The Lewis Foundation provides grants in the range of $5,000–$35,000 to research projects that advance the science of interpersonal relationships. We like projects involving close collaboration between members of two or more professional disciplines. We do not support repeated annual funding or multi-grantor projects unless those funds are already in hand. However, we do support pilot projects that may lead to larger projects to be funded by others.

Grants are open to nonprofit organizations that qualify as public charities for federal income tax purposes.

Applications should be double spaced in a 12-point font, pages numbered, ideally about 10–12 pages in length (not double sided)–exclusive of brief CVs or resumes– and cover the below requirements. The most successful applications are written with two different audiences in mind: professional reviewers (clinical and developmental psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers) and board trustees (business and community leaders).

  1. Statement of purpose of the project.
  2. Background and brief literature review.
  3. Method: subjects, procedures, design, statistical approaches.
  4. Human rights, ethical considerations, informed consent; notice of IRB approval*.
  5. Time frame from beginning through major steps to completion.
  6. Relationship to the areas of primary interest of Lewis Foundation.
  7. Scientific importance of the project.
  8. Practical or applied importance of the project: who stands to benefit, and how.
  9. Detailed project budget (click here to see an example of a sample budget with the bare minimum of information needed); indicate clearly what is being requested from Lewis Foundation and all additional funding for this project that will be needed or applied for from other sources. Please identify those sources and the amounts to be applied for, or that have been pledged or received. Express salary figures in terms of hourly rate and number of hours over the course of the project. A clear explanation for each budget item is required. Please do not make the budget an Appendix.
  10. Copy of any proposed paper and pencil measures and a list of validity and reliability references for each instrument.
  11. Plan for dissemination of results.
  12. Description of applicant’s institution or agency and verification of “public charity” status in the form of an IRS determination letter.
  13. Identification of at least two individuals responsible for the project who may be contacted for further discussion; (Limit CVs to 15 pages).

* Grant applicants from institutions that have an Institutional Review Board must provide notice of their IRB’s approval of the grant application project and a copy of the consent form to be used. Applicants who do not have an IRB should request a copy of our “IRB Sample Guidelines.”

Once you have incorporated all of the necessary information and are ready to submit you can attach your grant file to an email and send it to Administrator at by 3:00 p.m. on the application deadline date.

Your grant application is acceptable in Adobe pdf or Microsoft Word format. Or you can mail a copy of your grant to the Foundation at 6301 Gaston Ave., Suite 620, Dallas, Texas 75214.

We rely on highly skilled reviewers. All are senior mental health professionals with many years of experience as psychotherapists, teachers, and clinical research directors. All have had long involvement with the Foundation and are intimately familiar with its history and mission. Each reviewer independently reads every application and completes a form entitled Grant Application Evaluation. This form directs the reviewer to address the 12 areas of concern listed. The reviewer notes under each category whether the application fulfills this area of concern or falls short in some fashion.

The reviewer records notes concerning the application’s clarity, completeness, and compliance with guidelines.

The degree of fit with the Lewis Foundation mission is indicated.
Feasibility involves the reviewer’s judgment of whether the project described can be accomplished by the people listed for the amount of money requested over the time frame indicated. Experienced researchers can readily make a ballpark estimate of how many people working how many hours it takes and what financial resources are required to conduct a project of any given description over a given time frame. The appropriateness of the research design, methodology, staffing, and time frame to the project goals are noted as is the presence within the application of an IRB approval letter or the IRB Sample Guidelines as well as the research project consent form.
The reviewer notes the presence or absence of scientific importance and of any creative or innovative elements that promise meaningful advancement of the science of interpersonal relationships.
Practical or applied importance is described as is the adequacy and appropriateness of the budget. Budget items that are unclear will draw a request for clarification, while those that seem excessive or inappropriate will be reduced or deleted by the reviewer.
The reviewer notes whether there is an adequate plan for dissemination of results and the presence or absence of verification of the organization’s nonprofit status.
Projects being conducted entirely or in large part by for-profit entities as consultants to a nonprofit organization are not acceptable. A project conducted by a social service agency under the direction of an individual mental health professional employed as a consultant by that agency is acceptable, but we do not fund projects conducted by for-profit organizations on behalf of an agency.
The reviewer makes a judgment concerning the applicant’s need for funding (that is, does the project entail significant expenses) and the reviewer notes his or her impressions regarding the qualifications of the project staff and the institutional context if such information is known.
We do not routinely request site visits, so this item is often left blank.
The reviewer then makes a written recommendation, either for rejection (with a list of clear reasons for rejection), encouragement of reapplication (with a clear statement of additions or modifications that would improve the viability of the project), or consideration as is by the Board of Trustees for funding. The recommendation for consideration by the board includes the amount of funding the reviewer feels is justified, which is often, but not always, the full amount requested.
These independent evaluations are followed by a lengthy conference of the reviewers in which new ideas often are generated. The goal of this conference is to arrive at an understanding concerning rejection, resubmission, or acceptance of each grant application. A list of questions or concerns regarding a given application may be provided to the Foundation Director, who is then asked to contact the applicant to request additional information, or suggest project additions or modifications. Following these interactions, the reviewers may meet for a second lengthy conference and work to develop a clear and concise recommendation regarding each grant application for submission to the board at its next official meeting.

The Board Decision
The Foundation’s Board of Trustees meets every January, May, and September. An integral part of these meetings involves the board’s examination of each grant application. All board members have been provided copies of the grant applications two weeks before the board meeting for their careful review. In addition, they are provided a written set of recommendations from the reviewers in the board meeting itself. The board may or may not wish to accept the reviewers’ recommendations. As you may well imagine, when the discussion moves from a group of senior professional reviewers to a considerably larger mixed group of business and community leaders and mental health professionals, the content and the dynamics of the discussion change. New questions are raised and new issues explored. The board makes its decisions with great care and deliberation as it seeks to offer support for well designed projects in our mission area whenever possible.

Grant Application Deadlines

Grant Application Must Be Received By: 

March 5, 2024  – To Be Considered by the Board of Trustees: May 15, 2024

July 9, 2024 – To Be Considered by the Board of Trustees: September 18, 2024

November 5, 2024  – To Be Considered by the Board of Trustees: January 15, 2025

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.


It is clear in some grant applications that the applicants are essentially requesting funds to pay current operating costs; that is, basic salaries, rent, utilities and other costs of doing business rather than requesting funds earmarked for a specific research project. The Foundation does not fund overhead or administrative costs. Lewis Foundation grants do not support overhead, indirect costs, general administrative expenses, or travel for attending professional meetings.

In the “Topics to cover in the application…” section listed above, #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 not be written in “lawyerly” language, but rather should be composed in plain English.

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.