NOTE: The ECI Grant Application Portal is now accepting proposals. You can download a printable PDF with more information about this grant by tapping or clicking the button below:

Among the persistent challenges identified by faculty, staff, and administrators at Wake Forest’s 2021 “Convening on Character in Higher Education” was a lack of resources, including difficulty integrating character across their curriculum or culture without more institutional and financial support. To address this challenge, up to 20 Capacity-Building Grants of up to $50,000 will be awarded to institutions that wish to strengthen their ability to educate and embed character in their distinctive contexts. These grants may be especially useful for institutions that are just beginning to explore how to educate character, that are envisioning discrete projects that do not require substantial funding, and/or that need support to plan for a larger grant application to the Educating Character Initiative or another funding organization in a future year. 

Potential project activities could include, but are not limited to, some or all of the following: 

We welcome applications from two- and four-year colleges and universities—both public and private, secular and religious—including but not limited to research universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, military academies, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, single-gender colleges, and tribal colleges. We also welcome applications from cross-institutional networks of colleges, universities, and organizations that wish to collaborate on a shared project or initiative.

Because we are eager to support diverse approaches to character education and learn from thoughtful experimentations, we encourage project leaders to be intentional and creative in building the necessary support and capacity to educate character across their institutions. Given limited funding, we also encourage project leaders to be frugal with resources and intentional about which funds are most necessary to achieve the project’s aims. 

Application Instructions

Interested applicants for the Capacity-Building Grants should apply through the ECI Grant Portal. You must provide:

The Program for Leadership and Character will provide multiple opportunities for colleges and universities to convene in person and virtually to discuss topics of common interest. Since the Educating Character Initiative will be organizing major conferences and convenings for the entire network, funding to host conferences may not be included in these requests, unless plans are coordinated in advance with the staff of the Educating Character Initiative. Staff from the Educating Character Initiative will also be available to provide individualized coaching and support for faculty, staff, and student development and/or assessment, so those costs need not be included within the grant.

The submission deadline for the application is February 29, 2024, at 5:00 PM ET through the ECI Grant Portal. The portal will accept completed applications beginning December 29. Award decisions will be issued by June 1 for projects to begin on August 1. 

We will hold optional, one-hour online Q&A sessions regarding Capacity-Building Grants at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm ET on November 30 and December 11, 2023, as well as January 10, 2024.

All inquiries should be directed toward

Grant Eligibility and Expectations for Funded Proposals

The project leader(s) must be in or contracted to a long-term faculty or staff position at an accredited college or university in the United States. All applicants must register as a member of the Educating Character Initiative community.

Colleges and universities may apply for an Institutional Impact or Capacity-Building Grant, but not both. Individuals may not be awarded a Teacher-Scholar or Professional Development Grant if they are part of a team which is awarded a Capacity-Building Grant or if they are part of team that makes it to the final round of Institutional-Impact Grant consideration.

Funded projects and project leaders will commit to the following:

Dates to Remember

Capacity-Building Grant
Info Sessions (optional)November 30, December 11, 2023, &
January 10, 2024
11 a.m. – 12 p.m. &
3 – 4 p.m. ET on Zoom
Register here
Grant Due February 29, 2024
Grant Decisions June 1, 2024
Grant Start Date July 1, 2024 or as decided by grant agreement
ECI Grant Portal OpensDecember 29, 2023 is the earliest date to submit completed applications.