Welcome to the Office of Grants and Programs

Featured Grant Profile

Professor Cynthia Jones; Juan Cartagena of LatinoJustice PRLDEF; Monique Dixon of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Nancy Gist, consultant with the Pretrial Racial Justice Initiative; Cherise Burdeen of the Pretrial Justice Institute; and Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

From left to right: Professor Cynthia Jones; Juan Cartagena of LatinoJustice PRLDEF; Monique Dixon of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Nancy Gist, consultant with the Pretrial Racial Justice Initiative; Cherise Burdeen of the Pretrial Justice Institute; and Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Furthering WCL’s work to promote reforms that improve the criminal justice system, funding from the Public Welfare Foundation supported Professor Jones’ year-long project that culminated in a major conference to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in bail and pretrial detention. The dysfunctional bail process in the U.S. produces jail overcrowding and fuels mass incarceration. With Professor Jones’ leadership, bail-reform advocates, community organizers and federal and state government agencies met in mid-November at WCL to examine the causes and consequences of bail disparities; alternatives to money bonds and pretrial detention; ways to achieve bail reform through litigation, legislation and other means; and the role of the civil rights community in reform efforts.

"We've successfully raised the profile of pretrial justice reform, and civil rights advocates are committed to active engagement in pretrial justice reform. This is just the beginning."
-- Professor Cynthia Jones

In support of the law school's mission, the Office of Grants and Programs:

  1. Assists WCL's programs in all aspects of pre- and post-grantseeking activity;
  2. Develops and implements strategic initiatives to engage the local and global community in pursuit of outstanding legal education; and
  3. Supports specialized summer and other academic programs in Washington, D.C. and abroad.

We work closely with faculty, staff, and students to create meaningful opportunities in legal training and practice areas. Read more in these pages about how we help WCL achieve excellence and how we might be able to help you. Please contact us with questions or visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

What We Do


Innovative, thoughtful, and pioneering grant and program design and implementation resulted in WCL receiving 32 grant awards totaling $2.8M from 26 sponsors in Fiscal Year 2015 (ending April 30, 2015). Grant awards play a vital role in contributing to innovation in research, teaching, and project development at WCL. Awards provide faculty, staff and students with unique opportunities to pursue legal issues in vital areas related to academic studies and scholarship. For more information about these awards, click here.

To encourage and help WCL's programs raise money to do their critically-needed work, the Office of Grants and Programs, along with the Office of Sponsored Programs, dedicates every Wednesday morning to assist faculty and staff who are seeking grant- or contract-sponsored funding. Any faculty or staff looking for funding for their work are encouraged to make an appointment with us. OSP and Grants and Programs assist WCL’s centers, programs and projects in all aspects of pre- and post-award activity, including identifying potential sponsors; helping design programs; assisting in the development of proposals and budgets; ensuring compliance with institutional policies and processes; and meeting sponsor requirements for reporting.

We help faculty and staff learn how to use the research tools available to them through American University and the resources needed to successfully implement and manage projects once funding is received. We also offer skills training for students in all aspects of grantseeking. While grantseeking can be challenging, competitive, and time-consuming, the funds raised from foundations, government agencies, and other sources are a vital tool enabling faculty, staff and students to pursue their work. Success in winning grants empowers the whole WCL community.

Strategic Initiatives

Sometimes a special opportunity emerges that complements WCL's mission and benefits a part of the global community. These initiatives often find a home in Grants and Programs. One such initiative is a four-part training seminar on leadership and board governance designed for the 2014-15 Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Graduate Fellows. This seminar is being offered again in 2015-16.

In its fifth year, the Program on Judicial Reform in Latin America and the U.S. will bring together judges and legal practitioners from throughout the Americas to participate in this unique summer program which provides an overview of the reform processes taking place within Latin America’s judicial systems with a special emphasis on criminal justice reforms. The program, scheduled for July 18-29, 2016 in Washington, D.C., is organized jointly with the Centro de Estudios de Justicia de las Américas. Cooperating institutions for this program include the National Center for State Courts and American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative.

Summer Programs in Washington, D.C.

Each year, WCL's summer law programs provide students and practitioners with expert instruction, intensive training, and networking opportunities with some of the most influential people in their respective fields of law. Programs qualify for academic or for Continuing Legal Education credit, are one- to four-weeks, and are held in D.C. and abroad.

Programs in Washington, D.C. include: Human Rights and Humanitarian Law; Environmental Law; International Commercial Arbitration; International Organizations, Law and Diplomacy; Intellectual Property Law; Hospitality and Tourism Law; U.S. and International Anti-Corruption Law; International Communications Law; Law and Government; Health Law and Policy; Legal English; Litigation Skills; and Judicial Reform (Latin America).

Click here for full details on eligibility, how to apply, academic credit, schedules, financial aid, and housing.


Additional grant resources can be found at the following links: