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

Note:  Environmental Engagement, Stewardship & Solutions and Palliative Care grants will be considered only from designated partner organizations. The Foundations will not consider unsolicited grant proposals in these areas.

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) through our online portal. 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.  

  • The Foundations' program staff will not accept calls to discuss projects in advance of the submission of a letter of inquiry. If after review of our guidelines and eligibility criteria you determine your idea is aligned with the philanthropic priorities of the Foundations, please submit a letter of inquiry by following the steps on this page. If your organization's idea is competitive within our portfolio of projects, a member of the Foundations' program staff will contact you. 
  • 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.

Grant Amounts: 

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations typically award grants up to $350,000. In exceptional circumstances, the Foundations will consider and fund grant requests at a higher amount. 

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;
  • Clear description of why the project is important, the activities that will be carried out with the funds requested from AVDF (Output), and specific and identifiable changes (Outcome) if the project is successful; 
  • Clear description of the current conditions in the field(s) relevant to the project, the problems that the project will address, the specific opportunity the project presents, and why the organization/team is positioned to be successful in implementing the project;
  • Applicants must submit a budget with numbered line items for each major expenditure category for the project. Each line should include the amount requested from AVDF, any amounts anticipated from other sources, and the total. In addition, applicants must submit a separate budget narrative which provides a narrative explanation for each numbered line in the budget. Indirect costs may not exceed 5% of the total direct costs.

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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