The Lewis Foundation, which to date has issued more than $2 million in grants, considers grant applications from educational institutions and social service agencies to support programs or projects in the following areas:

Research Projects That Focus On:

  1. Crucial aspects of interpersonal relationships.
  2. Connections between interpersonal relationship characteristics and psychological and physical health or dysfunction.
  3. Evaluations of relevant service or educational programs.

Educational Or Service Programs Focused On:

  1. Couple, parent-child, or family system psychological health or dysfunction.
  2. Psychoeducational transmission of interpersonal system concepts.
  3. Dissemination of interpersonal system information to health care professionals, educators, service program professionals, or the public.
Brief History of Lewis Foundation
This research foundation was organized in 1958 as a separate, non-profit entity by senior medical staff of Timberlawn Psychiatric Hospital and several of their close friends in the Dallas business community. For about a decade it was a dispensing foundation, providing small grants to support various research projects and training programs. In 1967 it was converted into an organization that conducted its own research and for the next 30 years produced a series of longitudinal projects in two general areas. The first area involved program evaluations of adolescent inpatient psychiatric treatment, substance abuse treatment, halfway house programs, parenting programs, and a variety of other social service programs. The second primary area of research involved studies of healthy or well-functioning couples and families.

In 1998, we decided to go back to the future and once again become a dispensing foundation. The Announcement of the Availability of Grants describes the type of projects we support and offers detailed instructions for those wishing to make grant applications.

Overview of Grant Projects

The Foundation dispenses grants three times a year, in January, May, and September (Application Deadlines).

The Active and Completed Grant Projects lists offer information concerning each project funded by the Foundation. The projects cover a wide variety of topics and include both university-based and agency-based research.

We have listed the most frequent characteristics leading to the rejection of a grant application in Table 1. Prospective applicants are encouraged to study this list. Exemplary applications are available for review.

By far the most common problem leading to the rejection of grant applications is the failure to follow application guidelines. As a result, we will focus on this area in detail under II. The Application. Other items in Table 1 covered in II. The Application or III. Evaluation of the Application include projects not within our mission area; procedures that are unlikely to work; absence of clear scientific or practical benefits; educational or service project with no integral research component; and research alliance with a for-profit entity.

Some research applications have involved questionnaires, scales, or other measurement devices that have been demonstrated in the literature to be unreliable or invalid. Be sure any measures you plan to use have well documented reliability and validity studies.

Multi-grantor funding involves so many possibilities for failure that we are unwilling to participate.

Finally, 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.
Projects We Would Like To Support

Our Announcement of the Availability of Grants emphasizes that we are interested in research projects that shed some light on interpersonal relationships and that we are particularly interested in couple, parent-child, and family system relationships. We like to receive applications for scientific evaluation of relationship-centered service and educational interventions and programs. We like to see projects involving close collaboration between members of two or more professional disciplines, and we are most interested in creative or innovative projects that promise meaningful advancement in the science of interpersonal relationships.

We look with special fondness on any project that involves the use of the Lewis Foundation Couple and Family Evaluation Scales (LFCFES). These scales are designed to be used in clinical practice, research, program evaluation, teaching, and self-assessment of couple or family relationships. Please see Our Advice to Grant Applicants Planning to Use the Lewis Scales for further information.

Applicants desiring a deeper understanding of our view of the science of interpersonal relationships might wish to obtain Disarming the Past: How an Intimate Relationship Can Heal Old Wounds . This book explores factors that prevent or impair intimate relationships as well as practical techniques for resolving relationship problems and obtaining the benefits of interpersonal intimacy.

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.

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.
  1. Preference will be given to:
  1. Research projects first, educational programs second, and service programs third.
  2. Projects involving close collaboration between members of two or more professional disciplines (e.g., psychology, psychiatry, social work) each making unique contributions.
  3. Requests in the range of $5,000 to $30,000.
  4. Projects that can be completed with the funding requested and do not imply later requests for more funding. That is, projects that do not require up front commitment to two or more grants from Lewis Foundation. For example, a request for funding to support a project anticipated to take several years to complete might be approved, but a request for funding to support one part or phase of a project with a stated or implied request for additional funding in the future that would be needed to complete the project would not be approved.
  5. Projects that do not require concurrent funding from other grantors unless those funds are already in hand.
  6. These preferences are not intended to rule out our support of pilot projects that may lead to much larger multi-year or multi-grantor projects to be funded by other grantors. We welcome applications for such pilot projects.
2. Extensions or new phases of projects we have previously funded will be considered, but only if the previously funded project has been completed and the Final Report (see below) has been submitted to the Foundation Director. Such applications would be strengthened if the investigators already have obtained additional funding support equivalent to our previous grant from their sponsoring institution or other sources before re-applying to Lewis Foundation.
3. 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). The application should reflect the investigator’s familiarity with relevant professional concepts and findings, but should be written in a narrative style and vocabulary that is clear to laypersons. Applications that are felt to be unclear or difficult to understand by either professional or lay readers will be returned for re-writing or simply rejected.
4. Applications should be double-spaced in a 12 point font, (not double-sided) ten to twelve pages in length, exclusive of brief CVs or resumes.
5. Grantees will be expected to provide a written progress report at the mid-point of the project, and a written final report to the Director for presentation to the Board of Trustees.
6. Site visits may be requested during the grant review process and while approved projects are ongoing.
7. Serious consideration will be restricted to creative or innovative projects that promise meaningful advancement in the science of interpersonal relationships.
8. Any publications or presentations from supported projects should acknowledge the grant support provided by Lewis Foundation.