Innovation Fund Round 1 Winners

The winning proposals represent an extremely diverse group in many ways.  As indicated on the Fund page, qualified applicants were medium-sized, US-based nonprofits that work on solving global problems in the Alliance’s critical areas of emphasis: poverty, health, education, environment, and world relations.  Geographically, they touch Africa, MENA, and southeast Asia.  They address rural and urban situations, and involve both the most impoverished and emerging economies.  There are both faith based and secular organizations. But all of them engage the market as a means of providing revenue in a way consistent with social mission.  And that is what the Fund seeks to support.

A Compilation of the grantees’ progress reports thru 2nd quarter of the grant cycle is available.

Children of God Relief Fund  | Kenya

  • Challenge: New laboratory facility with increased capacity also generates increased expenses.  These expenses in turn reduce net revenue that is used to support the organization’s primary program services, e.g., serving 4,300 children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS plus thousands of family members.
  • Solution: Create a marketing plan and advertising campaign to find the best opportunities to use the new laboratory’s increased capacity to fill the unmet needs for HIV/AIDS, TB, and other types of medical testing in Nairobi and surrounding communities on a fee basis.

East Meets West| Vietnam

  • Challenge:  How to address downturn in receipt of charitable contributions so as to realize the organization’s primary mission, serving the poor and the disadvantaged in Asia.
  • Solution:  Create a fee for service dental business center at a DaNang, Vietnam clinic which currently serves only indigent population; revise existing volunteer program to become a voluntourism program, generating fees for costs currently absorbed by the organization, and freeing up funds to continue to serve the poor.

High Atlas Foundation| Morocco

  • Challenge: How to grow earned income of resident client population, as well as create source of sustainable revenue for organizational needs.
  • Solution: Obtain organic certification for residents’ agricultural products and create supply chain that eliminates middle man, thereby increasing revenue generated many times over, allowing both organization and target population to benefit.

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur| Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Challenge: Lack of capital to grow existing computer-related facilities (cyber-cafes) at Mission maintained centers or compounds with net proceeds used for scholarships for impoverished children.
  • Solution:  Purchase additional equipment that can be used for income generation in excess of expenses.

These winners were among a pool of applicants that responded to the Fund’s first RFP in May, 2012

Those applications meeting the Fund’s objective requirements were reviewed by an external panel consisting of Antony Bugg-Levine, Carol Adelman, and Richard Bendis, where they were scored based on the innovation the proposal presented—its creativity, the clarity of its goal and role, and the consistency of the innovation with the organization’s mission.

That review narrowed the field to 7 finalists, all of which made live presentations to a second group, consisting of venture philanthropist Maureen Baehr, turnaround/restructuring specialist Michael Johnson, and McKinsey director Anish Melwani.  Finalist presentations focused on the actual business elements, such as understanding of markets, business strategy, viability, and management capacity.

Check out AFGG Blog Posts re the Innovation Fund


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