The Bradley Foundation aims to encourage projects that focus on cultivating a renewed, healthier, and more vigorous sense of citizenship among the American people, and among peoples of other nations, as well. Projects funded by the foundation must meet the following criteria:

  • They will treat free men and women as genuinely self-governing, personally responsible citizens, not as victims or clients.
  • They will aim to restore the intellectual and cultural legitimacy of citizenly common sense, the received wisdom of experience, everyday morality, and personal character, refurbishing their roles as reliable guideposts of everyday life.
  • They will seek to reinvigorate and reempower the traditional, local institutions — families, schools, churches, and neighborhoods — that provide training in and room for the exercise of genuine citizenship, that pass on everyday morality to the next generation, and that cultivate personal character.
  • They will encourage decentralization of power and accountability away from centralized, bureaucratic, national institutions back to the states, localities, and revitalized mediating structures where citizenship is more fully realized.

In addition to these thematic considerations, eligible projects will exhibit these features:

  • They may address any arena of public life — economics, politics, culture, or civil society — where citizenship as here understood is an important issue.  It is important to note that our view of citizenship is not primarily concerned with promoting civics education, voter awareness or turnout, or similar activities narrowly focused on voting and elections.
  • They may address the problem of citizenship at home or abroad, where the fall of many (and the perpetuation of some) totalitarian regimes has made this issue particularly urgent.
  • In light of our emphasis on decentralization, and considering the Foundation’s deep roots in Milwaukee and Wisconsin — areas with proud traditions of innovation and experimentation in democratic citizenship — community and state projects will be of particular interest to us.  Such projects will aim to improve the life of the community through increasing cultural and educational opportunities, grassroots economic development, and effective and humane social and health services, reflecting where possible the Foundation’s focus on the resuscitation of citizenship.
  • Projects may be actual demonstrations of the resuscitation of citizenship in the economic, political, cultural, or social realms; policy research and writing about approaches encouraging that resuscitation; academic research and writing that explore the intellectual roots of citizenship, its decline, and prospects for revival; and popular writing and media projects that illustrate for a broader public audience the themes of citizenship.

Proposal deadlines are February 1, May 1, August 1 and November 1 annually. For more information, see the link below: