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Our Funders

The project is funded by an $850,000 gift from the John Templeton Foundation, a $600,000 grant from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and a $50,000 matching gift from the Harry S. Singer Foundation.

  1. John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the big questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. The foundation supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love and free will. 
  2. S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation was created in 1957 by Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr., and is dedicated to advancing research in the areas of STEM education, environment, character development & citizenship and health. 
  3. Harry Singer Foundation is a national nonprofit founded in 1987 with the purpose of promoting responsibility and involve people more fully in public policy and their communities.
  4. The HTC Education Foundation works with domestic and overseas education organizations to promote character and civic education programs. The foundation is a sponsor of the University of Missouri's LACE and CHARACTER plus in the United States. We also work at all levels of education in Taiwan to develop character education curricula and train educators needed to lead and sustain character education programs.

“These awards will strengthen the impact our work will have on educators and researchers and give us an opportunity to broaden the dialogue to include policy-makers who can be instrumental to renewing character education as a national education priority," project co-director Bier said. "In the wake of countless individual and institutional scandals, from corruption in financial industries to the pervasive doping in professional sports, it is more important than ever that we invest in understanding how to effectively support the development of character strengths in our young people."

The center is partnering with UMSL’s Technology and Learning Center to ensure that as new character education research emerges, a multi-media platform allows for flexible and continuous updating. Also, St. Louis-based Ready Impact Strategies, LLC is supporting the project with strategic communication and engagement efforts that focus on the project’s three audiences: educators, scholars and policy-makers.  

The Center for Character and Citizenship at UMSL opened in 2006 and successfully maintains several programs including the Leadership Academy in Character Education, Youth Empowerment in Action and the Citizenship Education Clearing House.