The Louisville Institute

The Louisville Institute
1044 Alta Vista Road Louisville, KY 40205 (502) 992-5432

How to Apply - Grants


The Louisville Institute makes grants in response to well-written, persuasive project proposals. An effective research grant proposal identifies a significant challenge and advances a compelling approach for addressing it. Competitive applicants communicate effectively why they are applying, what they will do during the grant period, and how the project will benefit the larger church. In crafting a research proposal, applicants should articulate clearly the nature of the problem, question, or concern that they hope to investigate. How do they see this problem manifest? What resources are available for investigating this reality? Recognizing that others have studied the issue, what new insights does the applicant hope to contribute to the conversation?

Proposals most likely to be funded are those that describe persuasively the nature of the challenge, have a clear plan of study and investigation, and have a sense of how they will share what they have learned, through either oral or written communication, with a well-defined audience. We encourage proposals on topics and interests related to the churches in North America, especially concerning Christian faith and discipleship, the nature of ministry, and/or religious institutions.

The Louisville Institute seeks to fund innovative, experimental projects that will contribute to new learning within both church and academy. Consequently the Louisville Institute does not make grants for basic institutional operating support (including the normal operation of existing programs), construction expenses, endowments, publication subventions, routine conference support, or educational expenses for persons enrolled in degree programs and Doctor of Ministry projects.

Two books that may be especially helpful to persons designing and evaluating a grant project and writing a reasoned, persuasive grant proposal are: Kathleen Cahalan, Projects that Matter: Successful Planning and Evaluation for Religious Organizations (Alban Institute: 2003) and Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research (3rd edition, University of Chicago Press, 2008), especially chapters 3 and 4.


Review the Grant Programs page as well as the description of the particular grant program in which you are interested. If you meet eligibility criteria and wish to apply for a research grant, establish an account which will enable you to submit your grant application materials online and will allow us to track your application requirements. Click here to establish or update an account.

All Louisville Institute grant proposals include the following elements (unless otherwise noted):

  • Applicant Information, Core Question and Project Summary (Application details, 1-3 sentences stating project's core question and 200-word summary)
  • Narrative statement of approximately 5-7 pages (12-point and double-spaced) that succinctly describes the proposed research project and explains its relationship to the goals of the particular grant program. This statement should identify core questions that will guide your inquiry; describe the approach (method) for investigating the issue or challenge; explain what you expect to find or accomplish; indicate how you intend to evaluate the success of your project and share your findings with others; and suggest ways in which this project might contribute to our understanding of the contemporary religious landscape in North America.
  • Selective bibliography of the main sources to be consulted (2-3 pages double-spaced).
  • Copy of your current Curriculum Vitae or résumé (no more than 4 pages).
  • Detailed budget and budget narrative (see the document titled, "Guide for Budget Preparation").
  • Letter of Recommendation from Colleague: The recommender will be asked to provide a candid assessment of the applicant’s reliability and capacity and to carry out the proposed project; to describe how the applicant’s previous work demonstrates skills needed to conduct this study; and to identify ways this project might strengthen the church in North America.
  • Letter Assessing Project Feasibility: The recommender will be asked to provide a candid assessment of the need for this project, the feasibility of this project, and the distinctiveness of this project in light of what others are doing or have already done. The recommender will explain how the applicant is well-suited to undertake this study and why the proposed project has relevance for the church in North America.
  • Statement of Ministry Context (Pastoral Study Project ONLY): Tell us about your congregation or organization and your role in it. This should be no more than two pages double-spaced.
  • Institutional Support Declaration (Pastoral Study Project and Collaborative Inquiry ONLY): This form should be completed by the appropriate representative of your church or organization verifying that you will be given time off to utilize a grant if awarded. If you are not currently employed, the support declaration should be signed by the regional denominational official to whom you are vocationally responsible.
  • Letter of Release (First Book for Minority Scholars ONLY): The applicant’s academic dean or chairperson confirms release from teaching responsibilities in the event a grant is awarded.

Note regarding Letters of Recommendation, Institutional Support Declaration (Pastoral Study Project ONLY) and Letter of Release (First Book for Minority Scholars ONLY): When entering applicant information online, you will be asked to provide email addresses for your recommenders. The Louisville Institute will email those persons directly with instructions, and we will notify you when these documents have been submitted to the Institute.

We prefer that you submit application materials by uploading documents through our website in *.pdf format. Assemble all required documents and email addresses prior to beginning the online application process – which will prompt you to upload and submit your materials in one session. All digital documents must be submitted by the annual application deadline.

Annual Grant Application Deadlines:

  • Pastoral Study Project Program - September 1 Click Here
  • Project Grant for Reseachers - October 1 Click Here
  • Sabbatical Grant for Researchers - November 1 Click Here
  • First Book Grant Program for Minority Scholars - January 15 Click Here
  • Collaborative Inquiry Teams - April 1 Click Here