Lasting Impact Through Systems Change Grant Program
The Sorenson Impact Foundation (SIF) has launched the Lasting Impact Through Systems Change grant program that will continue the theme for systems change by focusing on fundamental socio-economic gaps, barriers, and challenges in our society and supporting solutions that are addressed or catalyzed by impact investing.
The goal is to support the development of an impact investing ecosystem that harmonizes financial returns, social impact returns, and equitable capital distribution. Their specific areas of focus are listed below, including example projects for illustration. Please note that example projects are directional only. As a foundation that values scalable innovation, they are eager to see proposals for systems level, game-changing new solutions.
SIF is seeking proposals for projects addressing the following areas:
The Wealth gap: The foundation seeks to support innovative programs, policy initiatives, or ground-breaking research in which market solutions and impact investing could play a catalytic role in reducing the wealth gap. Example proposals could include:
Solutions that involve socio-economic research, public policy, or new economic models to help remove barriers or increase opportunities for:
more inclusive wealth building for the lower and middle class who have been left behind;
improved access to life-long wealth building opportunities that systemically remove barriers to wealth creation;
owning wealth-building assets like home ownership for existing and new generations that find home ownership out of reach.
Solutions to build and reinvest wealth locally — through innovations like worker ownership, cooperative ownership, minority-focused investment, community-empowered development.
Displaced Populations: Millions of people around the world have been displaced through brutal, and repressive regimes causing untold human suffering and trauma. Example proposals could include:
Innovative programing, policy initiatives, or ground-breaking research in which impact investing could play a catalytic role in enabling displaced populations to become selfreliant.
Inclusive Investment: The foundation seeks to support innovative programs, policy initiatives, or ground-breaking research in which impact investing could play a catalytic role to more equitably distribute investment capital across regions and demographics in an effort to unlock the power of entrepreneurship for social impact in underserved populations. Example proposals could include:
Research on gender, racial, regional, and demographic representation, capital structures deployed, and fund returns in impact vs traditional funds, with an emphasis on the development and dissemination of best practices in investment approach
Projects designed to familiarize professional (and non-professional) investors with investment funds that are substantially owned and governed by women or BIPOC to support more equitable distribution of funds and investments to businesses.
Unlocking impact measurement at scale: There has been significant progress in the evolution of ESG metrics and reporting standards. With the emergence of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), the EU Sustainability Reporting Standards, the recent SEC announcement to enhance and standardize climate-related disclosures, it is clear that the field is entering a new era of sustainability reporting. Example proposals could include:
Initiatives to identify, develop and implement best practices in thematic impact metric identification, measurement, analysis and reporting.
Solutions that seek to harmonize the institutional, sectoral and practitioner silos in which they currently operate in reporting and measuring to better increase economies of scale and create clear, concise pathways to standardization.
Solutions to help reduce the reporting burden on entrepreneurs, companies and funds to better capture the economic, social, and environmental impacts of investments to improve their effectiveness, transparency, and accountability.
Awards are anticipated to range in size from $100,000 to $250,000.
Submissions will be read by SIF’s staff and board of directors over four rounds of analysis (evaluation, semi-finalists, finalists, awardees):
Solutions can be focused on the United States or globally
Solutions must be targeting underserved and underrepresented communities
Strength and readiness of applicant organization and team
Potential for high impact
Alignment with the foundation’s stated grant priorities
Potential to be a sustainable solution after grant funding has been used
Scale and reach potential including potential number of people impacted over the next five and ten years. The Foundation does consider pilots that could be a model for scale as long as those pilots consider how they’d disseminate learnings to expand their impact
Innovation and incorporation of learnings from the attempts of others to tackle similar problems in the past
Strength of partnerships and network within the industry to grow and expand
Strategy’s focus on coordination and collaboration as well as an ability to leverage existing solutions and progress
Please note that their organization expects reporting on specific lines of work, but will provide funding in a general operating format to empower nonprofit leaders to distribute funding as necessary to achieve desired outcomes.
For more information, visit http://sorensonimpactfoundation.org/grant-rfp/
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