Take Part

Project Support: Grants

In the section below, we’ve highlighted some potential avenues for grant support for open education projects. Whether they apply to you will depend on your project. We recommend that you also explore grants offered by professional societies relevant to your discipline, as these organizations are likely to be especially invested in educating others about your field.

As with any decision about grants, there are practical and ethical considerations to consider when determining whether to involve external funders.[1] We’ve compiled the following list as a starting point for further exploration, and we encourage participants to do additional research to identify potential conflicts of interest, ideological or otherwise.[2]


EI Small Grants

Educational Innovation (EI) has a Small Grants initiative offered through the office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning. Open Educational Resources are one of the Educational Innovation initiative’s key commitment areas.

Some of the open-education-related projects that have received support from an EI Small Grant in past years:

  • Steel Wagstaff and colleagues at the Letters and Science Instructional Design Center (formerly part of LSS) received two EI Grants to fund two years of TA-ships for campus OER project support. Steel wrote about his first grant in his post “2016: The Year in OER at UW-Madison.”

Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement (DDEEA) Innovation Grants

DDEEA Innovation Grants fund UW-Madison projects that enhance and extend the campus’s efforts to deepen its diversity mission. According to the DDEEA website, the program provides training in grant development, administration and seed funds to develop promising proposals into innovative and sustainable approaches to furthering the division’s goals to develop the next generation of leaders, provide thought leadership and foster institutional engagement. Grants are awarded to projects that demonstrate sustainability and the ability to build UW’s institutional capacity in support of a diverse, inclusive, and respectful environment for all. Examples of capacity-building activities include the development and dissemination of knowledge on race, ethnicity, culture and indigeneity through research, teaching, performance and hands-on learning.

The Morgridge Fellows Program

The purpose of the Morgridge Fellows Program is to support community-engaged scholarship at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Community-engaged Scholarship (CES) is defined as “teaching, research, and scholarly activities that are performed in equitable, mutually beneficial collaboration with communities and community members to fulfill campus and community objectives.”

If you are interested in pursuing an open pedagogy project that overlaps with a community-based learning course or community-based research project, you may find the support and camaraderie of the Morgridge Fellowship program to be especially relevant.

The UW System Regents Scholar Grant Program (UW System)

The Regents Scholar Grant Program was designed to stimulate faculty-student collaborative research. If you’re involved in a research project with students that has the potential to foster “innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent development” this grant program may be worth investigating. (For examples of past Regents Scholars’ projects, see this 2021 news bulletin.) While primarily a research grant program, we include the grant in this list because we can imagine situations where collaborators might incorporate the creation and sharing of open-access or open-licensed resources as a part of that project.

Beyond UW-Madison

The Wisconsin Library Services (WiLS) Ideas to Action Fund

The WiLS Ideas to Action Fund provides support in the form of small grants as well as WiLS staff time to support project planning, facilitation, survey design, marketing, or other project activities. Proposals are typically due in the summer.

The Open Textbook Pilot Grant Program

The Open Textbook Pilot Grant Program is a U.S. federal grant program that supports projects at institutions of higher education that create or expand the use of open textbooks. It is offered through the UW Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE).

The Irwin Andrew Porter Foundation

The Irwin Andrew Porter Foundation’s stated goal is to fund projects that “will protect and restore the natural environment; celebrate and sustain distinctive local culture, and support a sustainable economy.” Their list of recent grants includes projects that aim to reduce inequality, celebrate cultural diversity, and protect the environment. Wisconsin is one of the states the foundation includes in its scope.

WISELearn OER Innovation Grants

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s OER Innovation Grants may be a good fit for specific instructors who have partnered with educators in Wisconsin public school districts to develop open educational resources that address the needs of Wisconsin public school students. Submissions may come from a Wisconsin public school, district office, or CESA.

The Hewlett Foundation

The Hewlett Foundation is a major player in open education efforts and funds a number of OER initiatives. We recommend exploring the list of OER efforts that the Hewlett Foundation has funded to get a sense of the breadth of supported projects.

The Mellon Foundation

The Mellon Foundation is an influential organization with a competitive grant application process. Its areas of philanthropic interest overlap well with many open education projects. The foundation’s key categories include:

In the past, the Mellon Foundation has supported multiple open education efforts, including the Cambridge College/Institute of Open Education Humanities Curriculum and MIT’s Open CourseWare initiative.

OEP@UW Project Collaborators: You should be able to view and edit the following embedded document even if you’re not logged into your UW account. You can also access it directly in our shared drive.

  1. For a deeper look at some of these considerations, see Sarah Crissinger's 2015 article, "A Critical Take on OER Practices: Interrogating Commercialization, Colonialism, and Content."
  2. Having said this, if you're aware of any conflicts of interest with our Working Group's stated goals that are associated with any of the organizations listed below, we'd like to hear about them so that we can remove them from this list.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Connection and Collaboration: Open Educational Practices at UW-Madison Copyright © by The UW-Madison Open Education Working Group is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book