2020 Heartland Challenge
Opens Feb 20 2020 12:00 AM (CST)
Deadline Mar 9 2020 11:59 PM (CDT)
Description

STRATEGIC GOAL  

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Support Organization Strategy focuses on growing support capacity for entrepreneurship in the four states of the Heartland region (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas).  We do this through grant making, convening peer learning communities of practice and building the capacity of entrepreneur support organizations in the Heartland region.

CONTEXT & OPPORTUNITY

The 2020 Heartland Challenge Request for Proposals funds entrepreneurship support organizations located in the Heartland region to pilot solutions for specific challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas.  

The Heartland Challenge RFP is intended to support the planning and implementation of programs to solve challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the Heartland region. This grantmaking initiative has up to $1.5 million in funding available to organizations headquartered in the Heartland and who serve primarily entrepreneurs located in those four states.  The Heartland Challenge is soliciting proposals that support pilot or existing solutions to one of three specific Challenges:

Challenge 1: Co-creating objective, milestone-based entrepreneurship training programs to mitigate the impact of implicit bias faced by entrepreneurs from communities systemically left behind.

Challenge 2:  Addressing rural business transfer opportunities by providing education on models of shared business ownership, including business cooperatives.

Challenge 3: Building cross-university programs that increase knowledge related to securing research and development funding, and commercializing available technology in order to start new businesses.

Read on for more detailed information about each Challenge and the application process. Heartland Challenge grantees will be required to participate in Heartland Challenge Communities of Practice. By applying for the Heartland Challenge RFP, you are also applying for the associated Community of Practice. For more information about the COPs, please click here.

BUDGET & AWARDS

Applicants may request funding up to $100,000 over 12 months. While award amounts for individual projects will vary, we anticipate the average grant size to be $75,000. Applicants should submit a project budget that aligns with the scope of the project, supports proposed activities, and clearly connects those activities with budget line item requests. 

ELIGIBILITY & RESTRICTIONS

Eligibility

This call is open to nonprofit organizations with 501c3 or 501c6 designations, and higher education institutions with a track record of working with entrepreneurs to help them start and grow businesses. Applicants are limited to apply for one of the three Challenges outlined above, and encouraged to review specifics of the Challenge they are applying for.

Additionally, eligible applicants must meet all the following criteria:

  • They must be headquartered in the Heartland region (defined as the states of Missouri,Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas) and activities funded under this proposal are limited to supporting entrepreneurs in those four states.
  • Have a record of successfully helping entrepreneurs launch and grow businesses.
  • Have a record of serving entrepreneurs from communities systemically left behind and engaging them in the activities outlined above.
  • Employ staff and leadership (including board members) that are reflective of the communities they serve.
  • Commit to participate in the Community of Practice associated with their Challenge.

Restrictions

We will not consider funding for:

  • Non-program related indirect/overhead expenses associated with the ongoing operations of the organization, regardless of university overhead expense policies.
  • Organizations headquartered in locations other than the Heartland region (defined as Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas) and/or serving the majority of entrepreneurs in locations other than the Heartland region.
  • Funding for proposed project duration longer than 1 year.
  • More than one application per organization (you must pick only one Challenge to apply for).
  • Funding for projects other than one of the three Challenges outlined above.
  • Applications from for-profit companies.
  • Activities not allowed under our funding guidelines, as articulated in the application terms and conditions.

RFP TIMELINE

  • February 20, 2020 - RFP Opens
  • February 28, 2020 at 10 a.m. CST - Facebook live
  • March 9, 2020 - Round 1 applications due by 11:59 p.m. CST
  • April 6, 2020 - Semi-finalists notified via email
  • April 22, 2020 - Round 2 applications due by 11:59 p.m. CST
  • May 20, 2020 - Finalists notified
  • July 1, 2020 - Award notification
  • July 15, 2020 - Grants awarded

HOW TO APPLY

The application process will consist of two-stages. The first is a preliminary application and the second is your full proposal.  If you are advanced to the second stage, all your information from the first application will automatically transfer. Within each online form, there are detailed guidelines for each section. To help you prepare, an overview of the application elements that will be included in each stage is provided below.

PLEASE NOTE: Applications that are incomplete or do not contain all the required documentation will not be reviewed. Additionally, please review the RFP timeline carefully. Applicants should plan to submit materials well before each deadline as we will not accept late applications or applications submitted outside of the designated systems.

Round 1 Application Elements

In addition to organization and primary contact info, simple budget numbers, and drop-down categorizations of the proposal, applicants will be expected to complete a series of questions that are specific to this request for proposals. Below is an overview of the questions applicants will be expected to complete:

Project Beneficiaries and Need: Information regarding the local community need in your selected Challenge, the target population impacted by your project, and how these populations were involved in planning. 

Project Description: Information about the proposed project/program, including a project summary, start and end dates, detailed description, and the team’s implementation plan. 

Relevant Qualifications: Information on how your organization and staff are uniquely qualified to carry out the work described within your grant proposal.

Challenges and Mitigation: Information on one or more challenges an applicant thinks they may face in successfully completing the project, and how they plan to mitigate against those risks.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Information explaining your organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion philosophy and how it is implemented (currently or how you are planning to do so in the future). If you work with other organizations, please explain how you build equitable relationships within your collaborations.

Evaluation and Measurement: Information explaining what measurement and evaluation approaches your organization uses, including key indicators you track over time.

Commitment to Participating in the Community of Practice: Information detailing the applicant’s interest in actively contributing to their Challenge’s Community of Practice, and what they hope to learn from the Community. 

Prospective Applicant Support

Prospective applicants are encouraged to take advantage of the following opportunities for proposal support: 

Facebook Live for prospective applicants on February 28 at 10a.m. CSTYou can watch the Facebook Live or read the transcript.

Question Period from February 20 to March 4: Submit questions related to this RFP and the application process from February 20 to March 4. Responses to these questions will be posted to this site on March 5. Submit questions to heartlandchallenge@kauffman.org.

Round 2 Application Elements

If selected to advance to the second stage of the RFP process, applicants will receive user credentials to the Foundation’s online grants management system, Fluxx. Below is an overview of the proposal elements you’ll be expected to complete and/or upload as part of your full proposal:

Project Budget: Applicants will be asked to upload a detailed overall project budget (using our template) that includes both revenues and expenses, status of other funds (if applicable), and clearly connects budget lines to grant deliverables.

Organization Capacity & Financials: Information that will help us understand your organization’s capacity to manage the grant and overall financial health, this includes such things as your organization’s leadership/board, operating budget, financial statements, and most recent audit (if applicable).

Evaluation Metrics: Applicants will be expected to work with their assigned program officer to finalize up to 10 outputs and 10 associated outcome metrics. For more information about our approach to evaluation, please see our guide.

REVIEW PROCESS

Round 1 application submissions will be reviewed by internal Kauffman Foundation staff.  Those chosen as semi-finalists to submit a Round 2 application will be evaluated by the program officer and foundation leadership. The review process for this RFP will take approximately 4 months from the letter of interest deadline date.

Reviewers will rate and comment on the following aspects of your Round 1 application proposal:

Project Beneficiaries and Need: Is it clear that the applicant understands the local community need in your selected Challenge, the target population impacted by the proposed project?  Were proposed beneficiaries involved in planning for the project?  

Project Description: Is the proposed project well thought out?  Will it achieve its desired outcomes?  Are planning timelines reasonable and thorough? 

Relevant Qualifications: Are the proposed organization, staff and partners are qualified to carry out the proposed work?  What advantages towards successfully completing the project do they have that other applicants may not?

Challenges and Mitigation: Does the applicant identify potential challenges that might be faced by the project team?  Are the plans for mitigating those risks realistic?

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Do the proposed organization, staff and partners demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through their work and organizational operations? 

Evaluation and Measurement: Does that applicant demonstrate an ability to measure and evaluate the impact of their activities towards learning for future improvement? 

Commitment to Community of Practice: Does the individual who is applying to participate in the Community of Practice demonstrate a thoughtful interest in engaging in a peer learning community?

Additionally, for those selected as semi-finalists – reviewers will assess the full proposal against the following criteria:

Budget and Timeline: Is the budget adequate and reasonable for executing the activities described within the proposal?

Sustainability:  Is it possible for the project to sustain itself beyond the proposed timeline of the grant?

REPORTING & EVALUTION EXPECTATIONS OF GRANTEES:

Grants made under this Challenge will be required to report on the output and outcome metrics listed above.If selected as a finalist, you will work with the assigned program officer to establish the appropriate reporting and payment schedule. 

In 2020, the Foundation is piloting evaluation activities to better understand the direct impact on entrepreneurs by grantee organizations. We will ask all grantee organizations for their participation in this process.

INQUIRIES:

If you have questions about the goals or content of this RFP, please email heartlandchallenge@kauffman.org.

For applicants having problems with accessing or submitting the application, please reach out to the SurveyMonkey help desk here.

RESOURCES: 

RFP Executive Summary

Communities of Practice Information

TERMS & CONDITIONS:

Please review the following terms & conditions that guide the Foundation's grantmaking and request for proposal processes.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: 

APPLICATION LOGISTICS & HELP

I have a question about my submission, or I would like to talk to someone about my idea before submission, who do I call?

Due to the volume of prospective applicants, our staff will not be available for individual calls. However, you can watch the Facebook Live or read the transcript.

Will directly contacting Kauffman Foundation staff increase the likelihood that I am awarded a grant?

The purpose of a Request for Proposals is to ensure that all applicants have an equal chance to receive funds, and those who have personal or professional relationships with Foundation staff are not given preferential treatment.  We actively discourage applicants from contacting Kauffman Foundation staff with questions or information about their applications.  Questions can be answered through submitting and email, or question during the Facebook Live.  Instructions for accessing both are included in this document.

Where can I find definitions for terms you use in this RFP?

Heartland Challenge Glossary

Where can I find out more information about why you are running the Heartland Challenge RFP? 

More information about the background on this RFP can be found here.  

Where can I find out more information about the Communities of Practice?

More information about the background on this RFP can be found here.

I am having difficulty submitting my application, who do I reach out to?

For applicants having problems with accessing or submitting the application, please email heartlandchallenge@kauffman.org.

I haven’t heard back from the help desk and the deadline is tomorrow. What should I do?

The Foundation will not accept late submissions or applications submitted outside of the designated systems. Therefore, you should review the timeline carefully and plan to submit your application materials well before each deadline. If you find yourself in this situation, please email heartlandchallenge@kauffman.org and someone will respond as soon as possible.

Will we receive feedback on our applications?

Due to the volume of applicants, it is not possible for us to give individual feedback on grant applications.  If there are trends across applications, we will do our best to share those at one time with all applicants during the summer of 2020.

Will you make public the name of other applicants? 

At this time, we are not planning to do so. 

If my application is not successful, will there be other opportunities to apply for funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation?  

We are piloting a variety of funding mechanisms for entrepreneurship support organizations focused on helping entrepreneurs in the Heartland in 2020. We encourage you to subscribe to Kauffman's newsletter for an announcement when additional RFPs are open.  At this point, we anticipate the Heartland Challenge will run again in 2021, but are unable to make guarantees about the availability of funding.

ELIGIBILITY

We are a for-profit entity or membership organization. Can we apply for funding?

As a private foundation, the Kauffman Foundation can only provide funding for charitable activities. Therefore, we prefer to make grants to universities or 501(c)3 organizations.  However, if you are a 501(c)6, you are eligible to apply.  We will ask selected finalists to answer additional questions in order to determine the charitability of all proposed activities. For-profit organizations are not eligible to receive awards under this RFP.

My organization wants to submit two applications to the Heartland Challenge.  Is that allowed?

No. Given the limited budget and high number of anticipated applications, we are only accepting one application per organization or institution as the lead applicant.  If you want to partner with another organization or institution to submit additional applications with that other organization as the lead applicant, that is allowed.  We will review all applications together, and need to ensure your organization has the bandwidth to complete all funded activities, should you become involved in more than one project awarded grant funds.

We are an organization that is not headquartered in one of the four states and the majority of people we serve do not live in those four states.  Do we qualify for the Heartland Challenge?  

The purpose of this RFP is to increase the ability for organizations in the Heartland to solve problems faced by entrepreneurs in the Heartland.  We are only accepting applications from organizations headquartered in one of the four states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas, and who primarily serve individuals in those four states.

A separate funding mechanism will be available later in 2020 for national organizations looking to scale their programs some part(s) of the Heartland region. We encourage you to subscribe to Ideas at Work for an announcement when that RFP is open.

We are an organization that is not headquartered in one of the four states, however, the majority of people we serve live in those four states.  Do we qualify for the Heartland Challenge?  

The purpose of this RFP is to increase the ability for organizations in the Heartland to solve problems faced by entrepreneurs in the Heartland. We are only accepting applications from organizations headquartered in one of the four states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas, and who primarily serve individuals in those four states.

A separate funding mechanism will be available later in 2020 for national organizations looking to scale their programs some part(s) of the Heartland region. We encourage you to subscribe to Kauffman's newsletter for an announcement when that RFP is open.

I have an existing program that addresses one of the three challenges.  Can I still apply for funds to run that program?

The purpose of this RFP is to increase the ability for organizations in the Heartland to solve problems faced by entrepreneurs in the Heartland.  If you are proposing a modification to your program that will increase its effectiveness in helping entrepreneurs, we welcome to you apply to the Heartland Challenge.

If you are looking to scale your program in the four states, there will be separate funding mechanism available for that later in 2020.  We encourage you to subscribe to Kauffman's newsletter for an announcement when that RFP is open.

COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE

My organization is applying to the Heartland Challenge Request for Proposals, and there is more than one individual from my organization interested in applying to the Community of Practice.  How do we indicate that in this application?

For the purposes of the Request for Proposal application, please only indicate one person applying for the Community of Practice. Additional individuals can apply to the Community of Practice here.  Applications received through both systems will be considered equally.

I would like to apply to two Communities of Practice.  Is that allowed?

No.  Given limited budget and high number of anticipated applications, we are only accepting one application per person per Community of Practice.

If we are not selected to move on to Round 2 of the Heartland Challenge Request for Proposals can we will quality for to participate in that Challenge’s Community of Practice?

Yes.  If an application does not move to Round 2, the individual applying to the Community of Practice will be notified with additional specific instructions on how to move their application forward.  They will be required to answer three additional application questions, which can be found here.

If we are not selected to receive a grant under the Heartland Challenge Request for Proposals can we will quality for to participate in that Challenge’s Community of Practice?

Yes.  If an application is not selected for a grant, the individual applying to the Community of Practice will be notified with additional specific instructions on how to move their application forward.  They will be required to answer three additional application questions, which can be found here.

OTHER (Updated 3/5/2020)

When you say entrepreneur, who do you mean? 

We hold a broad definition of entrepreneurship in our work, and we know that “entrepreneurship” means different things to different people. Our definition of entrepreneurship includes tech startups, small businesses, brick and mortars, sole proprietors, side hustles, and everything in between. 

Are 501(c)(3) Private Operating Foundations eligible to apply as a 501(c)(3) or are you only seeking public charities?

Yes, 501c(3) Private Operating Foundations are eligible to apply. 

You say that you don’t fund overhead costs—what do you mean by that? 

As a rule, you must be able to draw a direct line to how any aspect of your budget furthers your programmatic work. We do not fund organizational overhead costs that are not associated with the project proposed (as are common in University grants). If your proposal is selected to move forward, your PO will work with you to ascertain which parts of your proposed budget are and are not permissible in Round 2. 

As a University, which tax classification box should we check?

As Universities are educational institutions and therefore it is presumed that your activities are charitable, please check the 501c(3) box.

Does my project timeline need to start or end on specific dates? 

No, there is no requirement that your project start or end on a specific date, as long as it lasts no longer than 12 months and begins before the end of 2020. 

By cross-university programs, do you mean programs that work with different departments within one university, or programs that work with multiple universities?

In this funding opportunity, we are looking specifically for programs that work between different universities or institutions. (For instance, KU and Mizzou—you will survive, we promise.) 

Will you please read this project description below and then indicate to me whether this proposal will win if I apply? 

No. 

Are there word limits to the questions for the Heartland Challenge application?

The following questions have 250 word limits: 

  • Organizational Information 
  • Demonstrated Need 
  • Target Beneficiaries 
  • Project Description
  • Implementation Plan
  • Relevant Qualifications
  • Challenges

2020 Heartland Challenge


STRATEGIC GOAL  

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Support Organization Strategy focuses on growing support capacity for entrepreneurship in the four states of the Heartland region (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas).  We do this through grant making, convening peer learning communities of practice and building the capacity of entrepreneur support organizations in the Heartland region.

CONTEXT & OPPORTUNITY

The 2020 Heartland Challenge Request for Proposals funds entrepreneurship support organizations located in the Heartland region to pilot solutions for specific challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas.  

The Heartland Challenge RFP is intended to support the planning and implementation of programs to solve challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the Heartland region. This grantmaking initiative has up to $1.5 million in funding available to organizations headquartered in the Heartland and who serve primarily entrepreneurs located in those four states.  The Heartland Challenge is soliciting proposals that support pilot or existing solutions to one of three specific Challenges:

Challenge 1: Co-creating objective, milestone-based entrepreneurship training programs to mitigate the impact of implicit bias faced by entrepreneurs from communities systemically left behind.

Challenge 2:  Addressing rural business transfer opportunities by providing education on models of shared business ownership, including business cooperatives.

Challenge 3: Building cross-university programs that increase knowledge related to securing research and development funding, and commercializing available technology in order to start new businesses.

Read on for more detailed information about each Challenge and the application process. Heartland Challenge grantees will be required to participate in Heartland Challenge Communities of Practice. By applying for the Heartland Challenge RFP, you are also applying for the associated Community of Practice. For more information about the COPs, please click here.

BUDGET & AWARDS

Applicants may request funding up to $100,000 over 12 months. While award amounts for individual projects will vary, we anticipate the average grant size to be $75,000. Applicants should submit a project budget that aligns with the scope of the project, supports proposed activities, and clearly connects those activities with budget line item requests. 

ELIGIBILITY & RESTRICTIONS

Eligibility

This call is open to nonprofit organizations with 501c3 or 501c6 designations, and higher education institutions with a track record of working with entrepreneurs to help them start and grow businesses. Applicants are limited to apply for one of the three Challenges outlined above, and encouraged to review specifics of the Challenge they are applying for.

Additionally, eligible applicants must meet all the following criteria:

  • They must be headquartered in the Heartland region (defined as the states of Missouri,Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas) and activities funded under this proposal are limited to supporting entrepreneurs in those four states.
  • Have a record of successfully helping entrepreneurs launch and grow businesses.
  • Have a record of serving entrepreneurs from communities systemically left behind and engaging them in the activities outlined above.
  • Employ staff and leadership (including board members) that are reflective of the communities they serve.
  • Commit to participate in the Community of Practice associated with their Challenge.

Restrictions

We will not consider funding for:

  • Non-program related indirect/overhead expenses associated with the ongoing operations of the organization, regardless of university overhead expense policies.
  • Organizations headquartered in locations other than the Heartland region (defined as Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas) and/or serving the majority of entrepreneurs in locations other than the Heartland region.
  • Funding for proposed project duration longer than 1 year.
  • More than one application per organization (you must pick only one Challenge to apply for).
  • Funding for projects other than one of the three Challenges outlined above.
  • Applications from for-profit companies.
  • Activities not allowed under our funding guidelines, as articulated in the application terms and conditions.

RFP TIMELINE

  • February 20, 2020 - RFP Opens
  • February 28, 2020 at 10 a.m. CST - Facebook live
  • March 9, 2020 - Round 1 applications due by 11:59 p.m. CST
  • April 6, 2020 - Semi-finalists notified via email
  • April 22, 2020 - Round 2 applications due by 11:59 p.m. CST
  • May 20, 2020 - Finalists notified
  • July 1, 2020 - Award notification
  • July 15, 2020 - Grants awarded

HOW TO APPLY

The application process will consist of two-stages. The first is a preliminary application and the second is your full proposal.  If you are advanced to the second stage, all your information from the first application will automatically transfer. Within each online form, there are detailed guidelines for each section. To help you prepare, an overview of the application elements that will be included in each stage is provided below.

PLEASE NOTE: Applications that are incomplete or do not contain all the required documentation will not be reviewed. Additionally, please review the RFP timeline carefully. Applicants should plan to submit materials well before each deadline as we will not accept late applications or applications submitted outside of the designated systems.

Round 1 Application Elements

In addition to organization and primary contact info, simple budget numbers, and drop-down categorizations of the proposal, applicants will be expected to complete a series of questions that are specific to this request for proposals. Below is an overview of the questions applicants will be expected to complete:

Project Beneficiaries and Need: Information regarding the local community need in your selected Challenge, the target population impacted by your project, and how these populations were involved in planning. 

Project Description: Information about the proposed project/program, including a project summary, start and end dates, detailed description, and the team’s implementation plan. 

Relevant Qualifications: Information on how your organization and staff are uniquely qualified to carry out the work described within your grant proposal.

Challenges and Mitigation: Information on one or more challenges an applicant thinks they may face in successfully completing the project, and how they plan to mitigate against those risks.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Information explaining your organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion philosophy and how it is implemented (currently or how you are planning to do so in the future). If you work with other organizations, please explain how you build equitable relationships within your collaborations.

Evaluation and Measurement: Information explaining what measurement and evaluation approaches your organization uses, including key indicators you track over time.

Commitment to Participating in the Community of Practice: Information detailing the applicant’s interest in actively contributing to their Challenge’s Community of Practice, and what they hope to learn from the Community. 

Prospective Applicant Support

Prospective applicants are encouraged to take advantage of the following opportunities for proposal support: 

Facebook Live for prospective applicants on February 28 at 10a.m. CSTYou can watch the Facebook Live or read the transcript.

Question Period from February 20 to March 4: Submit questions related to this RFP and the application process from February 20 to March 4. Responses to these questions will be posted to this site on March 5. Submit questions to heartlandchallenge@kauffman.org.

Round 2 Application Elements

If selected to advance to the second stage of the RFP process, applicants will receive user credentials to the Foundation’s online grants management system, Fluxx. Below is an overview of the proposal elements you’ll be expected to complete and/or upload as part of your full proposal:

Project Budget: Applicants will be asked to upload a detailed overall project budget (using our template) that includes both revenues and expenses, status of other funds (if applicable), and clearly connects budget lines to grant deliverables.

Organization Capacity & Financials: Information that will help us understand your organization’s capacity to manage the grant and overall financial health, this includes such things as your organization’s leadership/board, operating budget, financial statements, and most recent audit (if applicable).

Evaluation Metrics: Applicants will be expected to work with their assigned program officer to finalize up to 10 outputs and 10 associated outcome metrics. For more information about our approach to evaluation, please see our guide.

REVIEW PROCESS

Round 1 application submissions will be reviewed by internal Kauffman Foundation staff.  Those chosen as semi-finalists to submit a Round 2 application will be evaluated by the program officer and foundation leadership. The review process for this RFP will take approximately 4 months from the letter of interest deadline date.

Reviewers will rate and comment on the following aspects of your Round 1 application proposal:

Project Beneficiaries and Need: Is it clear that the applicant understands the local community need in your selected Challenge, the target population impacted by the proposed project?  Were proposed beneficiaries involved in planning for the project?  

Project Description: Is the proposed project well thought out?  Will it achieve its desired outcomes?  Are planning timelines reasonable and thorough? 

Relevant Qualifications: Are the proposed organization, staff and partners are qualified to carry out the proposed work?  What advantages towards successfully completing the project do they have that other applicants may not?

Challenges and Mitigation: Does the applicant identify potential challenges that might be faced by the project team?  Are the plans for mitigating those risks realistic?

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Do the proposed organization, staff and partners demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through their work and organizational operations? 

Evaluation and Measurement: Does that applicant demonstrate an ability to measure and evaluate the impact of their activities towards learning for future improvement? 

Commitment to Community of Practice: Does the individual who is applying to participate in the Community of Practice demonstrate a thoughtful interest in engaging in a peer learning community?

Additionally, for those selected as semi-finalists – reviewers will assess the full proposal against the following criteria:

Budget and Timeline: Is the budget adequate and reasonable for executing the activities described within the proposal?

Sustainability:  Is it possible for the project to sustain itself beyond the proposed timeline of the grant?

REPORTING & EVALUTION EXPECTATIONS OF GRANTEES:

Grants made under this Challenge will be required to report on the output and outcome metrics listed above.If selected as a finalist, you will work with the assigned program officer to establish the appropriate reporting and payment schedule. 

In 2020, the Foundation is piloting evaluation activities to better understand the direct impact on entrepreneurs by grantee organizations. We will ask all grantee organizations for their participation in this process.

INQUIRIES:

If you have questions about the goals or content of this RFP, please email heartlandchallenge@kauffman.org.

For applicants having problems with accessing or submitting the application, please reach out to the SurveyMonkey help desk here.

RESOURCES: 

RFP Executive Summary

Communities of Practice Information

TERMS & CONDITIONS:

Please review the following terms & conditions that guide the Foundation's grantmaking and request for proposal processes.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: 

APPLICATION LOGISTICS & HELP

I have a question about my submission, or I would like to talk to someone about my idea before submission, who do I call?

Due to the volume of prospective applicants, our staff will not be available for individual calls. However, you can watch the Facebook Live or read the transcript.

Will directly contacting Kauffman Foundation staff increase the likelihood that I am awarded a grant?

The purpose of a Request for Proposals is to ensure that all applicants have an equal chance to receive funds, and those who have personal or professional relationships with Foundation staff are not given preferential treatment.  We actively discourage applicants from contacting Kauffman Foundation staff with questions or information about their applications.  Questions can be answered through submitting and email, or question during the Facebook Live.  Instructions for accessing both are included in this document.

Where can I find definitions for terms you use in this RFP?

Heartland Challenge Glossary

Where can I find out more information about why you are running the Heartland Challenge RFP? 

More information about the background on this RFP can be found here.  

Where can I find out more information about the Communities of Practice?

More information about the background on this RFP can be found here.

I am having difficulty submitting my application, who do I reach out to?

For applicants having problems with accessing or submitting the application, please email heartlandchallenge@kauffman.org.

I haven’t heard back from the help desk and the deadline is tomorrow. What should I do?

The Foundation will not accept late submissions or applications submitted outside of the designated systems. Therefore, you should review the timeline carefully and plan to submit your application materials well before each deadline. If you find yourself in this situation, please email heartlandchallenge@kauffman.org and someone will respond as soon as possible.

Will we receive feedback on our applications?

Due to the volume of applicants, it is not possible for us to give individual feedback on grant applications.  If there are trends across applications, we will do our best to share those at one time with all applicants during the summer of 2020.

Will you make public the name of other applicants? 

At this time, we are not planning to do so. 

If my application is not successful, will there be other opportunities to apply for funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation?  

We are piloting a variety of funding mechanisms for entrepreneurship support organizations focused on helping entrepreneurs in the Heartland in 2020. We encourage you to subscribe to Kauffman's newsletter for an announcement when additional RFPs are open.  At this point, we anticipate the Heartland Challenge will run again in 2021, but are unable to make guarantees about the availability of funding.

ELIGIBILITY

We are a for-profit entity or membership organization. Can we apply for funding?

As a private foundation, the Kauffman Foundation can only provide funding for charitable activities. Therefore, we prefer to make grants to universities or 501(c)3 organizations.  However, if you are a 501(c)6, you are eligible to apply.  We will ask selected finalists to answer additional questions in order to determine the charitability of all proposed activities. For-profit organizations are not eligible to receive awards under this RFP.

My organization wants to submit two applications to the Heartland Challenge.  Is that allowed?

No. Given the limited budget and high number of anticipated applications, we are only accepting one application per organization or institution as the lead applicant.  If you want to partner with another organization or institution to submit additional applications with that other organization as the lead applicant, that is allowed.  We will review all applications together, and need to ensure your organization has the bandwidth to complete all funded activities, should you become involved in more than one project awarded grant funds.

We are an organization that is not headquartered in one of the four states and the majority of people we serve do not live in those four states.  Do we qualify for the Heartland Challenge?  

The purpose of this RFP is to increase the ability for organizations in the Heartland to solve problems faced by entrepreneurs in the Heartland.  We are only accepting applications from organizations headquartered in one of the four states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas, and who primarily serve individuals in those four states.

A separate funding mechanism will be available later in 2020 for national organizations looking to scale their programs some part(s) of the Heartland region. We encourage you to subscribe to Ideas at Work for an announcement when that RFP is open.

We are an organization that is not headquartered in one of the four states, however, the majority of people we serve live in those four states.  Do we qualify for the Heartland Challenge?  

The purpose of this RFP is to increase the ability for organizations in the Heartland to solve problems faced by entrepreneurs in the Heartland. We are only accepting applications from organizations headquartered in one of the four states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas, and who primarily serve individuals in those four states.

A separate funding mechanism will be available later in 2020 for national organizations looking to scale their programs some part(s) of the Heartland region. We encourage you to subscribe to Kauffman's newsletter for an announcement when that RFP is open.

I have an existing program that addresses one of the three challenges.  Can I still apply for funds to run that program?

The purpose of this RFP is to increase the ability for organizations in the Heartland to solve problems faced by entrepreneurs in the Heartland.  If you are proposing a modification to your program that will increase its effectiveness in helping entrepreneurs, we welcome to you apply to the Heartland Challenge.

If you are looking to scale your program in the four states, there will be separate funding mechanism available for that later in 2020.  We encourage you to subscribe to Kauffman's newsletter for an announcement when that RFP is open.

COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE

My organization is applying to the Heartland Challenge Request for Proposals, and there is more than one individual from my organization interested in applying to the Community of Practice.  How do we indicate that in this application?

For the purposes of the Request for Proposal application, please only indicate one person applying for the Community of Practice. Additional individuals can apply to the Community of Practice here.  Applications received through both systems will be considered equally.

I would like to apply to two Communities of Practice.  Is that allowed?

No.  Given limited budget and high number of anticipated applications, we are only accepting one application per person per Community of Practice.

If we are not selected to move on to Round 2 of the Heartland Challenge Request for Proposals can we will quality for to participate in that Challenge’s Community of Practice?

Yes.  If an application does not move to Round 2, the individual applying to the Community of Practice will be notified with additional specific instructions on how to move their application forward.  They will be required to answer three additional application questions, which can be found here.

If we are not selected to receive a grant under the Heartland Challenge Request for Proposals can we will quality for to participate in that Challenge’s Community of Practice?

Yes.  If an application is not selected for a grant, the individual applying to the Community of Practice will be notified with additional specific instructions on how to move their application forward.  They will be required to answer three additional application questions, which can be found here.

OTHER (Updated 3/5/2020)

When you say entrepreneur, who do you mean? 

We hold a broad definition of entrepreneurship in our work, and we know that “entrepreneurship” means different things to different people. Our definition of entrepreneurship includes tech startups, small businesses, brick and mortars, sole proprietors, side hustles, and everything in between. 

Are 501(c)(3) Private Operating Foundations eligible to apply as a 501(c)(3) or are you only seeking public charities?

Yes, 501c(3) Private Operating Foundations are eligible to apply. 

You say that you don’t fund overhead costs—what do you mean by that? 

As a rule, you must be able to draw a direct line to how any aspect of your budget furthers your programmatic work. We do not fund organizational overhead costs that are not associated with the project proposed (as are common in University grants). If your proposal is selected to move forward, your PO will work with you to ascertain which parts of your proposed budget are and are not permissible in Round 2. 

As a University, which tax classification box should we check?

As Universities are educational institutions and therefore it is presumed that your activities are charitable, please check the 501c(3) box.

Does my project timeline need to start or end on specific dates? 

No, there is no requirement that your project start or end on a specific date, as long as it lasts no longer than 12 months and begins before the end of 2020. 

By cross-university programs, do you mean programs that work with different departments within one university, or programs that work with multiple universities?

In this funding opportunity, we are looking specifically for programs that work between different universities or institutions. (For instance, KU and Mizzou—you will survive, we promise.) 

Will you please read this project description below and then indicate to me whether this proposal will win if I apply? 

No. 

Are there word limits to the questions for the Heartland Challenge application?

The following questions have 250 word limits: 

  • Organizational Information 
  • Demonstrated Need 
  • Target Beneficiaries 
  • Project Description
  • Implementation Plan
  • Relevant Qualifications
  • Challenges
Log in to apply
Opens
Feb 20 2020 12:00 AM (CST)
Deadline
Mar 9 2020 11:59 PM (CDT)