundations will consider planning grant requests up to $100,000 from eligible 501(c)(3) organizations whose work aligns with our strategic philanthropic priorities.

Note: Planning grants are not available in the field of Public Educational Media.

Mid-size Grants: The Foundations will consider requests for support for grants with a range of $250,000 - $300,000 from eligible 501(c)(3) organizations whose work aligns with our strategic philanthropic priorities.  

Note: Mid-size grants for Public Educational Media range from $250,000 - $400,000.  

Transformational Grants: The  Foundations, may, at some point in the future, consider invited grant proposals for amounts larger and more transformational in size and scope.  


Proposal Review Criteria:

There are a number of criteria that the Foundations take into consideration when evaluating a proposal, including but not limited to:

  • Alignment with the stated philanthropic priorities of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations;
  • The program's potential for national or regional impact beyond just the institution or organization;
  • The articulation of clear and compelling project goals; 
  • Relevant and thoroughly considered metrics for measuring success; 
  • The level of institutional leadership quality and support for the proposed project; 
  • Whether or not the project contributes to and advances the knowledge base or practice of a given field; and
  • A well developed, reasonable, and clear project budget and timetable for project completion with indirect costs limited to 5% of the project per the Foundations' policies.

For more information about the eligibility criteria and qualities of competitive proposals, please see the individual pages specific to each program area.  



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