The Urban Child Institute (UCI) is a non-profit chartered to provide support for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, UTHSC, and the University of Memphis to promote the health of children in the region through “innovative initiatives focusing primarily on prevention and wellness and associated educational and scientific activities.” UCI typically provides support to UTHSC and other entities through a grant process as detailed at https://www.urbanchildinstitute.org/rfp.
UCI’s primary focus areas are kindergarten readiness and 3rd grade literacy. UCI has a history of promoting awareness of the importance of the early years in a child’s life. By supporting programs, policies, and systems that serve under-resourced families with young children, UCI seeks to advance the vision of Shelby County as a place where all children are kindergarten-ready and are reading at or beyond grade level by 3rd grade.
Of note, UCI accepts grant proposals for review by invitation only. Because UTHSC is a supported organization and is invited to submit grant proposals, we have put together an internal process to facilitate these proposals. In order to qualify, proposals must meet the following criteria:
- Proposals must focus on the child health sphere
- The scope of proposed programs is limited to Shelby County
- Funding is for one year only; multiyear proposals will not be reviewed
- Budgets may be between $5,000 and $500,000 and must not include restricted forms of funding as detailed at https://www.urbanchildinstitute.org/rfp
A limited number of proposals will be advanced to UCI for review. Typically, UCI prefers to fund programs focused on early childhood education, child health, and prevention and wellness. Research proposals are acceptable, but basic research is generally not funded. The CANDLE study is a good example of a research study funded by UCI. Proposals are looked upon more favorably if they include partners at other supported organizations, especially Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and the University of Memphis, but also including other current grantees.
Proposals should be prepared as detailed on the UCI website and emailed to Dr. Dennis Black and not directly to UCI as stated on the webpage. Proposals will be reviewed by an independent, internal UTHSC committee for suitability based on scientific merit (when relevant) and community impact. Proposals deemed suitable will be further evaluated for alignment with the UCI granting mission by a second internal UTHSC committee consisting of Chancellor Steve Schwab, Dr. Jon McCullers (UCI Board member), and Dr. Altha Stewart (UCI Board member). If there are questions about alignment with the mission of UCI, prospective PIs may contact either Dr. McCullers or Dr. Stewart to discuss their proposals prior to submitting. The following timeline is anticipated:
- February 8: Proposals are due to Dr. Dennis Black for review by the committee
- February 22: Applicants will be notified by the Chancellor of review decisions
- February 23–28: Proposals that are potentially acceptable may be revised following feedback from the committee(s)
- March 1: Approved proposals will be submitted to UCI by the Office of the Chancellor
- March: UCI will conduct face-to-face interviews of the PIs of selected proposals, which will include brief presentations on the proposed work
April 1: UCI will announce funding decisions