CAO Requests for Proposals are Open!


The Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO) is a research and education initiative created by a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the Charles Koch Foundation, and Koch Industries. CAO supports faculty and students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to develop research-based solutions to the most challenging issues in education, criminal justice, and entrepreneurship/economic mobility. Our constituencies include people of all races and ethnicities living in fragile communities throughout the United States.


On February 5, 2018, CAO released the State of Opportunity in America Report developed from a representative survey of 6,230 people living in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The findings capture the views on opportunity from some of the most vulnerable communities in America, and provide a framework for us to reimagine how to address barriers in order to advance opportunities for millions of people in need of them. To accomplish this goal, CAO aims to invest money into HBCU faculty to broaden the field of research, evidence-based reform, or best practices as it relates to education, criminal justice, and entrepreneurship/economic mobility. CAO recommends a faculty member use the report to identify if its findings align with her or his current research agenda.


The CAO investment in HBCU faculty is twofold. One investment is in an individual faculty member to support her or his research for up to one year, possibly more. Successful applicants will have a consistent record of publications. The second investment is to an individual faculty member to advance her or his research on a broader scale through the creation of a center. To date, CAO has awarded a grant to Winston-Salem State University to launch the Center for the Study of Economic Mobility, and to Texas Southern University to launch the Center for Justice Research. Successful applicants will have shown a record of innovation and leadership, a track record of attracting and managing funds, demonstrated infrastructure for engaging government and nongovernmental partners, and a consistent record of publications.


Accordingly, CAO welcomes a two-page proposal from HBCU faculty. Criteria for consideration of funding include the following:


• A one-page abstract of the project on behalf of your college or university.
• A one-page itemized budget for the project that includes a timeline for completion, be it one year, but no more than five years (please do not include indirect support to the university).
• A C.V. of the lead faculty member and, if applicable, participating faculty members.


Funding levels are commensurate with the requirements of the research and scope of the work.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018 is the last day to submit a two-page proposal. You can click here to start the application.


CAO will review each two-page proposal and, when appropriate, contact the lead faculty member to engage in a conversation. Should you have any questions, please contact Gerard Robinson, Executive Director of CAO, at gerard.robinson@advancingopportunity.org.