Many non-profit organizations that exist today are focused on scaling innovative solutions to complex social problems. Scaling programs is an important and often effective way to increase research and impact, but bringing a program to scale offers unique challenges for organizations that are interested in character development. Successful character development depends upon a range of factors including the presence of close relationships with a trusted adult or mentor, a strong purpose, robust cultural norms, and the opportunity to practice and grow in character over time. Of course, organizations must also focus on their financial health as well. Developing and maturing these diverse program components takes time, staff investment, and financial resources. In brief, many character-focused organizations need to focus on strength before scale.
The Character Virtue Development department at the John Templeton Foundation invites proposals from organizations that seek to strengthen their understanding and practice of character development through communities of practice. The Foundation has allocated $15M for this funding competition. Interested applicants should submit an Online Funding Inquiry (OFI) through the Foundation’s application portal. Please see below for further information on the Request For Proposals (RFP) focus, project requirements, and other important dates. The submission deadline for an OFI is June 11, 2021.
For the purposes of this funding competition, applicants should be connected to a pre-existing community or network (e.g., school or school network, summer camp network, out-of-school program, faith-based network) and should be able to demonstrate interest in the subject matter. We are most interested in communities that impact at least 1,000 individuals. The key stakeholders involved should plan to meet at regular intervals. Ideally, this would involve at least some in-person interaction, but we recognize that in-person meetings are dependent upon the state of the pandemic and would be open to supporting virtual meetings. Finally, communities of practice in all settings, including both domestic and international, are encouraged to apply. Communities from our department’s key audiences – education, faith communities, parent/primary caregiver organizations, and organizations in the city of Philadelphia – are especially encouraged to apply.