Planning Grant: Cultivating Gratitude, Generosity, and Spirituality in Digital Spaces: Charting a Course for Translational Research to Promote Human Flourishing
TWCF Number
Project Duration
September 1 / 2023
- August 31 / 2025
Core Funding Area
Big Questions
North America
Amount Awarded

* A Grant DOI (digital object identifier) is a unique, open, global, persistent and machine-actionable identifier for a grant.

Sarah Schnitker
Institution Baylor University

Translating scientific advancements into practical interventions is a persistent challenge for psychologists studying virtue development and human flourishing. Many valuable positive psychology findings never reach the public, while popular psychology movements and digital self-improvement tools often lack evidence-based support. Challenges are further exacerbated by economic hardship, clinician shortages, and other obstacles.

Over the past two decades, dozens of apps have made gratitude practices widely available. Yet, research has shown that current gratitude intervention effects often have limited impact beyond personal exercises and fail to permeate into ecological contexts or relationships. These interventions also often lack integration of spirituality, despite its importance to many individuals. 

Led by Baylor University's Science of Virtues Lab director Sarah Schnitker, this project aims to bridge this gap by creating and evaluating a partnership with 

7Cups, a mental health service platform founded in 2013 that has provided free psychological support for over 60 million people worldwide through an online community of trained volunteers. This partnership between positive psychologists and technologists aims to develop empirically rigorous and user-friendly interventions. The project includes piloting a development and optimization process for a digital gratitude intervention, including a gratitude to God intervention. The researchers aim to use this process as a segue into the study of other virtue interventions. Virtue development in philosophy and psychology is characterized as inherently communal. 

Research conducted through 7Cups could greatly advance virtue science through community if researchers and technologists are able to create a reciprocal partnership and an effective design process.

Expected outputs of this planning grant include a community-building team retreat, a grant proposal, a 7Cups gratitude growth path prototype, whitepapers describing the design-research process and components to build a researcher toolkit.

Opinions expressed on this page, or any media linked to it, do not necessarily reflect the views of Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. does not control the content of external links.
Person doing research
Projects &
Explore the projects we’ve funded. We’ve awarded hundreds of grants to researchers and institutions worldwide.

Projects & Resources