Innovation Grants Program

Seybert Foundation’s Innovation Grants Program will provide one-time grants for specific research or proof-of-concept purposes, intended for emergent or existing Philadelphia-youth-serving nonprofit organizations wishing to either a) test a bold new approach OR b) pursue a time-sensitive opportunity that could lead to significant change.  

The 2022 Innovation Grants Program will award up to $100,000 to youth-serving nonprofits. The individual grants will range in size from $20,000-$60,000.

Deadline: Friday, September 30, 2022 at 8 PM EDT. 

Eligibility

Nonprofit organizations serving Philadelphia youth as their primary target population. Seybert defines “primary” to mean that more than 50% of the organization’s overall target population must be Philadelphia youth.

Priorities

Priority will be given to those projects or initiatives that, theoretically, could help an organization dramatically increase the impact of its services to Philadelphia youth, whether by altering an existing model or by testing a new model.

Primary areas of interest are projects that support innovation in the following areas:

  • Afterschool/Out-of-School-Time Programming
  • College/Career Readiness
  • Early Childhood
  • Education Reform
  • Foster Care System
  • Juvenile Justice Reform
  • Skills Trainings/Workforce Development
  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Unhoused Youth
  • Youth Advocacy/Voice
  • Youth Health and Wellbeing
  • Youth Leadership or Entrepreneurship
  • Youth-focused projects outside of these issue areas may also be considered.

Use of Funds

Innovation Grant funds could be used for many purposes, including but not limited to:

  • Launching a cohort or running a pilot program
  • Hosting meetings with key stakeholders to clarify the need or opportunity
  • Evaluating data and establishing key findings
  • Communicating the findings to relevant stakeholders
  • Crafting a strategy for next steps

What We Want to Fund Through the Innovation Grants Program

  • Projects and organizations that have discovered new and better ways of solving pervasive problems that impact children and youth
  • Seemingly small interventions that that when scaled, can have significant impact to addressing a big problem
  • New, high potential concepts for projects that require validation and can be validated for under $60,000
  • Existing projects and organizations that have discovered potentially highly scalable models that require testing and which can be tested for under $60,000
  • Projects and organizations led by entrepreneurial leadership teams who are skilled at testing new ideas cheaply and quickly 
  • Teams that possess rare operating knowledge in a particular domain or that have discovered counter-intuitive realities in a domain that will lead them to success where others have failed 

What Will Not Be Considered for the Innovation Grants Program

  • Projects that do not seek to primarily improve the lives of children and youth
  • Projects that will not (at least initially) improve the lives of children and youth in Philadelphia
  • Projects and organizations with limited growth potential 
  • Projects and organizations that do not have economies of scale
  • Existing initiatives that have not discovered a new key insight that will significantly improve the project’s scalability, quality or efficiency

Deadline

  • WE ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTING PROPSOALS AT THIS TIME. THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT A PROPOSAL WAS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2022; 8:00 PM EDT.
    • Applicants will be updated on the status of their applicants by November 1, 2022.
    • Final award announcements will be made in early December.

Keys to Decision Making

  • Serves community in alignment to Seybert’s mission       
  • Vision (new and innovative for the sector and/or the community in which the project is based)
  • Leadership track record or evidence of leadership potential    
  • Catalytic (can drive change outside of just the organization)         
  • Demonstrated Commitment to Equity and Inclusion
  • Funding would clearly support new learning or information collection
  • Project Viability (proposed activities are clear and measurable)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If I am an existing grantee, am I eligible to apply for an Innovations Grant?
    • Yes. Current grantees may apply.
  • Are organizations with a fiscal sponsor eligible to apply? 
    • Yes. Please indicate this on the application and provide the name and EIN number of the fiscal sponsor. 
  • Do organizations need to be based in Philadelphia to apply? 
    • No. The organization does not need to be based in Philadelphia, however the initial target population must be in Philadelphia.
  • Does an organization’s sole focus need to be on children and youth in order to be eligible to apply for an Innovation Grant?
    • This will depend on the project specifically. If what you’re proposing to us is to run a pilot that exclusively benefits children in youth, then that is something we’re interested in even if the organization itself might have other focus areas. The pilots or the repeatable models that we’re looking to fund should directly benefit children and youth in Philadelphia. 
  • Is there a chance that you will only fund part of my proposal?
    • The amount of funding requested is non-binding at the time of your submission. If we have questions or concerns about your project plan or budget, we will discuss them with you if your proposal advances to the final stage of funding consideration.
    • An Innovation Grant can be used toward funding a significantly larger project where other sources of funding have been secured.
  • Is $20,000 the minimum grant request or call smaller requests be made?
    • Smaller ranges can be requested. Please feel free to write-in that amount in the “Amount of Request” field in the proposal.
  • The Core Grant program is limited to organizations with an operating budget of $1.5 million or less, is there a similar restriction for the Innovation Grant program? 
    • No. Currently, there are no restrictions to eligibility based on an organization’s operating budget. 
  • Does the application have word counts, character counts, or word limits?
    • There aren’t specific character counts or word limits. We do ask that each section be answered in two to three sentences. The idea is to distill the essence of the innovation of the project, the core concept that is being tested or scaled and focus there. The Review Committee can follow up with subsequent questions, but the initial proposal places the focus on the proposed project instead of the organization as a whole.
  • Once a project is proven scalable with a Seybert grant, are there additional resources to help with the expansion after the pilot?
    • There is no direct guarantee of additional funding. However, after a pilot, an organization could consider applying for an Innovation Grant for the “repeatable model test”. if you are looking to fund that repeatable test. Additionally, if the organization meets the eligibility requirements for Seybert’s Core Grants Program, you could also apply for funding through that program.