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J.M.K. Innovation Prize

Grants to USA Nonprofits and For-Profits
to Address Environmental and Social Needs

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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J. M. Kaplan Fund

Deadline Date:



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Grants to USA nonprofit and for-profit organizations for innovative solutions for a wide variety of environmental and social challenges. Programs must align with the following three focus areas: the environment, heritage conservation, and social justice.

To date, the Prize has funded twenty wildly creative solutions to social and environmental challenges, ranging from high-tech efforts to restore imperiled coral reefs, to the nation’s first farm labor trust. Each awardee takes a visionary approach to a societal need, working within one or more of the Fund’s three program areas:

- The Environment: Protecting natural resources and reducing the impacts of climate change.
- Heritage Conservation: Conserving the places that communities care about most.
- Social Justice: Supporting just alternatives and reforms to the criminal justice and immigration systems.

Tailored for Early-Stage Social Entrepreneurs:
There is a scarcity of funding for untested ideas being piloted in the social innovation field. The Prize is designed to fill this gap in innovation philanthropy, supporting ideas that other funders may deem too risky or too small. Also, early-stage innovators need the freedom to seize opportunities when and where they arise. The Prize’s unrestricted funding offers this flexibility, letting awardees deploy resources where they are most needed, whether investing in core projects, hiring staff, or just keeping the lights on.

An Innovation Community:
Beyond the cash award, the Innovation Prize provides tools to help turn ideas into action. Over the three-year Prize term, the Fund brings awardees together for two convenings each year. Each of these meetings, spotlighting a different awardee’s organization, offers opportunities for peer learning and mentoring from experts in organizational development, board cultivation, media coaching, leadership training, and more.

The Prize will be awarded to projects or ideas that:
- Represent a game-changing answer to a clearly identified need;
- Are innovative within one or more of the Fund’s three program areas;
- Demonstrate the potential to develop an actionable pilot or prototype with Prize funding; and
- Hold out the promise to benefit multiple individuals, communities, or sectors through a clearly articulated theory of change.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 154397

Number of Grants:

Up to 10 prizes will be awarded.

Estimated Size of Grant:

A cash award of $150,000 over three years, plus $25,000 for project expenses, for a total award of $175,000.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Individuals or teams representing non-profit or for-profit organizations are eligible to apply for the 2019 J.M.K. Innovation Prize.

Pre-Application Information:

Application for the 2019 J.M.K. Innovation Prize is a two-step process.

- A first-round application will be made available on the website on January 29 and will be open until April 30.

- Select applicants will be invited to submit a more detailed second-round application in late spring.

- Finalists will be invited to New York City in the fall to present their ideas to the trustees of The J.M. Kaplan Fund. Awardees will be formally announced in November 2019.

View an Informational Webinar:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To apply online:

71 West 23rd Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10010

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming