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The 2023 Sal Martino Grant For Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Research Proposal Cycle is now CLOSED.

Sal Martino Grant for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Research

In his remarks at ASAE’s 2017 Annual Meeting, Sal Martino, an ASAE Past Board Chair, spoke about the primary purposes of the ASAE Research Foundation: to present research that is both relevant and valuable for the development of association professionals; and, to directly support ASAE’s goal of demonstrating the benefits association bring to society. One of the vital functions that associations serve in society, he stressed, was to create “pathways for women, ethnic and racial minorities, and LGBTQ individuals to attain equality and leadership roles." Research is critical to this and all the functions associations serve.

Click here to access a transcript of the speech.

Sal’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) spans more than 40 years, including a 20-year commitment to the students of a South Bronx community college, who primarily belong to racial and ethnic minority groups. His dedication continues to this day, serving as an inspiring legacy to the association community.


The grant provides up to $15,000 to a meritorious proposal addressing DEI in nonprofit membership and member-serving organizations management and is intended to support the research activities of those working (or matriculating) in an academic community, association management professionals, and consultants/private contractors in association management.

Proposals can address DEI in a variety of ways; 

  • as the primary research question(s) 
  • as questions within a larger theme (i.e. membership development, volunteer management, board governance, advocacy, etc.)
  • addressed explicitly addressed in the review criteria (e.g. theoretical application, approach, significance, impact, innovation, organizational commitment, and dissemination)


There are no restrictions on the specific area(s) within association management and leadership that may be studied. However, the most successful proposals will:

  • investigate topics that are aligned with the Research Foundation’s mission and overarching research agenda
  • focus on an innovative and relevant research question
  • address what new knowledge the research study may uncover
  • outline a dissemination plan to share key findings with the association and academic community
  • clearly articulate the practical value and application of key findings to nonprofit membership and member-based associations
  • include research teams that embrace academic and professional collaborations
  • use acceptable research methodologies to offer high quality (e.g., valid, reliable) results


The program may provide one award of up to $15,000 each to a meritorious proposal addressing DEI and nonprofit membership/member-serving organizations. The intent of the program is to support research efforts, and therefore, proposals for career development, travel*, and product or resource development will not be accepted.

*Travel expenses may be included as a separate line-item if directly associated with the execution or dissemination of the research activity.

Awards will typically be made on an annual basis (see submission and review schedule), however, special review panels may be convened when proposals in high-priority areas are received. The funding cycle for each award is 12-18 months, however, applications for Continuation of Funding will be accepted for up to one additional cycle.

Award Eligibility

The program is intended to support research activities of those working (or matriculating) in an academic community, such as academic faculty, students, and research interns; or association management professionals, such as full-time employees and consultants.

ASAE membership is not a condition of the award but is strongly encouraged.

Funds will be issued to the employing entity (e.g.,affiliated association, contract company or, academic institution), not individuals, for direct costs only.

Application Requirements and Restrictions  

Indirect costs are not allowed under this award. Travel funds may only be included if directly related to the research activity. Award recipients will be required to submit an Interim and Final Report, and to present a summary of findings at the ASAE Annual Meeting or other appropriate ASAE-sponsored learning events when applicable.

    The ASAE Research Foundation is an established primary creator and resource for research and information in the association community. Through this grant, ASAE Research Foundation intends to expand and promote academic research that advances knowledge in association management and leadership, creating new conversations, and raising the profile of nonprofit research both inside and outside academia.

    Funding for the Sal Martino Grant for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Research is provided by: