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:

Up to 10 Institutional Impact Grants of between $100,000 and $1,000,000 will be awarded to institutions who wish to undertake a substantial and sustained effort to educate character in undergraduate populations across their institution. Three grants of between $500,000 and $1,000,000, three grants of between $250,000 and $500,000, and four grants of between $100,000 and $250,000 will be awarded. Organizations should align the size of the request with the impact of the proposed project and their expertise and capacity to steward the funds efficiently and effectively. Since funds are limited, please design projects that will have the maximum impact using the fewest resources.  

These three-year grants will provide support to enable institutional leaders, faculty, and staff to infuse character in undergraduate curricula and programming in ways that align organically with their college or university mission, context, and culture. Institutional Impact Grants may be especially useful for institutions that have already begun educating character in their context and/or that have faculty and staff who have the relevant expertise to undertake a major initiative dedicated to character. We imagine these grants will be focused primarily on coherent implementation rather than initial exploration, though we welcome innovative ideas that have not been fully tested.  

We welcome applications from two- and four-year U.S. 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 would also welcome applications from cross-institutional networks of colleges, universities, and organizations that wish to collaborate on a shared project or initiative. 

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

We encourage institutions to be creative in how they might design, implement, and integrate character education organically in their distinctive contexts. 

Application Instructions

The application for Institutional Impact Grants will be a two-step process. 

STEP 1. All accredited U.S. colleges and universities that are interested in educating character in undergraduates are invited to submit an initial application through the ECI Grant Portal. You must provide:

Institutional Impact Grant applicants should be mindful of the following when determining the size of the grant request:

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. Applicants are encouraged to determine how to show institutional support through cost-sharing and/or donor-matching where appropriate.

Initial applications (Letters of Inquiry) are due by February 29, 2024, at 5:00 PM ET through the ECI Grant Portal. The portal will accept completed applications beginning December 29. Responses to the initial application will be shared with applicants no later than May 1.  

We will hold optional, one-hour online Q&A sessions regarding Institutional Impact applications at 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm ET on November 30 and December 11, 2023, as well as January 10, 2024.

All inquiries should be directed toward

STEP 2. Up to 20 institutions will be invited to submit a full and final proposal by July 1, 2024. Grant decisions will be announced by August 1, with the term of the grant to begin September 1.

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 community members of the Educating Character Initiative.

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. Funds may not be used for capital projects.  

Funded projects and project leaders will commit to the following:

Dates to Remember

Info Sessions November 30, December 11, 2023 & January 10 2024
12 – 1 p.m. & 4 – 5 p.m. ET on Zoom
Register here
Initial Application February 29, 2024; portal accepting submissions beginning December 29, 2023
Decisions about Initial ApplicationMay 1, 2024
Full Proposal Date July 1, 2024
Grant Decisions August 1, 2024
Grant Start Date September 1, 2024 or as decided by grant agreement