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Michelson Spark Grants

Our Smart Justice funding cycle will run from November 10th to December 1st. The letter of interest and full application are available for viewing now. LOIs that pass initial grant committee review will be asked to submit a full application.

SUBMIT A PROPOSAL

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 reaching a decision on each application within 15 business days of our 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.

R

Alignment with focus areas

R

Lasting organizational sustainability

R

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.

Smart Justice Funding Cycle Focus Areas:

  • Expanding access to professional development opportunities for staff, faculty, and administrators on college campuses to provide them with the tools and resources needed to successfully work with formerly incarcerated students

  • Elevating the voices of justice-impacted student leaders so they can play a role in educating policymakers on the measures needed to support this student population

  • Research on best practices for higher education institutions to retain and provide support to formerly incarcerated students during this time of declining enrollments nationwide

  • Supporting soon-to-be released or recently released individuals with reentry services including:

      • transitional housing
      • employment
      • college transfer support for students who are enrolled in a postsecondary educational program while in prison.

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 15 business days 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

Programs Director

Danny Murillo

Danny Murillo

Smart Justice Fellow

Want to Learn More?

We hosted a webinar on November 3rd to provide an overview of the Spark Grant program. It highlighted past awardees and also provided updates regarding our Smart Justice round.