Application Guidelines

proposals | submission timetable | review criteria | funding policies

Proposals for Program Evaluations

The Foundation is currently accepting proposals focused on evaluating programs that have the potential of helping to close the opportunity and resulting achievement gaps between children living in under-resourced communities and/or from under-represented populations and other children.


  • Primary aim:
    • What works: The primary aim must concern evaluating the effectiveness of programs designed to promote positive cognitive and/or achievement outcomes for children (birth through 18 years) from underserved groups and/or low-resourced communities (minoritized ethnic groups, low-income families).
  • Secondary aims may also focus on one or more of the following:
    • What works for whom, under what conditions: Investigate variations in program effects; that is, test for moderation effects that inform whether effects are stronger for certain groups and/or under certain conditions than other groups or conditions.
    • Reasons for effects: Investigate mechanisms through which effects occur; that is, test for mediation effects that inform why the program is effective.
    • Cost-benefit analyses: Compare the total costs of the program (start-up and ongoing operational costs) with its estimated monetary benefits to determine the net cost or benefit associated with the program.


  • The proposed project may span up to three years

Application Process:

There is a two-stage application process
  • Stage 2

    • Full Board review determines if applicant is approved to submit a Stage 2 application
    • If approved by the Full Board, the applicant will be invited to submit a Stage 2 application; Stage 2 applications are accepted by invitation only.
    • Stage 2 application guidelines are provided when invited to submit.

proposals | submission timetable | review criteria | funding policies

Submission Timetable

Stage 1 Applications are accepted throughout the year.

Submission deadlines and funding cycles are as follows:

Stage 1 Proposal  
Due Date
Invitation Notification Date If Invited to Continue, Stage 2 Proposal Due Date Funding Notification Date Funding 
Start Date Range
4/1/2019 6/15/2019 8/1/2019 10/15/2019 1/1/2020 – 4/30/2020
8/1/2019 10/15/2019 12/1/2019 2/15/2020 5/1/2020 – 8/31/2020
12/1/2019 2/15/2020 4/1/2020 6/15/2020 9/1/2020 – 12/31/2020
4/1/2020 6/15/2020 8/1/2020 10/15/2020 1/1/2021 – 4/30/2021
8/1/2020 10/15/2020 12/1/2020 2/15/2021 5/1/2021 – 8/31/2021
12/1/2020 2/15/2021 4/1/2021 6/15/2021 9/1/2021 – 12/31/2021
4/1/2021 6/15/2021 8/1/2021 10/15/2021 1/1/2022 – 4/30/2022
8/1/2021 10/15/2021 12/1/2021 2/15/2022 5/1/2022 – 8/31/2022
12/1/2021 2/15/2022 4/1/2022 6/15/2022 9/1/2022 – 12/31/2022

Review Criteria Information

Click this link to: download a detailed outline of review criteria >

  • This document includes:
    • Factors that will cause a proposal to be disqualified and thus not reviewed by the Full Board of the Foundation.
    • Criteria the Full Board considers when reviewing proposals.

The Foundation favors projects that:

  • Represent strong collaborative relationships between researchers and practitioners and other community stakeholders (as appropriate).
  • Projects in which the community/population being studied is represented in the project’s leadership team.
  • Evaluate programs that show promise of being feasible, accessible and sustainable
  • Evaluate programs consistent with strength-based approaches rather than deficit models and consider the specific and unique assets and needs of children from diverse racial and ethnic groups and/or from low-income communities. Concerning race and ethnicity, the Foundation seeks to increase understanding of what works best for children from diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds (e.g., African-Heritage, Latinx, Indigenous Peoples).
  • Projects for which operational funding for the program is already secured so that funding from the Foundation is used only for evaluation activities.
  • Projects that employ randomized control designs (including wait-list control designs when assignment to wait-list condition is randomized). Comparison group designs may also be employed when strong efforts are made to control for potential confounding variables (e.g., due to selection effects). The Foundation very rarely funds evaluation projects that employ neither randomized control nor comparison group designs.
  • Projects that evaluate effects on measurable child outcomes.
  • Projects that include a member of the team (not necessarily the PI) who has experience leading projects of similar or greater scope. Applicants at all career stages may apply; teams are evaluated in terms of their abilities to successfully carry out the proposed work.

Inquiries and Reviews:

  • Due to having a small staff, the Foundation is typically unable to discuss individual projects prior to the submission of a Stage 1 application.
  • Due to the high volume of proposals, the Foundation is also unable to provide customized feedback to applicants after review by the Full Board

proposals | submission timetable | review criteria | funding policies

Funding Policies

Indirect Costs policy:

  • Definitions:
    • Direct costs are costs that can be specifically attributed to the particular project being proposed. How each cost is directly attributable to the project should be made clear in the budget justification (see application for budget justification guidelines).
    • Indirect costs (also known as “overhead costs” and “facilities and administrative costs”) are administrative or other expenses that are not directly attributable to the specific project being proposed and are instead incurred as a result of common or shared activities (i.e., activities related to overall general operations and activities shared among projects and/or functions of the institution). Examples of indirect costs include general administrative support (including salary and fringe benefits for administrative personnel, grants management and accounting, general finance management, human resources, and IT support personnel); rent; utilities; phones; internet; general office equipment (including personal computers) and supplies not directly attributable to the project; word processing and spreadsheet programs; statistical software typically used to analyze data that is made available across projects; computer network charges and utilities; insurance; accounting/bookkeeping fees; and audit fees. Proposals that includes any of these indirect cost items as direct costs will be disqualified and will not be reviewed by the Board.
  • Rates:
    • Indirect costs may not be charged on grants that have a total project budget (including all years of the grant) of $50,000 or less (i.e., the indirect costs rate on grants $50,000 or less is 0%).
    • For grants that have a total project budget (including all years of the grant) over $50,000, the Foundation caps indirect costs for both primary institutions and subcontracts at 10% of the direct costs of the project.
    • Primary institution may NOT charge additional indirect on subcontract funds.
  • The Foundation may require additional information to determine if a proposed expense is a direct or indirect cost.

Other funding policies:

  • Funding must be through the Principal Investigator’s home institution (i.e., the home institution of the PI of the team conducting the evaluation).
  • Grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations only.
  • The Foundation will support up to two key personnel from the evaluation team and one practitioner or service provider from the program to attend one conference the last (or only) year of the project, with an allowable cost of $1,500 per person.
  • The Foundation follows National Institutes of Health guidelines for salary caps.

The Foundation does NOT fund:

  • Scholarships
  • Capital projects
  • Continuing education for providers
  • Projects outside of the United States or its territories
  • Support for scaling up programs already found to be effective
  • Evaluations conducted by for-profit organizations
  • Evaluations of for-profit programs
  • Evaluation of programs for children at risk for poor cognitive and academic outcomes due to medical conditions (including developmental delays or disabilities associated with biological causes) or substance abuse

Current Funding Rates:

  • About 13% of Stage 1 applications eventually result in funding. Approximately 21% of Stage 1 applicants are invited to continue to Stage 2, and approximately 60% of all Stage 2 submissions are funded.


  • Resubmission of Stage 1 applications are allowed, but unless specifically invited to resubmit by the Board, are rarely successful.