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Partner Spotlight: The William T. Grant Foundation


Located in New York City, the William T. Grant Foundation is one of the world leaders on high-quality research on reducing inequality in youth outcomes, as well as improving the use of research evidence in decisions that affect young people in the United States. 

This two-pronged mission makes the Foundation an ideal partner for NYU Steinhardt, where scholars and practitioners strive to foster knowledge, creativity, and innovation at the crossroads of culture, education, and human development.

Renowned Research

One of the ways in which the Foundation and Steinhardt have become thought partners is through their support of the Research Alliance for New York City Schools. Housed at Steinhardt since its founding in 2008, this independent research center works with the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to provide nonpartisan evidence on policies and practices that help promote students’ development and academic success.

In 2020, the Research Alliance was awarded a three-year, $150,000 grant under the Foundation’s category of funding that seeks to strengthen connections between research, policy, and practice.

“We are strongly committed to research-practice partnerships in education and other areas of youth services,” says Adam Gamoran, president of the William T. Grant Foundation. “We believe that work on the infrastructure of the educational system should be, in part, tackled on a local level, so the Research Alliance represents an opportunity for funding such partnership right in our own backyard.”

The Foundation is also well known for its commitment to supporting world-class research through national competitions. Many NYU Steinhardt faculty are the recipients of such awards – and Gamoran attributes that connection to the “exceptionally high quality of Steinhardt faculty members.”

“We want to support the very best research we can, and Steinhardt faculty compete for these funds like everyone else,” says Gamoran. “They are very successful in our competitions because they often work in areas that align with our priorities, and the quality of their research and innovation is very high.”

Several NYU faculty members are in the midst of William T. Grant Foundation–supported work right now.

Ajay Chaudry, research scholar at Steinhardt’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change (IHDSC), was awarded a three-year, $200,000 grant to explore how education and employment policies and programs can better support young adults from low-income families.

In summer 2021, Joanna Geller, director of the NYU Metro Center’s Center for Policy, Research, and Evaluation, received a $600,000 Reducing Inequality award. Her work will explore how a community-based civic leadership initiative for parents/caregivers and their children can disrupt power inequities to influence educational systems and institutions.

Joanna Geller

Director of Policy, Research, and Evaluation

Supporting the Foundation from Within

Some Steinhardt faculty have capitalized on an even closer relationship with the Foundation. Edward Seidman, current chair of the Department of Applied Psychology, took on the role of senior vice president for program at the William T. Grant Foundation in 2004, a position he held for eight years. 

Fabienne Doucet, associate professor of early childhood and urban education, has been on leave from Steinhardt since January 2019 when she began working full time at the William T. Grant Foundation as a program officer. 

In her position, Doucet runs the Foundation’s Scholars Program, which supports career development for promising early-career researchers; as well as the mentoring grants program, which is designed to support junior researchers of color in their career trajectories through faculty mentorship.

Edward Seidman

Professor of Applied Psychology

Fabienne Doucet

Executive Director, Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools and Associate Professor of Early Childhood and Urban Education

“Steinhardt’s mission goes beyond education to an interest in meeting a whole person’s needs in every sense: physical, nutritional, psychological, human rights,” says Doucet. “We have a comprehensive look at wellbeing, which is very much in line with the Foundation and their work to ensure that young people of all backgrounds have a chance at a fair footing and a real future.

“With my academic background in urban education, especially with immigrant families, my heartbeat is in investing in the lives of young people,” says Doucet. “When I started at the Foundation, I naturally settled into working with young scholars and mentoring to help them think about their work and their lives. It’s been a privilege to help build a pipeline of junior scholars of color who are prepared for roles in the academy.”

For Doucet, the connection between the Foundation and NYU Steinhardt is a natural one.

Moving forward, Hirokazu Yoshikawa – Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education at Steinhardt and co-director of the Global TIES for Children Center – has been elected to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and will begin his service in October 2021.

Hirokazu Yoshikawa

Courtney Sale Ross University Professor of Globalization and Education at Steinhardt, Applied Psychology

Related Centers and Institutes

Center for Policy, Research, and Evaluation

Conducts applied research and evaluation studies focused on promoting positive educational outcomes for youth, and understanding the influence of both schools and communities on those outcomes.

Global TIES for Children

Global TIES for Children is an international research center at New York University dedicated to designing, evaluating and advising on programs and policies to improve the lives of children and youth in the most vulnerable regions across the globe.

The Institute of Human Development and Social Change

IHDSC is the largest interdisciplinary institute on New York University's Washington Square campus supporting rigorous research and training across social, behavioral, educational, policy, and health sciences.

The Research Alliance for New York City Schools

The Research Alliance for New York City Schools conducts rigorous studies on topics that matter to the city’s public schools. We strive to advance equity and excellence in education by providing nonpartisan evidence about policies and practices that promote students' development and academic success.

Related Departments

Applied Psychology

Want to understand and intervene in human development? Learn about NYU Steinhardt’s degrees in applied psychology, counseling, and social intervention.

Teaching and Learning

Explore our teacher education programs where you will develop core skills, build expertise in content areas, and engage with urban schools and communities.