Sociological Initiatives Foundation Grant

Sociological Initiatives Foundation

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Next deadline: Sep 16, 2022 (Pre proposal)

Later deadlines: Dec 15, 2022 (Full proposal)

Grant amount: US $10,000 - US $20,000

Fields of work: Public Policy Social Justice / Human Rights Literacy Linguistics

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Research, Project / Program, Education / Outreach

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States


Sociological Initiatives Foundation Grant

The Sociological Initiatives Foundation supports social change by linking research to social action. It funds research projects that investigate laws, policies, institutions, regulations, and normative practices that may limit equality in the South. It gives priority to projects that seek to address racism, xenophobia, classism, gender bias, exploitation, or the violation of human rights and freedoms. It also supports research that furthers language learning and behavior and its intersection with social and policy questions.

The Foundation supports research that focuses on improving services and systems and increasing positive social and physical conditions through:

  • Policy development
  • Placement and shaping of the policy agenda
  • Policy adoption or implementation
  • Policy blocking
  • Increasing advocacy capacity and political influence
  • Shaping public sentiment
  • Addressing challenges related to language and literacy

Language issues include literacy, language loss and maintenance, language policy, language and national security, bilingualism, language and gender, language and law, language disabilities, language and health, language and education, different language cultures, and second language acquisition.

In the context of social and racial inequality dating back centuries, the Foundation supports projects that address institutional rather than individual or behavioral change. It seeks to fund research and initiatives that provide insight into sociological and linguistic issues that can help specific groups and or communities expand opportunities and challenge injustices.

Grant sizes normally range from $10,000 to $20,000. We look for projects that have an explicit research design and a concrete connection to public or community impact. It is not enough to just write a report or add a focus group to a social change project. The research should build an organization or constituency’s potential to expand public knowledge, impact policy, and create social change.

Current Thematic Focus: Violence and Society

 The Sociological Initiatives Foundation seeks to support community-based research in the Southern United States focused on the broad topic of violence and society. It invites requests to support research and advocacy efforts that move beyond the familiar conceptualizations of what violence is, how we experience it, how we talk about it, and how we advocate for freedom and safety.


The Sociological Initiatives Foundation has supported a wide range of community-based research projects. Most of the activist-scholar projects have addressed structural race, class, and gender inequities. As the Foundation sharpened its emphasis on addressing systemic racism and racialized violence against Black people, however, it recognized a common but less-interrogated thread in many of the projects it has supported over the years. Many projects contend with the raw brutality of everyday violence in communities – a pressing reality that is often made invisible, individualized, or ignored as a form of structural oppression.

The scale and pervasiveness of this violence is staggering. With the rise of gun violence, gender-based violence, police-brutality, the carceral state, religious extremism, hate-crimes, and so on, there is an opportunity to develop more imaginative and innovative ways to understand these complex realities and create new spaces to investigate, theorize, and take action. More importantly, the various methodologies of community-based research present an opportunity to involve the people and communities most deeply affected by violence in shaping theory, narrative strategies, policies, and social movements.

What the Foundation looks for in a project:

The Foundation will continue to give priority to projects that link research with action and involve community members throughout.

It will invite proposals that communicate:

Insight. Challenges “common-sense” notions of activists, policymakers, and institutions.

Intersectionality. Addresses the multilevel and intersecting nature, and structural foundations of violence in our institutions – especially for racially marginalized women+ and girls+

A learning orientation. Builds critical literacies and new narratives/framing that illuminate the embeddedness of violence in legal, political, social, and cultural systems.

A civic agenda. Creates alternative public spheres for dialogue and deliberation about violence.

Urgency. Has a sense of urgency and express a readiness for strategic action; and addresses the lack of deep sociological engagement in questions of violence.

Some examples of desired applicants are:

  • community-led academic partnerships
  • advocacy or community groups that conduct research that can withstand challenge in academic and policy arenas
  • academics allied with a constituency through their research

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • For nonprofits, grants are restricted to organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code and classified as “not a private foundation” under section 509(a).
  • SIF also welcomes applications from academic institutions and other qualified organizations wishing to sponsor research projects by individual scholars or practitioners.
  • The geographic focus is limited to the Southern United States


  • Focus on the South
    • The Foundation is focusing its resources in the south because it been historically less funded by philanthropy, yet is rich with organizations leading movements for equity at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexual identity, and immigration status.
    • Residents of southern states are also subject to some of the nation’s most regressive public policies and extremes of racial and gender violence in its myriad forms


  • The Sociological Initiatives Foundation does not make grants directly to individuals for any purposes.
  • No awards are made for dissertation research, honoraria or political purposes.
  • The Foundation does not provide operating support or capital grants.
  • Generally, the Foundation will not consider proposals that:
    • represent the work of a lone academic without a strong relationship with a constituency or organization
    • do not demonstrate the capacity or intent to carry out bona fide research, as indicated by either a past track record or a credentialed researcher partner
    • are led by government/municipal agencies
    • result only in reports, publications, websites, gatherings, films, theatrical productions, concerts, conferences, or the like that are not part of a larger explicit social change strategy
    • only evaluate existing programs
    • request funds for operating support or capital grants

This page was last reviewed July 27, 2022 and last updated July 27, 2022