MetLife Foundation-Lender Center Internal Grant Opportunity

For July 2023-June 2024 at Syracuse University

Internal Submission Due Date: April 3, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.

Synopsis of the Program

Syracuse University Lender Center for Social Justice, with funding from the MetLife Foundation and in collaboration with Syracuse University faculty in the Social Differences, Social Justice Research Cluster, is offering grants for new or continuing projects at Syracuse University to full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members at Syracuse University with compelling projects that address the Racial Wealth Gap in the United States.

The racial wealth gap undermines both progress towards and opportunities created by and for members of underserved and underrepresented communities in the United States. These grants will provide support to scholars with new or ongoing research projects. We encourage projects that are interdisciplinary and collaborative.

The MetLife Foundation-Lender Center for Social Justice welcomes scholarly research project proposals that help address the racial wealth gap by exploring factors and solutions connected with one of the following three tracks. Proposals can be based on humanistic, theoretical, empirical, case study, or applied research that addresses any of the following three tracks:

  1. Structural and systemic factors positively or negatively impacting the building of generational wealth [e.g., slavery, settler colonialism, and historic legacies of racialized violence, racial capitalism, mass incarceration, inheritance laws, etc.]
  2. Policies and practices that generate or minimize racial wealth disparities [e.g., redlining, urban renewal schemes, tax policy, predatory financing, healthcare burdens, racially disparate housing appraisals, etc.]
  3. Individual and organizational-level factors influencing educational attainment, skills acquisition, and career development [e.g., educational inequities, hiring queues, corporate programs, etc.]

Within each track, research projects are invited that accomplish one or more of the following:

  • identify and capture factors leading to or minimizing the racial wealth gap;
  • capture the long-term impacts of the racial wealth gap;
  • offer solutions to minimizing the racial wealth gap that are data-driven and evidence-based;
  • present arts- or humanities-based research as an alternative means of evidencing data and documenting narratives conveying either lived experiences of the racial wealth gap, or promising solutions.

Proposals that consider women, the disabled, and other historically marginalized groups are especially encouraged.


Principal Investigators (PIs) must be a full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty member at Syracuse University. For team-based projects, one or more of the team members may be faculty members at other universities but they will not be able to receive direct funding for their engagement in this project. Faculty members may only be a PI for one submitted grant proposal but may be a member of an additional team. Principal Investigators may only apply for one type of grant: seed funding or sustainable funding for the current award cycle.

Funding and Award Period

  • Seed Funding Grants are available for smaller awards for new projects.
  • Sustainable Funding Grants are larger awards for ongoing projects.

Both grant types will be effective July 1, 2023, for one year.

The grant review committee anticipates awarding $300,000 across the accepted grant proposals, with minimum awards of $5,000 or greater.

Application Materials

Applicants must submit a three-page research project proposal, one-page anticipated budget, and CV(s). The research proposal should include:

  • Theme or themes the project will investigate
  • Significance and rationale
  • Methods and execution, including a brief work plan that includes a project history, proposed project activities, and information on project completion if the project is not intended to finish during proposed project period.
  • Plans for disseminating work

Succinct one-page budgets should include brief budget justifications for expenses. Examples of allowable expenses in the budget include but are not limited to: data-related costs, conference registration fees, travel to conferences, travel expenses of non-Syracuse University faculty colleagues to collaborate at Syracuse University or attend conferences, and more. Any planned spending must follow standard Syracuse University purchasing and travel policies. Syracuse University salaries, while allowable, should not make up the majority of the budget. Unallowable expenses include salaries for non-Syracuse University partners or subcontracts.

CVs should be included for the Syracuse University PI and Co-PIs, compiled into one document, with a maximum length of five pages for each CV.

Selection Process

Under the peer review process, applications will be evaluated in several categories, including:

  • Relevance to the overall topic
  • Relevance to the theme selected
  • Representativeness of multiple perspectives and disciplines
  • Significant progress can be realistically made in one to two years of receiving the grant
  • Reasonable and appropriate budget for work proposed is included

Reviewers will be internal to the University. These reviewers are not likely to be specialists in your sub-field, so it is advised that applicants avoid excessive jargon.

The PI(s) will be notified of awards on or near May 16, 2023. Funding will be available by July 1, 2023.

PI Responsibilities

Applicants must be willing to provide a brief update every six months on the progress of the project as well as make a research presentation at the annual MetLife Foundation-Lender Center for Social Justice Research Symposium in March 2024 and March 2025.

Any work submitted for publication must include acknowledgment of the grant, even if the publication is accepted beyond the grant funding period and even if the Principal Investigator joins the faculty of another university.

Additional Instructions

Potential applicants with questions about the process or the alignment of their research with the grant theme should send emails to: with the subject heading listed as “MetLife Foundation-Lender Center Grant Question.”

Information sessions regarding the grant will be open to interested faculty in January, February and March.