Project Grant Application Information

The Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics awards project grants each year to community organizations, university faculty and departments, and student organizations. Awards are given to projects that stimulate and support educational events and activities related to the center’s theme of inquiry. The maximum award is $10,000, but most awards range from $2,000 to $6,000.

2016-17 Project Grant proposals are due by noon on Friday, January 22, 2016. 

Theme of Inquiry

The Wayne Morse Center theme for 2015-17 is The Future of Public Education. Wayne Morse believed that public education is the cornerstone of a true democracy. Public education in Oregon and across the nation faces many challenges: diversion of resources to other programs, inequities in access to education, the growth of private schools, struggles over the curriculum and testing, teacher stress and student debt.

Priority focus topics for 2016-17 include:

  • Access to and financing of higher education and escalating student debt.
  • Public school funding in Oregon.
  • School choice policies and educational equity.
  • Role of moneyed and corporate interests in school reform and school funding.
  • Teachers: changing public view of teachers; teacher stress; and the role of teacher unions.
  • Pathways and transitions to post-secondary education; Oregon’s policy goals and how to achieve them.
  • Educational equity and how it is affected by race, class, language, and disability.
  • Innovations and best practices in school reform.
  • Fate of affirmative action in education.

Project grant applicants can propose activities that complement the focus topics. The theme of inquiry is broad and is intended to include topics and issues from many community perspectives and academic disciplines.

Eligibility and Awards

The Project Grant program is open to community organizations (including nonprofits and schools), community individuals, university faculty and staff, university departments and programs, and student organizations. We are looking for applicants with a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences to enhance the conversation at the Center. Awarded funds may be used for program expenses, honoraria, summer support, and faculty release time. A wide variety of projects have been funded in the past including new classes, workshops, art exhibits and conferences.

Duties and Conditions

  1. Projects must be related to the theme of inquiry, The Future of Public Education.
  2. Projects must impact the university and/or Oregon communities.
  3. Projects must commence no earlier than July 1, 2016, and be completed no later than June 30, 2017. If the grantee is unable to use the award during this time period, the award is forfeited. Project Grants cannot be deferred. However, the grantee may reapply during the next application period.
  4. Projects must be independently administered. Applicants must show they have the capacity to independently organize and administer the project successfully.
  5. Details of project events (dates, times, locations, speakers, etc.) will be provided to the Wayne Morse Center as early as possible, preferably three months prior to the event.
  6. Projects must include The Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics as a supporter on all printed materials and websites.
  7. Within one month of completion of all work associated with the grant, we request that you submit a report to the Wayne Morse Center including a description of how the money was used, an explanation of the funded activities, and a summary of the goals achieved through the grant.

Selection Process

The selection committee consists of community activists and interdisciplinary university faculty, as well as Wayne Morse Center staff, fellows and advisory board members.

The Wayne Morse Center seeks to fund a variety of projects that effectively examine the theme as well as impact the community and/or the university. The following criteria are considered:

  • Pertinence to the broad theme and relationship to other Wayne Morse Center activities
  • Feasibility of the project
  • Capacity of the individual or organization to complete the project successfully
  • Strength of any links between the community and the university
  • Value of the project to students and faculty and level of student involvement.

The selection committee may request additional information from applicants. Successful project applicants will be notified of selection in February 2016.

Application Process

Proposals must be written in language accessible to readers from several disciplines. The complete application should include the following parts:

  1. Cover letter (one page maximum) that includes a summary of the project, the amount of the request, and contact information (including email address) for applicants.
  2. Description of the project (800 word maximum). Describe the nature of the project, proposed speakers, target audience, publicity, volunteers and/or staff who will complete the project, and other relevant information. Please indicate if there are cosponsors and the timelines for planning and executing the project. Proposals should address links between the university and community.
  3. Statement of qualifications and resume (resumes limited to 2 pages per person). Please describe your qualifications to carry out the project. Explain your experience in administering similar projects and your capacity to complete the project. University applicants should demonstrate departmental support for the project.
  4. Project Budget and Amount Requested (Grant Request). Please include a budget for the project and the amount requested from the Wayne Morse Center. Please indicate other sources of support and any cosponsors. Be sure to include expenses for outreach and publicity.
  5. Supporting Materials. Additional materials are NOT required. If you submit supporting materials, a maximum of two pages will be considered. Materials in excess of this limitation will not be considered or reviewed.

Application submission: email a pdf of the completed packet to:
Rebecca Flynn, Codirector,

Deadline:noon on Friday, January 22, 2016.