Bradley Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation is named for two brothers who helped co-found the Allen-Bradley Company in 1903. The foundation invests in conservative thinkers and researchers in academia.

IP TAKE: This conservative funder supports higher education work that aligns with its overall values. Grants for like-minded researchers and the foundation’s graduate-level Bradley Fellowships play a key role in this strategy. Applicants with proposals that support progressive or leftist thought and research will not be able to secure funding.

PROFILE: The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee is named for two of the three co-founders who started the Allen-Bradley Company in 1903. In 1985, Allen-Bradley was purchased by Rockwell International—a sale that “boosted The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation’s assets from less than $14 million to more than $290 million.” In recent years, Bradley has facilitated Trumpian politics that are not related to conservative principles, such as increasing the deficit. The foundation seeks to strengthen “the institutions, principles, and values that nurture and sustain the American Experiment and the West.” The foundation’s grantmaking invests in constitutional order, free markets, civil society, and informed citizens.

The Bradley Foundation broadly funds organizations and invests in higher education through its Informed Citizens initiative, which “supports organizations and projects that reform and re-imagine systems and institutions of higher education; further outstanding research, teaching, and scholarship; advance alternatives to the K–12 public education monopolies; promote the teaching of American exceptionalism; encourage vocational training and other alternatives to university-based education; and support education for gifted students.”

Individual scholars and graduate students may also take advantage of Bradley’s Special Initiatives, namely Bradley Fellowship Program. This program seeks to “fulfill the two basic prerequisites for liberal education – good teaching and good curriculum – by enabling colleges and universities to offer students in the advanced stages of graduate work the opportunity to pursue serious studies with excellent teachers,” as well as to “prepare manuscripts for publication, conduct research, and enhance their competitiveness in the job market.” For this program, Bradley forms partnerships with select schools, who distribute the fellowships based on nominations. Note that all fellowships emphasize conservative thinking and positions.

Grants typically range from $10,000 to $200,000. More information on the foundation’s grantmaking habits is available in its Annual Reports.

Bradley accepts letters of inquiry and proposals on an ongoing basis, but the board of directors meets only four times a year to approve them. According to the foundation, LOIs “should be brief explanations about the organization and project to be supported. If the project falls within the Foundation’s current program interests, a proposal may be invited.” Interested grantseekers may review the foundation’s Application Procedures before sending a letter of inquiry.


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