fbpx

Michelson Spark Grants

Our Student Basic Needs funding cycle call for proposals closed September 7th. In the coming weeks we will announce awardees.

Spark Grants is an innovative, just-in-time grantmaking process.

Our vision is to introduce a process that can fill urgent needs for education organizations that are well-aligned with our focus areas. We seek to fund highly impactful initiatives that would not be possible if they needed to wait through a traditional grant decision timeline.

The Spark Advantage

Timing

In the spirit of acting quickly, grants will be reviewed on a rolling basis. 

Eligibility

For this round of funding we have decided to focus our impact on organizations that are doing work in California. Organizations whose work does not impact California will be ineligible for this opportunity.

Velocity

We are committed to advancing or declining an LOI within 1 week of when our call for proposals close. Grants will be awarded within 6 weeks of the call for proposals closing.

Spark Grant Awardees

Click the logo to learn more about the work we have funded.

What We’re Looking For

Our vision is to introduce a process that can fill urgent needs for education organizations that are well-aligned with our focus areas.  We seek to fund highly impactful initiatives that would not be possible if they needed to wait through a traditional grant decision timeline.

Alignment with focus areas

Lasting organizational sustainability

Measurability of project impact

Grant Evaluation Criteria

Baseline Grant Criteria

  • Grant ask is up to $25,000.
  • We welcome proposals where Michelson Spark Grant funds are part of a larger overall project with multiple funding streams.
  • For this cycle of funding we have decided to focus our impact on organizations that are doing work in California. Organizations whose work does not impact California will be ineligible for this opportunity.
  • Preference will be given to grants that cover a specific self-contained milestone focus including inflection points, things that may open up a new foothold with a partner (i.e. enabling a new partnership with a market leader), or a new proof of concept.
  • For this funding cycle we will not be funding general operating expenses such as rent, utilities, server costs, etc.
  • We will not be funding initiatives that would result in direct assistance to students during this Michelson Spark Grant round, such as emergency student aid, laptops and hotspots for remote learning, or food and housing vouchers. While we realize there is a tremendous need among students for direct support, at this time we are leveraging our funding to effect broader systemic change.

Student Basic Needs Funding Cycle Focus Areas:

  • Innovative efforts that catalyze systemic solutions that support the basic needs of student parents. This includes but is not limited to housing, food insecurity, health/mental health, and childcare.
  • Innovative efforts focused on re-enrolling students who stopped out/dropped out during the COVID-19 pandemic due to basic needs challenges. These efforts should be able to scale across institutions and/or higher education systems.
  • Research that analyzes FAFSA completion in California. Specifically, research that summarizes best practices in ensuring FAFSA completion for graduating High School seniors now that all High Schools will be required to ensure that graduating seniors complete the form.
  • Innovative efforts looking to scale solutions that tackle housing insecurity/homelessness among college students.

Spark Grants Evaluation Process

Grant Application is Received

After LOI is submitted the Grant Committee will do an initial assessment.

Reject or Move Forward Decision is Made

Within 6 business days you will be notified if your proposal is moving forward in the process.

Complete Full Application

Proposals that advance will be asked to complete a full application.

Applications Assessed

Full applications will be assessed and a follow up call will be scheduled with those that advance to the finalist stage.

Final Decision Made

You will be notified of the Grant Committee decision within 6 weeks of our call for proposals closing.

 
 

Grant Committee

Phil Kim

Phil Kim

Chief Executive Officer

Mayra Lombera

Mayra Lombera

Chief Operating Officer

Ryan Erickson-Kulas

Ryan Erickson-Kulas

Director of Programs and Operations

Miguel Leon

Miguel Leon

Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives

Want to Learn More?

On August 11th, members of the grant committee hosted an informational webinar.