Jerry M. Lewis, M.D. Mental Health Research Foundation
      General Grant Guidelines
The Areas of Grant Support information is crucial to a successful grant application. We wish to support research projects and will consider educational or service programs for support only if they contain an integral research component. We like projects involving close collaboration between members of two or more professional disciplines, and we limit our grants to requests in the financial range specified. As noted above, we do not support repeated annual funding or multi-grantor projects. However, we do support pilot projects that may lead to larger projects to be funded by others.
Perhaps the most difficult general grant guideline for most applicants to follow is: “Grant applications should be written with two distinct audiences in mind—professional reviewers (clinical and developmental psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers) and board trustees (business and community leaders).” Applications that are full of unexplained technical jargon make a very bad impression. Our reviewers feel strongly that professionals who understand psychology, psychiatry, and social work should be able to describe their research projects in plain English.
Our grants are restricted to nonprofit organizations in Dallas and surrounding counties that qualify as public charities for federal income tax purposes.
Applications should be double spaced in a 12 point font, pages numbered, ten to twelve pages in length (not double sided), exclusive of brief CVs or resumes. Our experience has been that properly written grant applications tend to run 10-12 pages in length. We have found that it takes that amount of space to adequately cover the 13 points discussed in the Areas of Grant Support. Ultra-brief applications (2-4 pages) invariably leave out many crucial items. On the other hand, applications of 20-30 pages always could have been edited into a much more cogent and persuasive 10-12 page length.
If you obtain one of our grants, you will be asked to provide a brief written progress report at the midpoint of the project and a brief written final report to the Director for presentation to the Board of Trustees. These reports will be one to three pages in length and will follow an outline we provide for you. Once again, we emphasize that these reports should be written in plain English rather than technical jargon. Site visits may be, but rarely are, requested. Serious consideration will be restricted to creative or innovative projects or programs that promise meaningful advances in the science of interpersonal relationships. And, finally, any publications or presentations from supported projects or programs should acknowledge the grant support provided by Lewis Research Foundation.
The 13 items listed under Research Project Grant Application Outline tell you how to write the grant application. If you use these items as subheadings, your application will be organized in the way we find most appealing. A brief statement of the purpose of the project is followed by background and a brief literature review. The methodology of the project is described under subjects, procedures, research design, and statistical approaches to be used.
Item #4 directs the applicant to address human rights, ethical considerations, and informed consent. University staff will need to provide a letter from their Institutional Review Board noting approval of the grant application project and a copy of the consent form to be used. Staff employed in institutions that do not have an Institutional Review Board should provide a copy of our Institutional Review Board Sample Guidelines with the grant application. This document requires the signature of the project director, the executive director of the organization, and the board chairperson indicating that they have carefully reviewed the grant application and the items listed in the Sample Guidelines and agree that the research project successfully addresses the concerns of feasibility, meaningfulness, human rights, and informed consent. The consent form to be used in the study must be included along with a copy of the Institutional Review Board Sample Guidelines in the grant application.
Reviewing this Sample Informed Consent form you will note that Part A describes concretely what will be required of the participants, while part B is an assessment of risks. If there are any potential risks to the subject participants, Part B must include the procedures that will be used to deal with those risks.
Potential benefits of participating in the study are listed in Part C, while confidentiality is assured in Part D. All potential uses of the results of the study are given in Part E, while Part F allows the research subject ease of access to both the project director and the agency executive director with any questions or concerns about the project. Finally, Part G assures the subject that there is no penalty for refusing to participate in the study or withdrawing from the project at some later date. Consent forms should notbe written in “lawyerly” language, but rather should be composed in plain English.
The date of beginning the project and the anticipated date of project completion should be given clearly in the application. A statement indicating the relationship of this project to the areas of primary interest of Lewis Foundation should be included. A paragraph on the scientific importance of the project and another paragraph on the practical or applied importance of the project are crucial elements.
A detailed project budget must be included. We have included a Sample Budget which outlines the bare minimum of information required. The applicant should know that reviewers often question budget items if they seem excessive or if there is no clear rationale. Applicants are advised to err on the side of comprehensiveness when explaining the background for each and every budget item. This “Budget Rationale” must be included in the main body of the application or be provided as an Appendix.
Most studies involve some kind of research questionnaires or other paper and pencil measures. A copy of each such instrument and references supporting the reliability and validity of the measures must be included in the grant application.
The plan for dissemination of results simply involves indicating the verbal presentations and written reports and/or submissions for publication that the applicant plans on providing once the project is completed.
A brief description of the applicant’s institution or agency and verification of public charity status in the form of an IRS determination letter is necessary. It is not necessary to include lengthy descriptions about the institution or agency.
The principal investigator and at least one other key person knowledgeable about the project should be listed by name, title, role, address, and telephone number so that they may be easily contacted for discussion about the application project.
Careful study of the Areas of Grant Support page will illuminate our primary areas of interest. A number of application rejections have occurred because the applicant was unaware of or ignored information provided.
II. The Application