What We Do and Do Not Fund

Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. (TWCF) funding is not aimed at operational support for institutions. It invests in clearly specified research or engagement projects generally with a maximum term of three years. Many are academic research projects, and all projects are expected to conform to the very highest scholarly standards.

TWCF supports projects with a positive outlook, and does not fund projects with a substantially negative focus. For example, TWCF is interested in projects studying love, forgiveness, and generosity; it is not interested in the study of hatred, grudge-bearing, and cruelty, except where such study is done in order to bring added dimensions to the development of the positive qualities put forward by Sir John.


TWCF is enthusiastic about funding:

  • ideas that fall within the Core Funding Areas;
  • empirical research conducted at a high scholarly standard;
  • new ideas that are innovative, progress-orientated, and have not been tested before;
  • open-minded inquiry and engagement that encourages people to approach the Big Questions with humility;
  • projects that are cost-effective with potential for extraordinary impact.


TWCF typically does NOT fund:

  • unsolicited proposals;
  • proposals declined for funding by the John Templeton Foundation or the Templeton Religion Trust;
  • projects likely to last more than three years;
  • advocacy of any particular religion or dogma;
  • proselytising activities that seek to curtail freedom of belief and open-minded inquiry;
  • projects that only involve the study of religious texts;
  • projects aimed at hostility towards religion, or that promote reductionist materialism;
  • pseudo-science, or methodology without strong empirical basis;
  • contributions to endowments;
  • support for bricks and mortar building, or other capital projects;
  • charitable work or research that already receives widespread financial support from other sources;
  • established charitable endeavours and humanitarianism;
  • projects involving businesses in tobacco, alcohol or other drugs, gambling, or pornography and other commercialisation of sex;
  • historical projects, unless such a project is done for the sake of clarifying some non-historical question that falls within the scope of eligible topics;
  • investigations into free competition in the areas of popular culture, the arts, and sport.


Frequently Asked Questions

I have an idea that may fit the TWCF funding criteria, what should I do? TWCF does not currently accept unsolicited proposals, and if you contact us we may not be able to respond to your query.

Is funding restricted to a particular academic discipline or geographical region? No, TWCF supports activities across academic disciplines and geographical regions.

I currently run a project that is funded by TWCF. Can I apply for a new TWCF grant to continue this project when my current grant expires? Not normally, but it is possible for one project to lead on to a new different proposal that builds upon the findings of the first, if the new project is to investigate substantially different Big Questions and uses different methodology or protocols. If you would like to continue your project, then it is possible to apply for up to 50% co-funding from TWCF, providing that the remainder of the project funding does not come from any foundation established by Sir John Templeton. Plans for renewal or follow-up funding are to be submitted at least 6 months prior to the expiration of the current grant.

Does TWCF support research of a particular religion or culture? TWCF supports projects that aim to discover new spiritual information. Such projects may involve conducting research on religions and cultures. However, research for (or on) a particular religion or culture is normally supported only if the findings can benefit a broader audience.

Does TWCF support research on religious texts? Studies of religious texts will not normally be funded except for the purpose of generating new information in the subject areas described in “What We Fund”, for example by comparing different scriptural traditions, new philosophical or theological analysis, and integrating scriptural insights with discoveries from contemporary science.

Does TWCF fund projects aimed at artistic or musical geniuses? TWCF funding in the genius category is restricted to cognitive genius, and excludes artistic or musical genius. Work that uses the cognitive context of the written word to creatively elevate people’s minds in a spiritual way, like that of John Milton, could be of potential interest.