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What types of institutions are eligible for funding?

The Davis Educational Foundation supports regionally accredited baccalaureate degree granting public and private colleges and universities in New England.

What are the Davis Educational Foundation’s funding objectives?

The foundation seeks to strengthen the undergraduate programs of public and private, regionally accredited, baccalaureate degree granting colleges and universities in New England. The foundation is interested in supporting more effective teaching and learning and in helping institutions control costs.

In order to achieve these objectives, the foundation has funded:

Projects that improve the curriculum, the learning environment, assessment of undergraduate learning outcomes, faculty development, incentive systems, and administrative structures.

Individual as well as collaborative efforts for colleges and universities to reduce costs and improve learning.

Studies and planning efforts central to the foundation’s concerns and interests.

What does the foundation look for when considering proposals?

When reviewing proposals Trustees consider a number of factors relative to the institution and the proposed project, including but not limited to:

The degree to which the project meets the foundation’s objectives.

Evidence of institutional commitment and capacity to carry-out the project.

Whether the project will benefit a significant proportion of the institution’s undergraduate students.

The likelihood that the project will yield institutional change.

The foundation is increasing the weight of cost containment in its selection process.

To implement our project, we will incur a number of expenses and leverage many campus resources.  Does the Foundation have an overarching philosophical approach to its grant making that would help us know which items we can include in our budget?

Grant funds are provided to support innovation and adoption of practices that increase the effectiveness of the teaching and learning process and or the cost efficiency of the institution.  With a few exceptions, funding requests may include items that are not included in the college or university’s budget.  Grant funds are not awarded to provide budget relief. 

What are the implications for personnel expenses?

If faculty participation in the funded project will require work deemed outside of their normal responsibilities, grant funds may be budgeted for faculty stipends or for course release.  Eligible course release expenses are those actual costs incurred to hire replacement instructors.  Administrators on salaried full year contracts are typically expected to oversee or participate in special projects; their salaries are seldom eligible for grant support.

Fringe benefit expenses are also treated on an actual cost incurred basis.  When a stipend is paid, legally mandated taxes and insurance and sometimes retirement expenses are incurred and may be included in the grant budget.  Full fringe benefit rates that include health insurance and other benefits may not be charged on stipends. 

How does the Foundation view projects that involve new positions?

The foundation carefully scrutinizes requests involving new positions due to the associated carry forward expense to the institution and our philosophical aversion to contributing to increased costs.  We do recognize, however, that there are instances when a new position is justified. For budgets containing newly-created positions, we expect the institution to assume an increasing proportion of the expense over the life of the grant. 

What else should we know about the Foundation’s expectations regarding institutional match?

We look for proposals that address institutional priorities. If a campus is requesting external funding for a project, its commitment to the project should be evident in many ways – including the budget.  Amounts and percentages will vary by project and institution, but the commitment must be clear.  

What items are not eligible for funding?

In addition to the personnel discussion above, the foundation does not fund international travel, new construction and retrofitting, furnishings, indirect or overhead expenses.

The Davis Educational Foundation does not fund endowments, internships or scholarships nor does it make grants to capital campaigns.

The foundation recognizes that project-specific proposals may coincide with the timing of an institution’s capital campaign. Such proposals, that otherwise meet the foundation’s objectives and criteria, are eligible for consideration.

Does the Davis Educational Foundation make multiple-year awards?

Yes. The foundation recognizes that the objectives it strives to achieve frequently require multi-year initiatives. Many of the foundation’s grants are for two or three year periods.

When are the submission deadlines?

The submission deadlines are typically on March 10, May 10 and October 1. If one of those dates falls on a weekend or holiday in a given year, the deadline will be moved up to the prior working day. Please see information below or the Apply section of the website for a link and instructions for our new online application submission process. Applications must be submitted prior to 5pm on the deadline date. 

How do I apply?

Review the Davis Educational Foundation’s objectives and submission guidelines to determine eligibility. The foundation does not use a formal pre-proposal or letter of inquiry process but strongly encourages contact in advance of submissions.

The Davis Educational Foundation has transitioned to an online application form. All requests must be submitted through the online application, which can be accessed here:

The content of the application appears here to aid in drafting your application, along with a step-by-step guide to creating a portal account. You will have the opportunity to save and return to your work at any point before submitting.

What happens once a proposal is submitted?

Proposals are reviewed and processed promptly. Applicants can expect to hear from foundation staff, generally within two weeks of the submission deadline, with clarifying questions, requests for additional information, or to request a site visit. The site visit is an important component of the selection process.

Tell me more about the site visit.

Trustees often request a site visit to further inform their decision-making. Foundation staff and the applicant staff work together to assemble a two hour on-site or virtual visit for the foundation’s trustees to learn more about the proposed project and ask questions. Generally, site visits are conducted within two to four weeks of the submission deadline.

When will we know whether our request is approved?

Applicants who meet the March deadline can expect final notification in early May; those who submit for the May deadline receive notice in early July; and October applicants are notified in early December.

What are the Davis Educational Foundation’s reporting requirements of grantees?

The foundation requires annual interim reports for multi-year grants and a final report at the end of the grant period. Please see the Report page of this website for more details and to download our Grantee Report Form.

What is the background of the trustees?

Collectively, the trustees are dedicated to the mission and well-being of higher education. As individuals, they have served as leaders and presidents of some of New England’s most well-regarded colleges and universities. The trustees’ names are listed on this website and are included in the annual report.