Teagle Foundation: Education for American Civic Life Initiative

The mission of the Teagle Foundation is “to support and strengthen liberal arts education, which we see as fundamental to meaningful work, effective citizenship, and a fulfilling life.”

The foundation invites applications for the Education for American Civic Life initiative, which supports efforts to prepare students to become informed and engaged participants in the civic life of their local and national communities. 

According to the foundation, colleges and universities often assume that their incoming students have received prior preparation on fundamental topics such as the formation of the American Republic or the drafting of the United States Constitution, contention over its meaning, and its amendment over time. On this assumption, they miss critical opportunities to help undergraduates develop a mature understanding of the history and fragility of democracy. 

Through the Education for American Civic Life initiative, the foundation seeks to elevate the civic objectives of liberal arts education by partnering with institutions offering bold and coherent initiatives that endow students with the content, skills, and sensibility to participate in a political system designed for self-governance. While progress has been made at many institutions of higher education to promote civic action and various forms of community service as part of the undergraduate experience, the foundation is especially concerned with grounding such action and service in comprehensive civic knowledge through teaching, reading, debate, and discussion centered in the curriculum.

The foundation aims for ambitious projects that confront gaps in undergraduates’ civic knowledge and prepare them for the intellectual demands of democratic participation. Successful proposals will promote learning about the formation of the American Republic, the crafting of its Constitution, the history of contention over the interpretation of the Constitution, the development of representative political structures, and the principles of democracy. The initiative is focused on funding in two areas: (1) anchoring significant questions in democratic thought in local history and community and (2) strengthening preparation for public service. Grants of varying amounts, ranging from $100,000 to $300,000 over 24-to-36-months, will be made to each funded project participating in the initiative.

The foundation invites the participation of various institutions, including community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and comprehensive and research universities. Requests from both single institutions and multiple institutions partnering together will be considered.

Concept papers are due December 1, 2023; upon review, a limited number of applicants will be invited to submit full proposals.

Please contact Sara Salmon if you are interested in applying to this opportunity.