Michelson Spark Grants

The Open Educational Resources (OER) Spark Grants funding cycle will be open for grant proposals from February 26th – March 11th.  A downloadable letter of interest and application are available.

View the Informational Webinar

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 one week of when our call for proposals close. Grants will be awarded within six weeks of the call for proposals closing.

Baseline Grant Criteria

  • We will be awarding grants up to $25,000 to nonprofits and educational institutions whose projects hit one of the focus areas outlined below.
  • We will not  fund 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.
  • For this funding cycle, while most of our focus areas are dedicated to California, there are limited opportunities for projects with a more national focus.
  • We welcome proposals where Michelson Spark Grant funds are part of a larger overall project with multiple funding streams.

OER Funding Cycle Focus Areas

California:

  • Support the implementation of California’s historic investment in the Zero Textbook Cost degree program in the California Community College (CCC) system with a focus on capacity building, professional development, and scaling OER marketing.
  • Support the development of and/or the rollout of OER programs throughout the University of California (UC) system with a focus on capacity building, professional development, student advocacy, and OER marketing.
  • Mobilize student and/or faculty participation in passing OER policies at the UC, CCC, and/or California State University (CSU) systems.

National:

  • Execute public education campaigns targeting media outlets with national, broad reaching readership to educate college and university administrators, policy makers, and the broader public on course material affordability issues within higher education, with a focus on California. Preference will be given to projects that target media outlets whose  focus is beyond education.
  • Research and public education around automatic textbook billing, with an emphasis on student experience and consumer protection for policy makers. We are particularly interested in research on the prevalence, types, and impact of automatic textbook billing that is occurring within the three California public higher education systems.
  • Investigate how coursemarking and course material price transparency impact student behavior and/or student success. With multiple models of coursemarking, including zero textbook cost and ranges in low textbook costs, we are interested in understanding how students navigate these models and how it impacts the decisions they make.
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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

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

Cailyn Nagle

Cailyn Nagle

Program Manager, OER

Past Spark Grant Recipients

spark grant hero image

Want to Learn More?

On February 14th, members of the grant committee hosted an informational webinar on the funding cycle, focus areas, and Spark Grants process.