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Michelson Spark Grants

Our Open Education Resources (OER) funding cycle will run from Tuesday, May 17th, to Wednesday, June 1st.

Copies of our letter of interest and full application are available prior to our call for proposals opening. 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 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.

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.
  • We will not be funding initiatives that primarily seek to develop OER content during this Michelson Spark Grant cycle. While we realize there is a tremendous desire from faculty for this type of support, we are leveraging our funding to effect broader systemic change at this time.

OER Funding Cycle Focus Areas:

    •  
  • Research the current gaps in understanding the scope and size of automatic textbook billing in California;
  • Support the implementation of California’s historic investment in the Zero Textbook Cost program in the California Community College system;
  • Execute public education campaigns targeting media outlets with national broad reaching readership to educate policy makers and the broader public on course material affordability issues within higher education;
  • Analyze the collection and use of students’ data within courseware and digital textbooks;
  • Research that identify the impacts open educational resources have on student outcomes, including retention and success.

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

Programs Director

Cailyn Nagle

Cailyn Nagle

Program Manager

Want to Learn More?

On May 5th, we hosted an informational webinar concerning the Spark Grant program, which also highlighted past awardees and provided updates regarding the OER cycle.