Inaugural Earthshot Prize recipients announced

The Earthshot Prize has announced the inaugural winners of its global competition for groundbreaking scalable solutions to five of the greatest environmental challenges facing the planet.

Established by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the goal of incentivizing change and helping repair the planet over the next ten years, the Earthshot Prize will provide each award recipient £1 million ($1.37 million) in prize money. The five winners and ten other finalists also will receive tailored professional and technical support from the Earthshot Prize Global Alliance — a network of philanthropies, NGOs, and private-sector businesses — to help scale their solutions and accelerate their impact.

The winner in the category of “protect and restore nature” is the Republic of Costa Rica, which is expanding government programs that pay citizens to protect forests, plant trees, and restore ecosystems. In the categories of “clean our air” and “revive our oceans,” the winners are Boston-based Takachar, which has developed a portable technology that enables tractors in remote farms in India to convert crop residues into bio-products such as fuel and fertilizer and reduces smoke emissions by up to 98 percent, and Bahamas-based Coral Vita, which grows coral on land to replant in oceans, helping to revive dying ecosystems and improve resilience to the impact of climate change. And in the categories of “build a waste-free world” and “fix our climate,” the winners are the City of Milan’s Food Waste Hubs, which recover and donate food from supermarkets and company canteens to NGOs that distribute it to the neediest residents, and Enapter, whose AEM Electrolyser technology turns renewable electricity into emissions-free hydrogen gas.

For a complete list of winners and finalists, see the Earthshot Prize website.

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Invites Applications for Innovative Research to Advance Racial Equity

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has issued a call for proposals for its Evidence for Action: Innovative Research to Advance Racial Equity program.

Evidence for Action (E4A) funds research that expands the evidence needed to build a Culture of Health, with an explicit emphasis on advancing racial equity. According to RWJF, achieving racial equity is not possible without a focus on the foundational and structural drivers of health, often referred to as the social determinants of health (e.g., housing, education, built environment, economic opportunity, law enforcement, and others). Therefore, the fund partners with researchers, practitioners, community leaders, advocates, and policy makers to develop evidence about what works to dismantle or remedy unjust systems and practices and produce more equitable outcomes for people and communities of color.

Evidence for Action prioritizes research to evaluate specific interventions (e.g., policies, programs, practices) that have the potential to counteract the harms of structural and systemic racism and improve health, well-being, and equity outcomes. The foundation is concerned both with the direct impacts of structural racism on the health and well-being of people and communities of color (e.g., Black, Latina/o/x, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islanders, and other races and ethnicities) — as well as the ways in which racism intersects with other forms of marginalization, such as having low income, being an immigrant, having a disability, or identifying as LGBTQ+ or a gender minority.

This funding is focused on studies about upstream causes of health inequities, such as the systems, structures, laws, policies, norms, and practices that determine the distribution of resources and opportunities, which in turn influence individuals’ options and behaviors. Research should center on the needs and experiences of communities exhibiting the greatest health burdens and be motivated by real-world priorities and should inform a specific course of action and/or establish beneficial practices, not stop at characterizing or documenting the extent of a problem.

E4A seeks grantees who are deeply committed to conducting rigorous and equitable research and ensuring that their findings are actionable in the real world. In addition to research funding, RWJF also supports grantees with stakeholder engagement, dissemination of findings, and other activities that can enhance their projects’ potential to “move the needle” on health and racial equity.

Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories. Submissions from teams that include both U.S. and international members are eligible, but the lead applicant must be based in the United States. Preference will be given to applicant organizations that are either institutes of higher education, public entities, or nonprofits that are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations or Type III supporting organizations. Other types of nonprofit and for-profit organizations are also eligible to apply. RWJF may require additional documentation.

A webinar will be held October 13, 2021, from 1:00-2:15 p.m. ET. Registration is required. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and applicants will generally receive notice within six to nine weeks of applying as to whether they are invited to submit a full proposal. Full proposals will be due two months from the date of notification.

For complete program guidelines, application instructions, and to register for the webinar, see the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website.Link to complete RFP

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Schmidt Futures announces launch of Schmidt Futures Network

Schmidt Futures has announced the launch of the Schmidt Futures Network, a program aimed at helping Schmidt Futures recipients expand their coalition of partners and diversity funding sources to scale promising early-stage initiatives.

Convergent Research, the network’s first initiative, is designed to remedy gaps in the research and development ecosystem by identifying high-impact scientific or technological R&D opportunities, then defining and launching these projects as Focused Research Organizations (FROs). According to Schmidt Futures, some global challenges — such as brain mapping, climate technology, biological tool and reagent development, data generation for preventative medicine, novel antibiotic development, and nanofabrication — often cannot be efficiently addressed by the existing organizational structures of academia, industry, or government. To address the issue, Convergent Research FROs will work to solve scientific and technological challenges that require the systematic scale, unity, and purpose of a startup, while solving problems in fundamental research for the public benefit.

The first FROs will include E11 bio, which is dedicated to brain mapping technology and established to develop tools for understanding ho

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Violent Crime Prevention Grants Program Invites Applications for Violent Crime Prevention Grants

The Violent Crime Prevention Grants Program is administered by the Indianapolis Foundation, an affiliate of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, and will work in alignment with the city’s Community-Based Violence Prevention Partnership Grant program in support of evidence-based violence reduction programming and wraparound services in Marion County, Indiana.

To that end, a total of $1.1 million will be available to organizations that perform longer-term crime prevention activities, including those relating to re-entry; and a total of $1.1 million will be available to organizations that perform shorter-term crime prevention, crime reduction, and other community outreach activities. Grants of between $5,000 and $325,000 will be awarded in support of interest areas including violence reduction, youth mental health, domestic violence reduction, early intervention supports, intervention, prevention, public safety partnerships, and neighborhood-based strategies. Organizations that are start-ups and/or pilot programs may be considered for capacity-building support. Organizations may apply to multiple interest areas.

The Violent Crime Prevention Grants Program will give priority (through an equity framework) to organizations that clearly demonstrate immediate intentionality around crime prevention and support programs using proven or promising strategies that focus on integrated, evidence-based outreach activities through discrete activities; active violence disruption and community canvassing/outreach that targets, engages, and involves hard-to-reach populations connected to gun-violence related activities; provide intervention services to youth (ages 16 to 24) and adults (ages 24 to 30) currently interacting with the criminal justice system to community-based services to build the necessary infrastructure to prevent violent crimes in Indianapolis and capable of delivering measurable results in the areas of employment and job retention for the population(s) of focus; improve neighborhood safety within IMPD’s patrol districts through community mobilization efforts to reduce or prevent crime in a specific geographical area; and partner with public agencies (e.g., the Office of Public Health & Safety, law enforcement, courts, probation and parole) to help prevent crime in the community.

Organizations must be a 501(c)(3) public charitable organization or a public entity partnering with a 501(c)(3) charitable organization as a fiscal agent.

For complete program guidelines and application instructions, see the Central Indiana Community Foundation website.Link to complete RFP

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Ford Foundation launches U.S. Disability Rights Program

The Ford Foundation has announced the launch of a grantmaking program dedicated to advancing the rights of people with disabilities in the United States.

In shaping the grantmaking strategy of the U.S. Disability Rights Program, the foundation consulted approximately two hundred disability leaders across the United States. With an annual budget of $10 million, the program will focus on advancing economic justice; strengthening disability organizations through multiyear, core funding support; building a pipeline of a diverse disability leadership, both within disability rights and justice organizations and in the broader social justice arena; and countering disability stigma.

Initial grant recipients include the Century Foundation for efforts to build a national disability and economic justice roundtable that will help coordinate a disability agenda in policy arenas; the Disability Rights and Education Defense Fund in support of building a national association of disabled journalists; Access Living of Chicago to expand its work with survivors of gun violence; Crushing Colonialism to use moving image storytelling to uplift Native Americans with disabilities and their advocacy work; and MEAction to advocate for the recognition, education, and research around myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and the emerging long-haul COVID community.

“Any efforts to combat inequality can only be successful by explicitly including disability,” said U.S. Disability Rights program officer Rebecca Cokley. “As a person with multiple disabilities, I am honored to continue serving the disability community in building collective power and fighting for their perspectives and experiences to be included in policy decisions that affect them. Critical to this work is a diverse disability leadership that represents the full experience of the community, interconnected social justice movements that understand how disability is situated in all justice areas, a society that celebrates disability pride, and a philanthropic sector that bolsters support for the community.””Ford Foundation launches first-ever U.S. Disability Rights program.” Ford Foundation press release 10/14/2021.Subjects: DisabilitiesPhilanthropy / VoluntarismPublic AffairsEconomically DisadvantagedCivil / Human Rights

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WES Mariam Assefa Fund Invites Applications for Employer Practices

The WES Mariam Assefa Fund aims to catalyze economic inclusion, opportunities, and mobility in support of immigrants and refugees in the U.S. and Canada. Through grantmaking, impact investing, partnerships, and field-building, the fund supports efforts that work to bring about inclusive economies and ensure that all immigrants and refugees can achieve their goals and thrive.

To that end, the fund invites applications for its 2022 grants program through which grants of up to $150,000 over two years will be awarded in support of promising new ideas from organizations working with employers to advance more inclusive practices that improve economic mobility for immigrant and refugee workers. The fund seeks ideas from organizations to directly engage employers to shift internal talent practices to reduce bias in recruitment and hiring, build more inclusive workplaces, and invest in the advancement of incumbent immigrant and refugee talent; pilot demand-driven training and education programs that connect immigrant and refugee job seekers to quality jobs, particularly in high-growth sectors; build coalitions within or across sectors to advance commitments and facilitate knowledge sharing and collective action among employers; and assess the impact of existing employer initiatives focused on immigrant and refugee workers to identify the path forward for those solutions. 

Organizations must be aligned with at least one of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund’s four impact goals: to build the case for solutions that advance equitable economic mobility for immigrants and refugees; deepen the bench of leaders from immigrant communities and communities of color; accelerate the uptake of worker-centered innovations; and grow the movement to foster welcoming, inclusive, and equitable workplaces and communities. The fund is particularly interested in organizations that are led and staffed by people who bring lived experience from immigrant and refugee communities and communities of color and center workers’ voices and perspectives in how they design and implement their solutions; and bring a systems-change mindset.

Eligible applicants include mission-driven organizations (for-profit, nonprofit 501(c)(3), (4), or (6), or fiscally sponsored organization), registered and doing work in the United States or based outside of the U.S. but leading work in the U.S.

Letters of Intent are due November 15, 2021, and selected applicants will be invited to submit full proposal by late March 2022.

For complete program guidelines, application instructions, and an FAQ, see the WES Mariam Assefa Fund website.Link to complete RFP

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Wallace Foundation launches equity-centered principals initiative

The Wallace Foundation has launched a five-year, $102 million initiative aimed at ensuring educational equity by developing principal pipelines to prepare effective school leaders.

The Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative will support efforts by eight high-need public school districts, which will each partner with community organizations, two university leader preparation programs, and a state education agency to develop a local definition of equity and define what an equity-centered leader needs to know and be able to do. Each district partnership team will receive $8.2 million to design a comprehensive, aligned, equity-centered pipeline based on those definitions; provide mentoring and training for current principals and assistant principals; and engage in continuous improvement.

The participating districts are Baltimore City Public Schools (in partnership with Morgan State UniversityTowson University, and the Maryland State Department of Education); Columbus City (with Ashland UniversityOhio State University, and the Ohio Department of Education); District of Columbia Public Schools (with Howard University and the George Washington University); Fresno Unified School District (with San Diego State UniversityNational University, and the California Department of Education); Jefferson County School District (with Spalding UniversityUniversity of Louisville, and the Kentucky Department of Education); Portland Public Schools (with Portland State UniversityLewis and Clark College, the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, and the Oregon Department of Education); San Antonio Independent School District (with the University of Texas at AustinUniversity of Texas at San Antonio, and the Texas Education Agency); and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (with University of North Carolina at GreensboroAppalachian State University, and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction).

Each district will determine its own technical assistance needs and contract for those from its grant. The initiative also will provide support to the National Urban League for community engagement activities; the Council of the Great City Schools for school board engagement, the Leadership Academy and Bank Street College of Education for review of alignment of current district leadership policies and practices with the definition developed by each district, and for the development of leader tracking systems. Learning Forward will lead peer learning community meetings, while each participating university will work with a partner provider that has successfully redesigned its program to be responsive to the on-the-job realities of the principal’s job and the needs of the district.

In addition, researchers from institutions including the University of Iowa and University of Wisconsin-Madison will document how each district’s culture, history, structure, and leadership shape its approach to equity; key actions, challenges, opportunities, and changes that result from the effort; how equity-centered leadership can be measured; and the relationship between equity-centered leadership and student benefits.

“With the scope of this project and the explicit focus on educational equity and principal pipelines, I believe what we learn through this work will help inform the field about what it takes to cultivate equity-centered leadership and ultimately improve students’ learning opportunities and educational outcomes,” said John Diamond, a lead investigator in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at UW-Madison.”UW–Madison research team part of $102 million Wallace Foundation initiative to examine equity-centered principal pipelines.” University of Wisconsin-Madison press release 10/14/2021.”School Leadership.” Wallace Foundation webpage 10/01/2021.Subjects: EducationElementary / Secondary EducationHigher EducationRacial EquitySocial JusticePeople: John Diamond

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Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Invites Applications for Community Progress Fund

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians. 

To that end, the foundation invites applications for its Community Progress Fund, which is designed to provide an infusion of short-term funding to build on existing momentum to help move an issue, an idea, or an organization forward.

The Progress Fund enables communities to test ideas, expand promising efforts, or achieve greater impact. Engaging with community members through the Progress Fund grant cycle is intended to enable the foundation to support communities and better understand how different communities experience change, opportunity, and challenges. In this regard, the parameters for this approach are intentionally broad. In addition, ZSR aims to be accessible to areas of the state that have relatively higher needs and fewer resources. Consequently, preference will be given to those areas.

ZSR strongly encourages applications from organizations that are run by and primarily serve people of color. Proposals must demonstrate that there is existing momentum within the community and also show how, with an infusion of funds, they will move an issue or an organization forward to test an idea or achieve greater impact.

Grants ranging from between $20,000 and $30,000 per year for up to two years will be awarded. 

Eligible applicants include tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organizations, colleges/universities, religious entities, and government units for programs and projects that serve the people of North Carolina. Out-of-state charitable organizations are eligible to apply for funds in support of projects operating in North Carolina.

ZSR will review applications and contact select applicants who will move to the next phase of the process, which includes ZSR staff scheduling visits in these communities, or virtually, if necessary, in spring 2022. Grant decisions will be made in May 2022.

For complete program guidelines and application instructions, see the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation website.Link to complete RFP

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Only eight on 2021 Forbes 400 list receive top philanthropy score

Even as the cumulative net worth of the four hundred richest Americans on the 2021 Forbes 400 list soared by 40 percent last year, to $4.5 trillion, only eight of those billionaires received the top philanthropy score, down from ten in 2020.

Those who received the top score of 5 this year, meaning they have given away at least 20 percent of their wealth over their lifetimes, included Warren Buffett (net worth: $102 billion; #8 on Forbes 400), who is estimated to have given a total of $44 billion to charity, and George Soros ($8.6 billion; #92), who has donated $16.8 billion, or about two-thirds of his fortune, and is America’s biggest giver as a percentage of net worth for the second year in a row. Also assigned a philanthropy score of 5 were Gordon and Betty Moore ($10.8 billion, #66); Julian H. Robertson, Jr. ($4.8 billion; #224); Barr Foundation co-founder Amos Hostetter, Jr. ($3.9 billion; #289); Lynn Schusterman ($3.5 billion; #333); John and Laura Arnold ($3.3 billion; #358); and T. Denny Sanford ($3.4 billion; #340). Those who received the top score in 2020 but not this year are Eli Broad, who died in May, George B. Kaiser, and Ted Turner.

This year’s philanthropy scores were lower across the board than in 2020, with eleven billionaires scoring 4 for their lifetime giving of between 10 percent and 19.99 percent of their wealth — including MacKenzie Scott ($58.5 billion; #15), Michael R. Bloomberg ($70 billion; #10), and Melinda French Gates ($6.3 billion; #158) — down from nineteen; forty-four scoring 3 for having given between 5 percent and 9.99 percent — including Pierre and Pam Omidyar ($25.3 billion; #26), Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna ($24.1 billion; #29), and Jim and Marilyn Simons ($24.4 billion; #28) — down from fifty-six; and a hundred and sixteen scoring 2 for having given between 1 percent and 4.99 percent — including Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan and Phil Knight and family ($59.9 billion; #14) — down from 120. The ranks of those who scored 1 for lifetime giving of less than 1 percent of their fortunes swelled from 127 to 156, which included Jeff Bezos ($201 billion; #1), Elon Musk ($190.5 billion; #2), and Bill Gates ($134 billion; #4).Hank Tucker. “The Forbes Philanthropy Score 2021: How we ranked each Forbes 400 billionaire based on their giving.” Forbes 10/05/2021.Kerry A. Dolan, Chase Peterson-Withorn, Jennifer Wang. “The Forbes 400: The definitive ranking of the wealthiest Americans in 2021.” Forbes 10/05/2021.

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HHMI commits $2 billion to improve diversity and inclusion in science

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has announced a ten-year, $2 billion initiative aimed at advancing racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in science.

Through the initiative, HHMI will take steps to provide culturally aware mentorship, effective professional development, and inclusive community-building opportunities; expand its efforts to increase diversity and inclusion at every career stage in academic science; and deepen its commitment to equity and inclusion for the organization’s administrative employees. With an initial focus on boosting the representation of racial/ethnic and gender groups that remain significantly underrepresented in the sciences, HHMI will work with scientists and grantees to foster an inclusive culture; place equity at the center of policies and practices in research, classroom, and administrative settings; and hold itself accountable to ensure responsibility and transparency.

To that end, HHMI will, among other things, increase investments in its Inclusive Excellence and Driving Change programs at colleges and universities; expand the Science Education Alliance program, which offers authentic research experiences for undergraduates; pair selected college graduates with HHMI Investigators or Janelia Group Leaders for research experiences of up to two years; establish a peer community of post-baccalaureate students, Gilliam Fellows, and Hanna Gray Fellows; provide additional resources to advisory reviewers of HHMI Investigators and Janelia Group Leaders on identifying and mitigating unconscious bias; and charge each HHMI vice president and chief with developing specific diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and regularly reporting progress.

“This is an exciting moment for the institute, with new programs and a commitment that is central to our mission of developing and supporting the very best minds focused on solving the most challenging and important biomedical questions,” said HHMI board chair and Bowdoin College president Clayton Rose. “We know that we don’t have all the answers, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with academic, philanthropic, and other leaders to share experiences, learn, and adapt as we seek to have sustained and lasting impact.”

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George Gund Foundation Invites Applications for Community Improvement

Founded in 1952, the George Gund Foundation reflects a deep commitment to the Greater Cleveland community with a basic goal of advancing human welfare. 

To that end, the foundation is inviting applications from Cleveland-based organizations in the following categories: 

Climate and Environmental Justice: Grants will be awarded to address environmental issues in Northeast Ohio, including organizations that develop and advocate for public policy on climate change and to advance clean energy, transportation, water, and air and organizations that work to mitigate climate change by promoting sustainable land use, creating accessible green spaces in Cleveland, and advocating for environmental justice — the ability of all to live in a safe and healthy environment.

Creative Culture and Arts: Grants will be made in support of local projects that enhance learning, strengthen the pride of place, create an emotional connection to our environment, and deepen the impact of opportunities for those who might otherwise be denied them. The foundation supports the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s plan to help students realize their full creative and intellectual potential through rich artistic experiences.

Public Education: Grants will be awarded in support of efforts to ensure every child in Cleveland attends a high-quality school and every neighborhood has a multitude of great schools from which families can choose. In addition, the foundation supports advocacy for sound and consistent statewide policy that furthers our work and mitigates the effects of poverty on learning.

Thriving Families and Social Justice: The foundation will invest in growth and development opportunities for historically marginalized people at critical life junctures, such as prenatal and early childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and when entering the workforce or forming a family; and supports public policies that reduce poverty, strengthen family economic stability, and secure equitable access to basic human needs such as food, shelter, and health care — particularly primary, behavioral, and reproductive. 

Vibrant Neighborhoods and Inclusive Economy: Grants will be awarded in support of efforts to achieve inclusive growth and opportunity for all of Cleveland’s neighborhoods and residents and to eliminate barriers through collaborative economic and community development efforts, including advocacy for policy change.

In addition, the foundation has identified global climate change, inequality and racial equity, and threats to democracy as three overarching issues among all categories. 

Applicants must be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, a governmental unit or agency, a local education agency, or a library.

For complete program guidelines and application instructions, see the George Gund Foundation website.Link to complete RFP

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Small nonprofits hardest hit by drop in donations in 2020, study finds

While most charities saw increases in contributions between 2015 and 2019, that trend was reversed in 2020 for many, and small organizations were particularly hard hit, a report from the Urban Institute finds.

Based on a survey of nonprofits working in areas ranging from direct service provision to community building and advocacy, the report, Nonprofit Trends and Impacts 2021: National Findings on Donation Trends from 2015 through 2020, Diversity and Representation, and First-Year Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic (93 pages, PDF), found that from 2015 to 2019, 58 percent of organizations reported growth in donations, while 32 percent saw stable donations and 10 percent saw declines. In 2020, however, 37 percent of surveyed nonprofits reported a drop in donations — including 24 percent reporting significant declines. The report also found that 42 percent of small organizations with budgets under $500,000 — which make up the majority of the sector and depend most heavily on individual donations — experienced a decrease in donations in 2020, compared with 29 percent of those with budgets of at least $500,000 (defined as large organizations in this study).

According to the study, 40 percent of organizations reported losses in total revenue for 2020, including 54 percent of arts organizations and 36 percent of all other nonprofits. Organizations that reported losses had lost an average of 31 percent of total revenue and 7 percent of their paid staff by the end of 2020. And among organizations that reported receiving fees for service in 2019, revenue from service fees fell by 30 percent at the median. In terms of issue areas, arts organizations were most likely to report declines in contributions in 2020, at 43 percent. Among arts, education, and health nonprofits, the smallest organizations with budgets of under $100,000 were most likely to report declines in donations, while in human services, those with budgets of between $500,000 and $999,999 were hardest hit. In all issue areas except education, organizations with budgets of at least $500,000 were more likely than smaller organizations to report increases in contributions last year.

The report also found that from 2015 to 2019, a greater share of organizations led by people of color saw declines in donations compared with non-Hispanic-white-led organizations (14 percent vs. 9 percent) and a smaller share saw increases (46 percent vs. 60 percent). In 2020, however, somewhat similar shares of POC- and white-led organizations saw declines (38 percent vs. 37 percent) and increases (47 percent vs. 52 percent) in contributions.

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Gerber Foundation Invites Applications for Research

The Gerber Foundation works to provide support for innovative research focused on the nutrition, care, and development of infants and toddlers, from the first year before birth to 3 years of age.

In particular, the foundation is interested in fresh approaches to solving common, everyday problems or emerging issues within its defined focus area. Projects should focus on issues faced by care providers that, when implemented, will improve the health, nutrition and/or developmental outcomes of infants and young children. The board also is looking for practical solutions that can be easily and rapidly implemented on a broad scale with a predictable time frame to clinical application.

To that end, the foundation is inviting concept papers for its 2022 research awards. Grants of up to $350,000 will be awarded in support of medical research in children’s health that is conducted by researchers based in the United States. Many research topics are eligible, as the fund does not focus on a particular disease but instead on children’s health and nutrition, broadly defined, including effects of environmental hazards on this population. Novice research grants of no more than $20,000 are also available.

Applicants may be from a number of medical or ancillary fields and must be based at an institution within the United States. Novice research applicants must have a mentor and may be in or no longer than a year after completing their training program at the time of concept paper submission. 

Concept papers are due November 15, 2021, and selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal by February 15, 2022.

For complete program guidelines, application instructions, and information about previous award recipients, see the Gerber Foundation website.Link to complete RFP

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Online giving, email engagement grew in 2020, study finds

One-time online giving increased significantly in 2020, fueled largely by emergency giving related to the pandemic and the disruption of other fundraising channels, a report from Blackbaud finds.

Based on an analysis of aggregate data from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2020, from 908 Blackbaud Luminate Online customers with at least three years of consecutive usage data, the Blackbaud Luminate Online Benchmark Report 2020 found that revenue from one-time giving grew 15.6 percent on a year-over-year basis in 2020, rebounding from a 1 percent decline in 2019. The number of one-time donations rose 15.8 percent, while the average gift size increased 3.3 percent, to $169.59. One-time online giving revenue increased in eleven out of twelve issue areas, including a 453 percent surge for food banks.

The study also found year-over-year increases in online revenue from first-time donations (14.9 percent), repeat donations (16.4 percent), and monthly sustainer donations (17.9 percent). While the median share of sustainer revenue declined from 11 percent in 2019 to 9 percent, the number of sustainer donors in the dataset rose 18 percent and all issue areas saw growth in revenue from sustainer giving, led by food banks (99.1 percent) and including health services and research (8.4 percent), the only issue areas to see a decline in one-time donations and overall online revenue. While one-time giving spiked in May and June and again in November and December, sustainer giving grew by between 14 percent and 20 percent every month.

According to the report, with the elimination of in-person fundraising events, nonprofits sent 13.9 percent more emails in 2020 than in 2019, and total email clickthroughs increased 29 percent. Revenue from fundraising emails jumped 42.2 percent while the number of transactions rose 43.2 percent, and the email conversion rate rose by 17.9 percent, to 0.35 percent.

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Arts Work Fund Invites Applications to Improve Arts Organization Strategies

The Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development is a funder collaborative created to help strengthen the management and operations of small arts and cultural organizations in Chicago and Cook County, Illinois.

The fund invites applications for its grants program, which has a goal to cultivate unconventional thinking to address the immediate challenges of COVID-19 and devise more effective ways for arts organizations located in and serving Chicago and Cook County, Illinois to meet their desired outcomes.

To that end, grants will be awarded to enable arts and culture organizations to develop and test possible solutions to challenges posed by COVID-19 or those that hampered nonprofits before the pandemic (e.g., lack of access to resources for artists of color and artists with disabilities, declining ticket sales). Challenges may relate to management, production, technology, fiscal planning, or artistic mission. If organizations are seeking a grant for an artistic project, the project should be in service of the organization as a whole, versus in support of a specific piece of work, and have a social engagement goal or address a community issue or need. Multiple organizations can apply to collaborate on a shared challenge. The fund aims to allocate 65 percent of all grants to organizations led by, for, and about black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities. Grants will be awarded in two categories:

Think Grants: This category will give arts organizations the time and space to think through a question, analyze challenges and opportunities, and develop plans or small tests of change. Competitive proposals will demonstrate how and why the organization selected the challenge or the questions to be examined and how they will structure their exploration. Priority will be given to groups of organizations working together to share and explore answers.

Explore Grants: This category will provide arts organizations that have fully developed ideas with the resources to test and implement the concept. These grants are designed to foster the creativity and risk-taking that is essential to create new and better ways of operating in the current COVID-19 world and address some of the aspects of arts organizations that were not working well before the pandemic. Priority will be given to projects that have maximum potential benefit for the organization and the field.

Think Grants of up to $20,000 and Explore Grants of up to $30,000 will be awarded for arts organizations led by, for, and about BIPOC, people with disabilities, LGBTQ people, and women. Think Grants of up to $15,000 and Explore Grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded for all other eligible organizations.

Applicants must have an arts-based mission and be tax-exempt as defined by section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Arts organizations led by, for, and about BIPOC individuals must have operating expenses of $2 million or less and any other arts and culture organizations must have operating expenses of $800,000 or less.

For complete program guidelines, application instructions, and information about previous grant recipients, see the Arts Work Fund website.Link to complete RFP

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