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Deadline: June 12, 2018

Rockefeller Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative: Communities Thrive Challenge

The Rockefeller Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, with guidance from community leaders across the country, have created the Communities Thrive Challenge, a funding opportunity that will support organizations that are working to expand economic opportunity for low-income and financially insecure people and communities in the United States. Through the Communities Thrive Challenge, the funders hope to:

  • Fund, strengthen, and scale community-driven approaches across the country that help low-income and financially insecure people find and retain well-paid and meaningful work, achieve financial security, or build economically vibrant neighborhoods. Ultimately, the hope is to uncover strategies that could narrow the opportunity gap in the U.S.
  • Lift up the stories of successful community efforts and share them with other funders, leaders, and the broader country. Strategies from small-to-midsize cities, rural communities, in both thriving and distressed areas are of particular interest; the Challenge also seeks organizations led by people who represent the communities they serve.
  • Learn directly from community leaders across the country about the ideas and needs that should influence long-term, larger-scale strategies to increase opportunity.

The Challenge is looking for nonprofit programs; businesses; organizing or advocacy models; technologies; economic development strategies, or other approaches that deliver significant and consistent results in any of the following areas:

  • Better work: Improving job quality, pay, and worker benefits, and creating new, well-paying jobs for low-income or otherwise marginalized workers in a rapidly changing economy and labor market. Indicators of success might include: income and number of jobs that pay a living wage and provide benefits.
  • Skills development and opportunity matching: Connecting low-income people with work and the skills necessary to succeed in a changing labor market, possibly through additional skill development, building career pathways from low-wage to higher-paying jobs, or identifying financing solutions to support the development of new skills and job transitions. Indicators of success might include: job placement, retention and promotion, or training program accessibility and completion.
  • Financial security: Enabling underserved and financially insecure workers and their families to better manage unanticipated changes in their income and expenses without experiencing periods of deeper poverty or being forced to rely on predatory debt. This could involve a range of approaches, including improving the design or delivery of social services. Indicators of success might include: financial stability, wealth building, decreased and manageable debt, improved credit scores, access to safety nets or emergency cash.
  • Economically vibrant communities: Building neighborhoods, cities, or towns that foster economic stability and mobility for residents who have historically been excluded or marginalized, and ensuring that their neighborhoods benefit from a region’s economic growth and vibrancy. Indicators of success might include: access to core services, such as child care and responsible financial institutions, a reasonable, affordable commute to gainful employment, as well as an increase in total jobs and/or small businesses owned by people of color, women, and LGBTQ individuals who have historically faced extra barriers to business ownership.

Ultimately, the Challenge seeks to help funders, policymakers, and other leaders identify and learn about standout approaches that are already making a difference in communities across the U.S. To that end, the funders will publish a searchable database of all eligible applicants, share the stories of finalists and grantees of the Communities Thrive Challenge, and widely share key themes and lessons learned.

Amount: A total of $10,000,000 is available. Twenty finalists will receive $5,000 each; 10 of the 20 finalists will receive $1,000,000 grants each, as well as best-in-class technical assistance and an opportunity to share their stories on the national stage.

Eligibility: Nonprofit and for-profit organizations that meet the following criteria may apply:

  • Organizations must be an entity incorporated in and maintaining a primary place of business in the United States or United States Territory
  • Applicant organizations must have an annual operating budget of greater than $200,000 in fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2017
  • Applicant organizations cannot have received funding from The Rockefeller Foundation or the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in the past ten years
  • All applicants must meet IRS guidelines for charitability

Link: https://www.communitiesthrivechallenge.org/

Note: The June 12 deadline is for the required registration process. Round one applications are due on June 19, 2018.

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