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The Russell Sage Foundation was established by Mrs. Margaret Olivia Sage in 1907 for "the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States." The Foundation now carries out that mission by sponsoring rigorous social scientific research as a means of diagnosing social problems and improving social policies. In sponsoring this research, the Foundation is dedicated to strengthening the methods, data, and theoretical core of the social sciences. The Foundation’s awards are restricted to support for social science research within its program areas.

Project & Presidential Awards

The Foundation typically makes awards up to $150,000, including overhead. Any requests up to $35,000 are processed as Presidential Award applications and cannot include any overhead or indirect costs. We provide support primarily for analyzing data and writing up results and are particularly interested in innovative projects that collect or analyze new data to illuminate issues that are highly relevant to the Foundation's program goals. We also encourage projects that are interdisciplinary and combine both quantitative and qualitative research.

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Visiting Scholars Program

The Russell Sage Foundation’s Visiting Scholars Program provides a unique opportunity for select scholars in the social, economic and behavioral sciences to pursue their research and writing while in residence at the Foundation’s New York headquarters. Research carried out by Visiting Scholars constitutes an important part of the Foundation’s ongoing effort to analyze and understand the complex and shifting nature of social and economic life in the United States. While Visiting Scholars typically work on projects related to the Foundation’s current programs, a few scholars whose research falls outside the Foundation’s active programs are also invited each year. Descriptions of our prior visiting scholar classes along with summaries of their projects attest to the diversity of scholars, disciplines and projects selected.

The Foundation annually awards up to 17 residential fellowships to select scholars in the social sciences who are at least several years beyond the Ph.D.

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Visiting Journalist Fellowship Program

There is a long, rich history of journalists writing and reporting compellingly about topics—centrally expressed in the Russell Sage Foundation's (RSF) motto—related to the "improvement of social and living conditions in the United States." The growth of economic inequality and its consequences, inequities in educational achievement and attainment, the social, political and economic impacts of immigration, and recent racial tensions over urban policing, are all examples of topics addressed by journalists that are central to RSF’s core programs.

Visiting Journalists will have an opportunity to work in residence at the Foundation for a period of 1-3 months and to interact with resident Visiting Scholars who might help inform the development of their projects.

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Unfunded Visiting Researchers

Occasionally the Foundation has unfilled office space and makes it available for unfunded short-term fellowships to visiting researchers who are conducting social science research in the Foundation’s priority areas. These are available on an irregular basis, for visits of one to three months. Inquiries should be directed to researchvisit@rsage.org no later than June 30 for a visit between September and February and no later than October 30, for a visit between February and June.

Small Grants Program in Behavioral Economics

The Russell Sage Behavioral Economics Roundtable supports a small grants research program to support high quality research in behavioral economics and to encourage young investigators to enter this developing field. The program is administered under the auspices of the Behavioral Economics Roundtable, a group of researchers in behavioral economics formed by the Russell Sage Foundation to encourage interdisciplinary research in behavioral economics.

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RSF Journal

RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research by both established and emerging scholars. It is designed to promote cross-disciplinary collaborations on timely topical issues of interest to academics, policymakers, and the public at large. Each issue is thematic in nature and focuses on a specific research question or area of interest. The introduction to each issue will begin with an accessible, broad and synthetic overview of the research question under consideration and the current thinking from various fields.

The first issue of the RSF Journal will be published in 2015. For more information, please contact Suzanne Nichols, Director of Publications, at journals@rsage.org.

What We Do Not Fund

  • The Russell Sage Foundation funds only social science research that seeks to "improve social and living conditions in the US." As such, we do not fund research based in other countries. The Foundation may occasionally consider cross-national research that has clear implications for the US.
  • As an operating foundation carrying out our own programs of social science research, we are in a position to publish only those books deriving from the research that we support.
  • Our guidelines restrict us from giving grants for pre-doctoral study or research, and we do not award scholarships or other types of grants for support of college funding.
  • One of the Foundation’s most successful endeavors over time has been our Visiting Scholar Program—as a result, we do not fund residential fellowships elsewhere.
  • As a general rule, we do not provide support for the development or maintenance of websites.
  • We are enjoined by IRS code from making general support grants to other institutions. Only specific project grants that further our declared program goals are permitted.

The Russell Sage Foundation seeks to promote diversity through all of its program activity. The Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender and/or gender identity, pregnancy or parental status, marital or domestic partner status, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.