Apply for Funding

Application Deadline Closed
Please consider applying in Fall 2018!

Recognizing the importance of greater access to philosophy for all adults, youth, and children, as well as the scarcity of funds available for philosophy programs, PLATO created the PLATO Philosophy Fund (PPF), which provides funding for a wide range of innovative philosophy programs with the aim of broadening philosophy’s reach. The expectation is that many of these programs will take place in public and other non-traditional settings.


The Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization (PLATO) is not a federal agency. Accordingly, no grants awarded by the PLATO Philosophy Fund shall be subject to Facilities and Administrative Cost as defined in subsection B.4 of Appendix A to 2 Code of Federal Regulations part 220, or as otherwise defined by any college or university. Moreover, the PLATO Philosophy Fund does not award funding for fringe benefits or grant administration costs. Grantee organizations should support these costs through other funding sources. Please address any questions to PPF chair Jana Mohr Lone at


In PPF’s second year, all applications were blind-reviewed by a committee composed of members of the PLATO Board of Directors. The following projects were funded:

The SoCal Philosophy Academy

This academy is an annual philosophy summer day camp for Ventura and Los Angeles County high school students, with an emphasis on minority students and those historically underrepresented in higher education, on the California Lutheran University campus. The academy introduces students to philosophical analysis, argumentation, and problems in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, and teaches them how to construct/reconstruct and evaluate philosophical arguments.


The High School Ethics Bowl Boot Camp (Chicago)

This boot camp will educate high school ethics bowl coaches and team members about ways to develop successful strategies for competing in the High School Ethics Bowl. Coaches and students will explore ethical theory and moral reasoning in the context of case study presentations, and learn to defend positions on contemporary ethical issues and critically evaluate moral arguments.

Ball State Philosophy High School Outreach Program and Pre-College Philosophy Conference

This conference will provide Indiana high school students – who have little exposure to philosophy – the opportunity to study philosophy with college students and faculty from Ball State University. The project involves an outreach program, a philosophy club at Muncie Central High School, and a precollege philosophy conference at Ball State.


Young Philosophers of South Jersey: Student Ethics Workshop

This workshop invites high school students to a free one-day interactive event focused on contemporary ethical issues, where students learn from Rowan University philosophy professors and upper-level students in the Philosophy Honor Society. The event features interactive instruction, group work, oral presentations, and debate, culminating in an Undergraduate Student Ethics Conference.


Philosophy in the Community 

This community philosophy organization in Helena, Montana – offers philosophy-based community activities including nature walks with guest speakers, symposia, forums for children and adults, and “Philosophy Think & Drinks.”


Good Kids, Mad Cities

This program of weekly philosophy classes with incarcerated youth through the Central Juvenile Hall (Los Angeles). The project emphasizes critical thought and encourages students to critique their political reality and find ways of changing the world. Ongoing reading groups in philosophy will be created for young people who are released.


Philosophy in the Park

This free introductory series on philosophy at Moccasin Lake Nature Park (Clearwater, FL), offers sessions on topics such as the value of philosophy, ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and aesthetics. It is open to the community and the use of primary sources.


Corrupt the Youth Summer Philosophy Institute (University of Texas, Austin)

This four-week long summer philosophy institute for high school students, specifically aimed at students from groups underrepresented in philosophy. Its goal is to bridge the ‘opportunity gap’ between low-income minority students and their wealthier peers. The program, which offers students the opportunity to address the issues they will face in their lives, has been expanded to Los Angeles in collaboration with USC, UCLA, and the LGBTQ Youth Center of Greater LA.


The Iowa Lyceum

A free five-day philosophy summer camp organized by philosophers devoted to advancing precollege philosophy, gives local high school students a chance to engage in philosophy. The small workshop encourages dialogue and active participation and introduces students to logic, critical reasoning, close textual reading, and argumentation. The model has been expanded to Utah and southern California.


2017 PPF Funded Programs

Linguistic Inquiry with Bilingual Children – New York, NY $2,000

This project will explore how philosophical inquiry can be integrated into the English Language Arts curriculum of mainstream elementary dual language classrooms, and begin to assess the utility and viability of such a model. By cultivating their own philosophical stances regarding language and language use, students are supported in becoming critical consumers of texts and are empowered as learners.


Philosophy in the Community – Helena, Montana $5,000

This community project consists of a variety of philosophy-based community activities, including but not limited to: philosophy walks, philosophy symposiums, philosophy drive-ins, philosophy workshops, philosophy community socials, and philosophy forums and roundtables.  Philosophy is viewed as a means to help people live healthier, happier and more deeply satisfying lives, to promote and encourage critical and creative thought, to cultivate leadership and action, and to foster, strengthen, and enrich communities.  Valued and relevant, philosophy is conceived of as a truly fun, exhilarating, and rewarding activity in itself – something that should be lived.


UCSC Philosophy Outreach – Santa Cruz, CA $4,200

This university-based outreach program will serve two disparate communities:  the Santa Cruz City Jail, Code 4 unit (a self-contained unit of 25 inmates that stresses anti-recidivism and self-improvement); and two public elementary schools, where 3rd – 5th graders will do philosophy with volunteers from UCSC’s Center for Public Philosophy.  One of the program’s goals is to bring philosophy into places where the subject is not usually encountered.


Beautiful Minds – Washington DC $1,075

This after-school high school club is a place where students come together to discuss issues of the day, think deeply and critically about subjects important to them, learn about the different schools of philosophy, and share their philosophical perspectives.  This student-led club is for students who want to make difference in their lives and inspire others; the club leaders believe that philosophy will help students learn who they are and how they want to be in the world. In addition to the club, the project includes a competition during which students are asked and reply to a series of questions.  Prizes will be awarded.


Young Philosophers of New York, NY $5,000

A series of after-school workshops will be offered to older elementary and middle schools students around the city in diverse neighborhoods: “What’s the Big Idea?” will provide a forum where 3-5 graders can discuss questions they themselves generate and “The Keys to the City” will give 6 – 8 graders the opportunity to develop their own city and discuss the philosophical issues that arise during the planning.


Annual Philosophy Summer Camp – Lexington, Kentucky $2,500

Run by the University of Kentucky’s Graduate Student Association, this free week-long summer camp will offer 30 young students the opportunity to respond to readings, stories, and invited speakers. Campers will keep journals, learn about philosophical terms, logic, and social justice, and examine the relationship between philosophical theory and activism. The program’s goal is that half of the campers will come from underrepresented communities.

Application Instructions:

Learn how you can apply for a PLATO Philosophy Fund Grant!

Applications are due January 31, 2018.


Questions? Email us at:

  1. You must be a PLATO member to apply for funding. You can join here.
  2. Download application
  3. When completing the application, you have 2 options…
    1. Print and fill out by hand (download the PDF) -OR-
    2. Download and fill out on your computer using the Microsoft Word version
  4. Then scan (if necessary) and/or upload your answers by clicking on the Application Submission.

Application Submission:

Click here to view the online form »

We are no longer accepting applications. Please check back in the Fall of 2018!

Indicate the institution you are affiliated with for the purposes of this grant application. (school or organization usually)
(just additional applicants please - no need to enter the contact person a second time)
(just additional applicants please - no need to enter the contact person a second time)
(just additional applicants please - no need to enter the contact person a second time)
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