The Alliance for Global Good’s Innovation Fund:
- Aims to increase nonprofit sustainability by providing venture philanthropy to implement innovations in mission-relevant revenue generating activity.
- Targets (generally) medium-sized, US-based nonprofits, working on solving global problems (see specific eligibility criteria below)
- Grants are for implementation, not exploration–the Fund provides grants for late stage financing to move best-in-class plans into operation.
Applications for the second round of grantmaking from the fund may be submitted until May 31, 2013, for grants to be awarded in October, 2013.
An eligible organization has identified a clear strategy for mission-relevant, revenue generating activity and conducted enough of the needed preliminaries (e.g., studies, technical assistance, market analysis, etc.) to have in place a mature strategy for execution, all as reflected in a solid business plan, so that Innovation Fund resources will be used for implementation. An eligible organization also:
- is a 501(c)3 organization in the United States (including so called “friends of” and US fiscal agents for non-U.S. NGOs);
- is engaged in in areas of health, education, environment, poverty and/or world relations outside the United States;
- can demonstrate in quantitative terms the concrete impact it has made in addressing the problems it targets;
- can demonstrate organizational stability using information that might include but is not limited to: a) years of operation; b) relatively stable revenue; c) testimonial(s), e.g., from recurring donor(s); and/or d) cumulative impact;
- has had total revenue over the past five years that:
- averaged below $20,000,000, and above $5,000,000 per year, and
- derived in a significant part from at least one type of traditional funding (e.g., charitable giving, government support, investment income); and
- has quality systems of governance and financial accountability.
Selection is a two part process:
- First, an open competition RFP seeking proposals detailing the types of mission-‐consistent, revenue generating activity intended, together with robust supporting documentation of the business related merits of the proposal. AFGG’s Board of Advisors will review the proposals, and select the most promising applicants.
- Top prospects will present an in-‐person pitch to IF managers focusing on the business aspects of the proposal. The presenting team must include at least the prospect’s ED (or President), its CFO, and a board leader.
- Donor Partners of the Innovation Fund will have the option to participate in the pitch assessment committee.
Some History: The Fund was first announced at the Inaugural Bipartisan Conference on Innovation in Giving & Philanthropy produced by the Alliance in November, 2011, at the Library of Congress. Subsequently, under the principal direction of Dr. Susan Raymond ( Executive Vice President of Changing Our World World and Founding Director of the Innovation Fund) with Alliance advisor, Rodney W. Nichols (former Executive Vice President, Rockefeller University and President and CEO of the New York Academy of Science), the Fund’s focus has been sharpened.
In developing the Innovation Fund, AFGG interviewed 10 presidents of leading global nonprofits (none of which will be eligible for an award). All of the interviewees endorsed this new concept, because the non-profit need is great and the availability of such capital is scarce. Similarly, market research found nothing with similar structure. Although untested, the Innovation Fund has tremendous potential.