Foundation AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL
84 MONITOR ON PSYCHOLOGY • SEPTEMBER 2013
one grant at a time
BY AMY NOVOTNEY
Major advances in psychology can be surprisingly affordable.
Sometimes all you need is a laptop, a
fervent psychologist and a $10,000 grant.
That’s all it took for Michael Inzlicht,
PhD, now a psychology professor at the
University of Toronto. In 2004, while
Inzlicht was completing a postdoctoral
fellowship at New York University, the
American Psychological Foundation
(APF) awarded him a $10,000 grant
to fund research on the ways negative
stereotypes affect academic performance.
He found that people perform poorly in
situations where they feel they are being
stereotyped, mostly due to a loss of self-control as a result of feeling stigmatized.
These results paved the way for 12
grants from other entities, totaling
more than $3.75 million in additional
funding, which Inzlicht has used to
study the short- and long-term effects of
stigmatization, including at the level of
“The APF grant was instrumental in
not only getting other grants, but also
in helping me establish myself as an
independent researcher,” Inzlicht says.
It also furthered a career dedicated to
using psychological science to dispel the
effects of stigmatization that undermine
the core of a healthy, well-functioning
society — one of several focus areas of
APF’s Campaign to Transform the Future.
Launched at the end of 2012 and
officially announced at APA’s Annual
Convention last month, APF’s Campaign
to Transform the Future seeks to
raise at least $5 million to provide
financial support to promising early
career psychologists like Inzlicht, who
conduct innovative research and develop
programs that enhance psychology’s
ability to advance human potential,
says Dorothy W. Cantor, PsyD, APF’s
president. The campaign, which will
run until 2016, seeks to fund four core
priorities: understanding and fostering
the connection between behavior and
health; reducing stigma and prejudice;
understanding and preventing violence;
and addressing long-term psychological
needs in the aftermath of disaster.
APF was founded in 1953 with just $550.
Today, the foundation gives away more
than $700,000 each year to support innovative research, scholarships and projects
for students and early career psychologists
working to make a difference in people’s
lives. The need to increase APF’s granting
capacity is compelling.
“Right now, we can only support one
out of every nine grant applications we
receive, so the goal of this campaign is
to help us increase capacity and make
a dent in important social issues, while
at the same time changing the career
trajectories for people who could really
make a difference and who might not
get funding otherwise,” says Elisabeth
R. Straus, APF’s executive vice president
and executive director.
APF is one of the only organizations
devoted to jumpstarting the careers
of young psychologists, says David
H. Barlow, PhD, who serves on the
foundation’s Board of Trustees and is chair
of the Campaign Leadership Cabinet.
“The average age of people receiving
grants from the National Institute of
Mental Health and other federal agencies
is in the mid-40s,” says Barlow, a professor
APF’s new capital campaign seeks to raise $5 million to fund promising young psychologists.