As a graduate of Amherst College, Arthur Vining Davis experienced first-hand the value of a liberal arts education. The broad training that he received as a student equipped him to play a number of roles during his career: scientific innovator, corporate entrepreneur, real estate developer, and orchid farmer, to name just a few. His recognition of the transformative impact of liberal learning led him to give regularly to numerous private colleges and universities, and to encourage his Foundations to continue to provide this support.
Although the Foundations fund a variety of programs in higher education, grants typically support projects that improve student outcomes or enhance faculty leadership. The Foundations do not provide grants to support capital projects or endowment.
Private Higher Education grants typically range from $25,000 to $300,000, although the Foundations will entertain larger requests. Grants may support projects that span multiple years.
For projects that involve an intervention or program intended to improve a measurable outcome, a Full Proposal will require an evaluation plan that is overseen by a qualified evaluator. In cases where applicants do not have a qualified evaluator available to them, the Foundations can provide guidance on how to engage a qualified evaluator.
The Foundations are committed to the value of the liberal arts in undergraduate education.
As a result, AVDF encourages proposals that aim to provide more students with opportunities to engage the liberal arts regardless of their major or course of study. In addition, the Foundations invite proposals which seek to educate parents, students, and the general population about the nature and benefits of the liberal arts.
Featured Request for Proposals in “Advocacy for the Liberal Arts”: Transfer Pathways Program
Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and the Teagle Foundation are partnering to provide grants that support the development of statewide, regional, or consortial academic partnerships between public two-year and private four-year colleges to facilitate transfer and completion of the baccalaureate in the liberal arts. This grant program aims to bring the lifelong benefits of a liberal arts education to students who historically have been excluded from higher education—including low-income students, first-generation students, students of color, and immigrant students—who now constitute the “new majority” of undergraduates and depend on community college as their gateway to higher education. Grants up to $25,000 over 6-12 months for planning and up to $350,000 over 24-36 months for implementation will be made to institutions participating in this initiative. The size of the grant award will be based on the number of institutions involved and the scope of the project. Planning grants are strongly encouraged. We expect this grant program will remain open for approximately three to five years. For more information, click here.
Learning and growth require the opportunity and ability to engage respectfully and empathetically across lines of difference and disagreement.
The Foundations encourage proposals to develop curricular and extra-curricular programs that promote civil discourse and dialogue across social, moral, political, and religious differences. This would include projects that help campus stakeholders to encourage and internalize characteristics that foster respectful, productive dialogue across differences, as well as programs that provide opportunities for such dialogue.
Strong candidates for funding will demonstrate knowledge of evidence-based methods for improving dialogue across disagreement, and will integrate such methods into their proposed project activities. Applicants are also encouraged to comment specifically on the evidence-based resources that they intend to use in their civil discourse programming.
Featured Grants: Teaching Civil Discourse in the Classroom
As polarization increases across the United States, our interest in and ability to discuss important and sometimes divisive issues across lines of social, moral, political, and religious difference is under threat. And yet, history and experience makes it clear that a pluralistic democracy can thrive only when we are able to wrestle with such issues openly and respectfully.
A recent grant to Duke University expands upon the Foundations’ efforts in this space. With AVDF support, Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics will host a summer program in two consecutive years that will assist faculty members in developing courses that teach students how to dialogue constructively across lines of political disagreement.
The project will be led by John Rose, Associate Director of the Civil Discourse. In addition to his work through the Kenan Institute, Rose has taught several classes at Duke that have successfully promoted civil discourse and increased student understanding of differing viewpoints on a range of issues.
To read more, please click HERE.
For many students, the undergraduate years are a time to explore how their interests and skills can translate into a life of purpose.
The Foundations encourage proposals aimed at developing courses or curricula that provide opportunities for students to discover and develop a sense of purpose concerning their education, their eventual occupations, and their roles as citizens.
Featured Grant: Management as a Calling
Many college and university students believe it is important to derive a sense of purpose from their work. And many employers agree. When it comes to the workforce, employers prefer to hire people who approach their jobs with a sense of purpose, and research indicates that employees with this orientation tend to be happier and more productive. Yet despite this, only a minority of the students who take purpose to be important report that they have successfully found purpose-oriented work.
In support of these efforts, AVDF recently approved a grant of $260,000 to launch the Management as a Calling program at the University of Michigan. The program, hosted by the Ross School of Business, is led by Professor Andy Hoffman, author of a recent book with the same title.
To learn more, click HERE.