2021 Heartland Challenge
Opens Feb 10 2021 12:00 AM (GMT)
Deadline Mar 10 2021 11:59 PM (GMT)
Description

STRATEGIC GOAL 

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Entrepreneur Support Organization Strategy focuses on growing and strengthening entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) in the Heartland region and working to address systemic challenges that affect entrepreneurs’ ability to start and grow businesses.

CONTEXT & FUNDING OPPORTUNITY

The 2021 Heartland Challenge Request for Proposal (RFP) funds programs, projects, and initiatives that build on the assets of community to support business owners and founders, especially those that are underrepresented in the entrepreneurship landscape, located in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. 

Now, more than ever, Heartland business owners and founders are fighting to survive. A global pandemic coupled with existing systemic inequities are suffocating our local economies.  According to this Trends in Entrepreneurship Brief, we know that inclusion based on race, ethnicity, gender, income, or other factors is a challenge cited by 18% of Heartland entrepreneurs. This is higher than the national average. This data point affirms the barriers that Heartland entrepreneurs are navigating every day. We need the collaboration of a broad spectrum of organizations and many community-based leaders to co-create programs and interventions that support small and startup businesses. In short, when small businesses thrive, our community thrives.

The Heartland Challenge RFP is intended to support organizations, programs, and projects that build on the assets of communities to support business owners and founders, especially those that are underrepresented in the entrepreneurship landscape. This three-year grantmaking initiative has up to $1.5 million in funding available and is focused on soliciting proposals that demonstrate or meet the intended objectives of this program. 

  • Propose a bold approach to support the success of entrepreneurs, especially focusing on founders and business owners at the intersection(s) of race, culture, gender identity, and geography. 
  • Present a feasible, well-conceived plan for supporting entrepreneurs, addressing barriers to success, and contributing knowledge to the field. 
  • Aspire to achieve an entrepreneurial environment that reflects your community. 
  • Creating an entrepreneurial environment that adds to the economic vibrancy of the larger community. 

We are interested in but not limited to projects that focus on rural revitalization, innovation, and equitable entrepreneurship. Some examples of previously funded projects that fit into these categories can be found here.

BUDGET & AWARDS

Applicants may request funding for up to $300,000 to be distributed over a three-year period ($100,000/year). Applicants should submit a project budget that aligns with the scope of the project, supports proposed activities, and clearly connects those activities with line-item requests.

ELIGIBILITY & RESTRICTIONS

Eligibility

This call is open to nonprofits and fiscally sponsored programs, projects, and organizations that provide direct support, investment, services and other resources to entrepreneurs. 

Additionally, eligible applicants must meet all the following criteria:

  • Organization is headquartered and program implementation is located in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and/or Kansas.
  • Successfully demonstrate how the organization, leadership and/or program effectively and thoughtfully serves underrepresented entrepreneurs and engages them in the activities outlined above.
  • Employ staff and leadership (including board members) that are reflective of the communities they serve.  
  • Speak to the  sustainability of the program after Kauffman funding has ended or propose a one-time programmatic intervention with lasting effects

Restrictions

We will not consider funding for:

  • University indirect/overhead costs or other organizational costs unrelated to delivery of the program.
  • More than one application per organization (only one proposal per organization is allowed).

RFP TIMELINE

  • RFP Phase 1 Opens: February 10, 2021
  • Facebook Live Information Session: February 22, 2021 from 12-1 p.m. CST *date and time change due to rolling blackouts
  • Application Due: March 10, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. CST
  • Award Notification for Phase 2: April 7, 2021
  • Grant Awards Notification: June 30, 2021

HOW TO APPLY

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.

RFP Elements Stage 1:

Applicants will be asked to provide the following through Survey Monkey:

Project Beneficiaries and Need: Information regarding community need, the target populations they are hoping to serve, 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.

Below is a set of additional questions applicants will be expected to complete:

  • In 300 words or less, describe how your organization and/or program applies and operationalizes a diversity, equity and inclusion perspective and philosophy.
  • In 300 words or less, describe how you know your program is working. How do you define and measure success of the program/initiative you are requesting funding for?
  • In 300 words or less, speak to how your program helps build the agency, capacity, resources, and access of participants so they can, in the future, actualize their goals for themselves without the direct support of this project. 
  • In 300 words or less, describe your relationship with other organizations in your local entrepreneur[KS3] environment. How do you collaborate with them yet ensure there is no duplication of services? 

Here is a complete list of questions for stage 1. 

RFP Elements Stage 2:

If selected to advance to the second phase 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: In addition to providing a Kauffman-specific 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 draft up to two outputs and two associated outcome metrics. As a reminder, outputs are the activities, products, or services that your organization will undertake/provide as part of the grant, and the associated outcomes are the changes that you will see as a result of these outputs.

Prospective Applicant Support

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

Facebook Live for prospective applicants 3-4 p.m. CST, February 16, 2021: Join Kauffman associates and fellow grant seekers in a live session to learn more about this opportunity. 

REVIEW PROCESS

All submissions are reviewed by internal staff. The review process for this RFP will take approximately five months from the application deadline date.

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

  • Strategic Alignment
  • Demonstrated Need
  • Evidence of Approach
  • Leadership and Team Experience
  • Community Representation
  • Budget and Timeline

REPORTING & EVALUTION EXPECTATIONS OF GRANTEES:

As a guiding principle, the Kauffman Foundation expects only one grant report every 12 months. However, as a steward of the Foundation’s assets, occasionally we will institute more frequent reporting requirements if the organization has a short operating history, limited financial assets, complicated organizational structure, expenditure responsibility requirement, or the project is experimental or complex in nature.

Finalists will work collaboratively with their assigned program officer and Kauffman evaluation team to develop a set of grant metrics that are specific to your proposal. 

All of this portfolio’s grantee are required to report on the number of entrepreneurs served, disaggregated by race, ethnicity and gender identity

Additionally, grantees will be asked to report on one of the two following metrics:

  • The number of businesses started 
  • The number of businesses that grew their revenue including securing different forms of capital

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.

TERMS & CONDITIONS:

Please review the following Terms & Conditions that guide the Foundation’s grantmaking and request for proposal processes.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: 

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, we will be hosting a Facebook Live from 3-4 p.m.  February 16.and will respond to submitted questions then.

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

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

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. No exceptions will be made for any reason, including technical challenges on the day of the deadline.

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 to non-charitable organizations in rare circumstances. 

Apply

2021 Heartland Challenge


STRATEGIC GOAL 

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Entrepreneur Support Organization Strategy focuses on growing and strengthening entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) in the Heartland region and working to address systemic challenges that affect entrepreneurs’ ability to start and grow businesses.

CONTEXT & FUNDING OPPORTUNITY

The 2021 Heartland Challenge Request for Proposal (RFP) funds programs, projects, and initiatives that build on the assets of community to support business owners and founders, especially those that are underrepresented in the entrepreneurship landscape, located in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. 

Now, more than ever, Heartland business owners and founders are fighting to survive. A global pandemic coupled with existing systemic inequities are suffocating our local economies.  According to this Trends in Entrepreneurship Brief, we know that inclusion based on race, ethnicity, gender, income, or other factors is a challenge cited by 18% of Heartland entrepreneurs. This is higher than the national average. This data point affirms the barriers that Heartland entrepreneurs are navigating every day. We need the collaboration of a broad spectrum of organizations and many community-based leaders to co-create programs and interventions that support small and startup businesses. In short, when small businesses thrive, our community thrives.

The Heartland Challenge RFP is intended to support organizations, programs, and projects that build on the assets of communities to support business owners and founders, especially those that are underrepresented in the entrepreneurship landscape. This three-year grantmaking initiative has up to $1.5 million in funding available and is focused on soliciting proposals that demonstrate or meet the intended objectives of this program. 

  • Propose a bold approach to support the success of entrepreneurs, especially focusing on founders and business owners at the intersection(s) of race, culture, gender identity, and geography. 
  • Present a feasible, well-conceived plan for supporting entrepreneurs, addressing barriers to success, and contributing knowledge to the field. 
  • Aspire to achieve an entrepreneurial environment that reflects your community. 
  • Creating an entrepreneurial environment that adds to the economic vibrancy of the larger community. 

We are interested in but not limited to projects that focus on rural revitalization, innovation, and equitable entrepreneurship. Some examples of previously funded projects that fit into these categories can be found here.

BUDGET & AWARDS

Applicants may request funding for up to $300,000 to be distributed over a three-year period ($100,000/year). Applicants should submit a project budget that aligns with the scope of the project, supports proposed activities, and clearly connects those activities with line-item requests.

ELIGIBILITY & RESTRICTIONS

Eligibility

This call is open to nonprofits and fiscally sponsored programs, projects, and organizations that provide direct support, investment, services and other resources to entrepreneurs. 

Additionally, eligible applicants must meet all the following criteria:

  • Organization is headquartered and program implementation is located in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and/or Kansas.
  • Successfully demonstrate how the organization, leadership and/or program effectively and thoughtfully serves underrepresented entrepreneurs and engages them in the activities outlined above.
  • Employ staff and leadership (including board members) that are reflective of the communities they serve.  
  • Speak to the  sustainability of the program after Kauffman funding has ended or propose a one-time programmatic intervention with lasting effects

Restrictions

We will not consider funding for:

  • University indirect/overhead costs or other organizational costs unrelated to delivery of the program.
  • More than one application per organization (only one proposal per organization is allowed).

RFP TIMELINE

  • RFP Phase 1 Opens: February 10, 2021
  • Facebook Live Information Session: February 22, 2021 from 12-1 p.m. CST *date and time change due to rolling blackouts
  • Application Due: March 10, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. CST
  • Award Notification for Phase 2: April 7, 2021
  • Grant Awards Notification: June 30, 2021

HOW TO APPLY

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.

RFP Elements Stage 1:

Applicants will be asked to provide the following through Survey Monkey:

Project Beneficiaries and Need: Information regarding community need, the target populations they are hoping to serve, 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.

Below is a set of additional questions applicants will be expected to complete:

  • In 300 words or less, describe how your organization and/or program applies and operationalizes a diversity, equity and inclusion perspective and philosophy.
  • In 300 words or less, describe how you know your program is working. How do you define and measure success of the program/initiative you are requesting funding for?
  • In 300 words or less, speak to how your program helps build the agency, capacity, resources, and access of participants so they can, in the future, actualize their goals for themselves without the direct support of this project. 
  • In 300 words or less, describe your relationship with other organizations in your local entrepreneur[KS3] environment. How do you collaborate with them yet ensure there is no duplication of services? 

Here is a complete list of questions for stage 1. 

RFP Elements Stage 2:

If selected to advance to the second phase 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: In addition to providing a Kauffman-specific 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 draft up to two outputs and two associated outcome metrics. As a reminder, outputs are the activities, products, or services that your organization will undertake/provide as part of the grant, and the associated outcomes are the changes that you will see as a result of these outputs.

Prospective Applicant Support

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

Facebook Live for prospective applicants 3-4 p.m. CST, February 16, 2021: Join Kauffman associates and fellow grant seekers in a live session to learn more about this opportunity. 

REVIEW PROCESS

All submissions are reviewed by internal staff. The review process for this RFP will take approximately five months from the application deadline date.

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

  • Strategic Alignment
  • Demonstrated Need
  • Evidence of Approach
  • Leadership and Team Experience
  • Community Representation
  • Budget and Timeline

REPORTING & EVALUTION EXPECTATIONS OF GRANTEES:

As a guiding principle, the Kauffman Foundation expects only one grant report every 12 months. However, as a steward of the Foundation’s assets, occasionally we will institute more frequent reporting requirements if the organization has a short operating history, limited financial assets, complicated organizational structure, expenditure responsibility requirement, or the project is experimental or complex in nature.

Finalists will work collaboratively with their assigned program officer and Kauffman evaluation team to develop a set of grant metrics that are specific to your proposal. 

All of this portfolio’s grantee are required to report on the number of entrepreneurs served, disaggregated by race, ethnicity and gender identity

Additionally, grantees will be asked to report on one of the two following metrics:

  • The number of businesses started 
  • The number of businesses that grew their revenue including securing different forms of capital

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.

TERMS & CONDITIONS:

Please review the following Terms & Conditions that guide the Foundation’s grantmaking and request for proposal processes.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: 

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, we will be hosting a Facebook Live from 3-4 p.m.  February 16.and will respond to submitted questions then.

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

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

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. No exceptions will be made for any reason, including technical challenges on the day of the deadline.

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 to non-charitable organizations in rare circumstances. 

Apply
Opens
Feb 10 2021 12:00 AM (GMT)
Deadline
Mar 10 2021 11:59 PM (GMT)