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Kauffman Inclusion Open - FAQ

Kauffman Inclusion Open

Inclusion Open RFP Office Hours

Kauffman Senior Program Officers Rachel Carlton and Christopher Harris with moderator Murray Woodard address questions about the Kauffman Inclusion Open Request for Proposals application, qualification criteria and related issues during a Facebook Live broadcast that aired April 26. Click here to view the video on Facebook, as well as read viewers questions and Rachel and Chris’ answers.

Q: When will awards be announced?
A: The RFP will open in April 2017, progress through three rounds of reviews to narrow the field to leading candidates, and culminate in award decisions in the third quarter of 2017. Reviews will be conducted by Kauffman Foundation associates and leadership.

Inclusion Open Schedule
April 18                      Round One Applications Open
May 2                         Round One Applications Deadline @ 5:00 p.m. Central Time
May 23                       Round One Applicants will be notified if they are advancing as semifinalists
                                    Round Two Applications Open for semifinalists
June 9                        Round Two Applications Deadline @ 11:59 p.m. Central Time
Summer 2017          Finalists vetted
Fall 2017                   Awardees determined & announced
Q4 2017                    First grant payments made

Q: How many grants will be awarded?
A: Inclusion Open grants could total up to $7 million in awards ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 each paid over two years to organizations operating in the United States.

Q: Will the Kauffman Foundation consider one-year grants?
A: Yes. Please specify whether your proposal is intended to be a one-year or two-year grant.
Q: What are the selection criteria?
A: Ideal candidates for the Kauffman Inclusion Open would meet the following criteria:
  • Demonstrate how the work of their organizations fits into the landscape of barriers (direct, contributing and social) that limit the ability of diverse entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses
  • Propose a bold approach to solving direct, contributing and social barriers for diverse entrepreneurs
  • Present a feasible, well-conceived plan for helping entrepreneurs, addressing persistent barriers and contributing knowledge to the field
  • Have achieved, or aspire to achieve, entrepreneurial diversity that reflects their communities and articulate a feasible plan to do so
  • Demonstrate the application of design thinking in program development or other effective ways of building empathy and practicing entrepreneur-centric design

Q: What types of organizations are eligible to apply?
A: Organizations exempt from taxes under sections 501c3 or 115(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, as well as 501c6 organizations and/or for-profit entities. Any for-profit organization wishing to apply must clearly articulate the charitable purpose of its proposal, and the Foundation will conduct a review of the proposed charitable purpose.
The Foundation anticipates this portfolio of grantees will mostly consist of traditional Entrepreneurship Support Organizations (ESOs), though we also intend to potentially fund organizations that may not readily identify as ESOs. These organizations could be non-profits working in fields in which Kauffman has not typically been active, but have a logical connection to the experience of entrepreneurs. These organizations also could be for-profit entities, governmental agencies or membership organizations that have developed an effective way to remove barriers for entrepreneurs.
Q: What are your goals for this program?
A: We have several goals for this program:
  • Reduce direct, contributing and social barriers to entrepreneurship for diverse populations and underserved markets
  • Collaborate with leading organizations to continue developing our ability to identify market gaps, intervene to reduce barriers and disseminate lessons learned
  • Build a community of practice focused on leveling the playing field for diverse entrepreneurs
  • Encourage the field of entrepreneurship support to consider interventions beyond the traditional founder education offerings and to use human-centered design to more effectively understand and serve the needs of entrepreneurs
  • Surface uncommon ideas with potential scalable impact that could be considered for larger investments
Q: Does the Kauffman Foundation fund indirect costs?
A: No. The Program Officer team will work with leading candidates to review the proposed costs.
Q: Will the grants focus on a particular industry or stage of entrepreneur?
A: No. We intend to support diverse entrepreneurs at all stages and in all industries.
Q: Can you clarify your definition of “diverse” entrepreneurs?
A: Diversity in this RFP includes, but is not limited to, gender, race, age, geography, disability, sexual orientation and those who are part of specialized groups, such as veterans and displaced workers.

Q: Does the Kauffman Foundation require letters of support for a grant application?
A: No.
Q: Is it acceptable to have funding partners for a proposal other than the Kauffman Foundation?
A: Yes. The Kauffman Foundation may ask additional questions about funding partners to confirm that the funding has been secured.
Q: How do I contact the Kauffman Foundation with questions regarding this funding opportunity?
A: First, please watch the Inclusion Open office hours with Kauffman Senior Program Officers Rachel Carlton and Christopher Harris with moderator Murray Woodard where they address questions about the Kauffman Inclusion Open Request for Proposals application, qualification criteria and related issues during a Facebook Live broadcast. The video is embedded at the top of this page or you can view it on the Kauffman Eship Facebook event page.

Questions may also be emailed to Due to the volume of applications, Kauffman program officers will not be able to participate in 1:1 meetings.