PLATO Funding

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, in 2016 PLATO began funding a wide range of innovative philosophy programs with the aim of broadening philosophy’s reach around the United States. Many of the programs funded by PLATO 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 Development Committee chair Jana Mohr Lone at

Applications are due in January each year, with funding decisions announced in the spring.

Apply Now

Applications for funding are due January 31, 2019.

Application Instructions:

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

Applications are due January 31, 2019.


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 »

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)
Allowed file extensions are pdf, png, jpg, gif, doc, docx. Max file size is 16 MB. Download the application (you can find it in the "Apply Now" section to the right of this form). Then print, fill-out, sign and scan it; then you can upload it here.

Previously Funded Programs

2018 Programs

Thanks to the contributions of our sponsors, PLATO continues to deepen its impact and expand its scope by funding innovative programs. In 2018, PLATO provided funding for:

  • The SoCal Philosophy 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) educates 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 provides 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 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 – a 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 is a 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, a 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) is a 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 Programs

Thanks to the contributions of our sponsors, PLATO continues to deepen its impact and expand its scope by funding innovative programs. In 2017, PLATO provided funding for:

  • Philosophy in the Community – Helena, MT. Sponsoring philosophy-based community activities such as symposiums, workshops, and forums
  • UCSC Philosophy Outreach – Santa Cruz, CA. Philosophy discussions facilitated by volunteers from UCSC’s Center for Public Philosophy in both public elementary schools and inmates in the Santa Cruz Jail
  • Beautiful Minds – Washington DC. An after-school club led by high school students to discuss philosophical questions and think critically about subjects important to them
  • Young Philosophers of New York, NY. After-school philosophy workshops for older elementary and middle school students in diverse neighborhoods
  • Annual Philosophy Summer Camp – Lexington, KY. Free, week-long philosophy summer camp run for 30 young students (half from underrepresented neighborhoods)
  • Linguistic Inquiry with Bilingual Children – New York, NY. Integrating philosophy into the Language Arts curriculum of mainstream elementary dual language classrooms

Ongoing Programs

Sponsorships also make possible PLATO’s ongoing programs, including support for: