http://www.eduplace.com/grants/available/private.html This site provides links to privately funded grant opportunities based in educational research.
The Spencer Foundation looks for applications that fit within one or more of four areas of inquiry. These are: The Relation between Education and Social Opportunity; Organizational Learning in Schools, School Systems, and Higher Education Institutions; Teaching, Learning, and Instructional Resources; Purposes and Values of Education. In addition to proposals in these defined areas, the Foundation provides an opportunity to submit field-initiated proposals outside these areas. http://www.spencer.org/content.cfm/areas-of-inquiry
The Wallace Foundation most often identifies prospective grantees and invite them, through "requests for proposals" or other careful screening. They support and sharing effective ideas and practices in five major initiatives: School Leadership; After School; Summer and Extended Learning Time; Arts Education; and Audience Development for the Arts.
There are many other opportunities. If you have a specific type of project in mind, please contact this office for support.