A program of the Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund
The Vision Grants Program is no longer accepting applications. Information about grantees will be shared in the near future. Please visit www.delcf.org/grants for information about other grant opportunities.
Vision Grants Program Goals
The Strategic Response Fund’s Vision Grants Program seeks to invest in innovative solutions across a variety of topic areas that address the emerging and evolving needs arising from or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the full impact of COVID-19 is yet to be seen, we know the challenges include high rates of unemployment, stresses on our healthcare system, a difficult small business environment, and diminished government and philanthropic dollars. Nonprofit and social sector organizations must rethink and reimagine how to be effective, equitable, and sustainable in providing services and programs. Communities will be best served if leaders respond to the challenges that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic by creating innovative solutions such as, but not limited to organizational efficiencies, improved service delivery models and frameworks, robust partnerships and collaborations, and enhanced use of technology.
Vision Grant proposals should:
- Present bold solutions.
- Envision innovative ways of delivering services and programs.
- Address specific social problems.
- Include key partners.
- Drive broader social or systems changes.
The goal of the Vision Grants Program is to improve service to Delaware communities by helping organizations:
- Institute innovative approaches to address systemic issues that impact Delaware and that no one organization could solve independently. This could include for-profit/nonprofit joint ventures, public-private partnerships, coordination in a geographic area, and/or issue-area collaborations.
- Reposition and/or integrate services across multiple agencies where current operating models no longer fit or can be improved, creating catalytic impact on the partners’ capacity, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and financial health.
- Merge in cases in which two or more organizations can increase effectiveness, sustainability and better serve their constituencies by joining together than remaining separate.
The Strategic Response Fund Vision Grants Program seeks applications for innovative solutions to emerging and evolving needs arising from or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Applications submitted to the Strategic Response Vision Grants program should identify investable strategies to strengthen the participating organizations’ ability to serve the community.
Applications will be evaluated based upon specific criteria, which will be defined in a rubric. (The initial LOI may be less detailed.) Successful applications will:
- Be high-impact and outcomes-oriented, indicating how the client(s) or community will benefit.
- Be collaborative, in which two or more organizations align, join forces, consolidate, and/or leverage strategic alliances to better fulfill their missions (for-profit, government and nonprofit entities are eligible in this initiative). The Strategic Response Fund is not likely to invest in proposals that only involve one organization (e.g., internal reorganization/repositioning) or any short-term activity (e.g., partnering to organize a conference).
- Demonstrate how they will significantly improve measurable efficiency, quality, and effectiveness of systems/delivery models.
- Present innovative, systems or sector-changing initiatives.
- Define measurable outcomes and accountability for the expected improvements.
- Have approval of boards of each organization.
- Have a lead organization with proven leadership, and a good governance plan that describes the organizations’ capacity to undertake the initiative.
- Depending on stage of execution, feature viable, thoughtful pre-planning and research, demonstrated in a well-conceived scope of work, realistic budget and business plan for implementation (if at appropriate stage of execution) that can be measured over time; OR define a concept that has merit that can be developed into an executable program/project.
- Define opportunities for sustained, long-term impact among partners and/or the community, including a sustainable funding model beyond the seed investment requested from the Strategic Response Fund.
- Define how the Strategic Response Fund can play a catalytic role in the process.
- Where possible, be supported by evidence-based success stories and national best practices.
- Define opportunities and potential for serving as a model for other nonprofits and funders.
Stages of Execution
Strategic Fund Vision Grants will be awarded to applications in three stages of execution: Discovery, Planning and Implementation. Applicants should identify and apply in one of these categories.
Ultimately, we aim to create a pipeline. I.e., if a project is awarded a Discovery Grant, we hope the work done under that grant to prepare the organizations to return to apply for a Planning Grant. Then, if awarded a Planning Grant, we hope the work done under the Planning Grant to prepare the grantee to return to apply for an Implementation Grant. NOTE: Grantees are not guaranteed that they will be awarded a grant in the next phase.
This table defines the status of the initiative, the type and amount of support available, and the expected outcome for applications in each phase.
|Initiative Status at Time of Application||The organization(s) has a big idea and needs help developing and communicating it.||The organizations have developed their idea and need help to create an implementation plan, complete with resource requirements, systems, legal, governance, and budget.||The organizations have a full implementation plan and need resources to implement.|
|Grant Support Available||Council will fund a designated amount of consulting time with the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement (DANA) to help the organizations develop and communicate the big idea. |
Estimated value: $2,500-$5,000
|Council will fund a consultant to help the organizations develop a full plan. |
Estimated value: $5,000-25,000
|Council will provide seed funding and host presentation to Funder Panel. Estimated value:|
Will vary depending on initiative.
The goal is to secure full funding for implementation from the Vision Grants program and other funders.
|Expected Outcome/Goal||Two- to three-page scope of work. This investment should prepare the grantee to apply for a Vision Grant at the Planning stage.||Complete implementation plan. This investment should prepare the grantee to apply for a Vision Grant at the Implementation stage.||Successful implementation of plan and, over time, achievement of measurable outcomes.|
- An LOI and application must be submitted by a “Lead Organization” that will serve as the grantee for the initiative.
- The Lead Organization must be a 501c3 public charity, regligious organization or government agency. Private and/or for-profit entities and agencies of other statuses may be partners, but they cannot serve as the Lead Organization.
- A Lead Organization must only submit one Letter of Intent (LOI) or application in a single phase of execution in a single cycle. An organization may submit LOIs/applications in different phases in a single cycle. E.g., an organization may submit one application in the Discovery phase and another application in the Planning phase in the same cycle.
Additional Requirements for Applications in the “Implementation” Stage of Execution
Applications (not LOIs) for grants in the Implementation stage of execution must include:
- Written approval from the board of each partner organization.
- A written plan detailing:
- Scope of project
- Governance plan, including clearly defined leadership and accountability.
Ineligible Use of Funds
The Vision Grants program does not fund:
- Ongoing staffing, programmatic, operational, or capital costs of the organization(s).
- Program-level only collaboration that does not involve a fundamental shift in organizational service models. (e.g., a nonprofit that provides afterschool programming that works with a school is not likely to be awarded a Vision Grant.)
- Grants directly to individuals.
- Political campaigns or lobbying activities.
- Proposals that exclusively serve religious purposes, although religious organizations providing non-religious community services will be considered.
- Capital expenses, unless they are key part of the transformative initiative.
- Previously incurred expenses.
Please email questions to Sarah Grunewald.