Research News

Limited Submission Opportunity: New Pluralists–Healing Starts Here: Local Solutions to America’s Divisions

Applications due July 20

Vanderbilt University may submit only one application to Healing Starts Here: Local Solutions to America’s Divisions, sponsored by New Pluralists.

New Pluralists seeks to invest $10 million in organizations and networks of, by and for local communities that are acting together to address divisive forces in a way that reflects the cultures, values and desires of the people who live there. These include initiatives that are: supporting the leadership of people who are building trust across divides (including geographic, religious, racial/ethnic, political, economic, generational, etc.); and supporting communities’ efforts to create and act together across differences.

New Pluralists is a cross-ideological funder collaborative focused on supporting the growing field of practitioners, storytellers, researchers and innovators working to foster a culture of pluralism in America. The collaborative works in deep partnership with a diverse community of field leaders, grantees and other partners who are tackling these challenges from different fields and perspectives. In order to realize the vision of a politically vibrant, multi-racial, multi-faith democracy, New Pluralists is working together to invest at least $100 million over the next decade to renew the promise of America by ushering in a new pluralism.

Grant Goals: Grants will support efforts and practitioners rooted within local communities who are positioned to take creative risks toward transforming divisive dynamics and building belonging. New Pluralists is particularly interested in proposals focused within locations experiencing increasing divisiveness. They define local communities as places where people live, work, play and pray, at a scale in which residents can know each other and realistically impact each other. This could be a neighborhood, a town or even a whole county in a rural area.

Specifically, New Pluralists hopes to strengthen work that:

  • Builds the leadership of people who have trust and credibility in local communities, who can act as a steadying force among neighbors who are at risk of turning against each other or rejecting people different from them. These may include faith leaders, business owners, civil servants, veterans, organizers or others who are building, maintaining or repairing a sense of dignity and belonging in their local communities across lines of difference.
  • Creates opportunities for members of a community to gather, tell stories in their own words and act across differences—where those residents build trust and work together to make their communities stronger. This includes work led by community-led cultural groups, networks and grassroots organizations that are supporting residents to share their experiences and create new stories together, find unexpected common ground and take action together instead of succumbing to divisions.

New Pluralists is particularly interested in:

Supporting Local Leaders: Initiatives that support the leadership and resilience of people who are building trust across divisions in communities and who play an important role in keeping those communities connected, whole and peaceful. In many cases, these leaders are under significant strain and are at risk of burning out.

  • For example, this could look like network development, spaces for reflection and connection, and other forms of investment in people’s leadership

Reclaiming Stories: Initiatives designed by various community-rooted organizations and cultural centers that are bringing together diverse representatives in communities to tell their stories rooted in shared traditions, make meaning together of the changes they’re experiencing, and challenge local events or circumstances that are feeding a sense of fear or distrust of their neighbors.

  • For example, this could include arts and culture approaches, where a diverse community is coming together to share stories and make meaning of their shared past, present and future.

Taking Action Across Differences: Initiatives where many diverse stakeholders in a community are responding to divisive forces in a way that reflects the values and desires of people who live there.

  • For example, this could include collective action approaches or other models where diverse facets of a community come together to speak and act for themselves.

Award Information: New Pluralists will give grants ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 to organizations and networks that have deeply trusting, established relationships within their local communities.

Due to the timeline, the selected institutional nominee will only be able to apply to the Aug. 31 sponsor deadline.

See the RFP and FAQs for more information.

Internal application instructions

Interested faculty should visit to apply for the internal LSO competition and to find additional information about the opportunity. The deadline for the internal competition is July 20, 2022.

Any questions about this opportunity may be directed to