Since our launch in 2019, Lever for Change has managed 11 philanthropic grant challenges that were designed to help donors find and fund solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems, including issues like racial inequity, gender inequality, lack of access to economic opportunity, and climate change.
Over the years, we’ve received feedback from many of you that you would like to use a challenge to provide general operating support to a cohort of organizations. We heard you! Lever for Change is excited to announce that we are launching a donor service that offers funders an opportunity to help grow or strengthen a field of their choosing through an open call challenge.
This service will complement our existing challenge model. Instead of using a challenge to scale a single solution to a critical challenge, this challenge model will allow funders to provide general operating support to a cohort of organizations within a particular field. A “field” may be a specific geography, topic, or type of organization. This service will require a minimum commitment of $20 million in awards. Each awardee in the cohort will receive a minimum of $1 million in general operating support (payable in a lump sum or over up to three years). Recently, we helped philanthropist MacKenzie Scott launch the Yield Giving Open Call, which will award gifts of $1 million each to 250 organizations working with people and in places experiencing the greatest need in the U.S.
We will hold true to our guiding principles, including our commitment to openness and transparency, rigorous evaluation, and providing value to each participant. With all of our challenges, donors control key decisions during the process such as determining eligibility and evaluation criteria and selecting finalists and awardees.
Our team is particularly excited by the opportunity to use this open call challenge model to help donors embrace trust-based philanthropy. By providing a cohort of organizations with general operating support, donors can respond to requests from the nonprofit sector for unrestricted funding that has limited reporting requirements—often the most needed and requested kind of funding for organizations.
"This service will complement our existing challenge model. Instead of using a challenge to scale a single solution to a critical challenge, this challenge model will allow funders to provide general operating support to a cohort of organizations within a particular field."
By providing meaningful, catalytic grants of at least $1 million each to a cohort of organizations, donors can also help ensure that complementary organizations working across a field can implement and sustain their work. Through this challenge process, we expect to increase the visibility of nonprofits with fewer resources. In sum, our new service can help to raise awareness of an underfunded field and support progress and collective growth.
We envision that this model will appeal to a broad range of donors. You may be setting up a new program area and are looking for an easy way to capture the landscape of organizations working in a field to build a pipeline of prospective grantees. Or, perhaps, you will want to use this service to source a cohort of organizations working toward similar goals so that you can promote collaboration, shared learning, and collective strategy development. We also think this service will appeal to groups of like-minded donors who want to collaborate to support work in a particular field.
Both our existing challenge model and the new service provide a unique opportunity for bold funders who want their philanthropic capital to lead to impactful work developed and led by organizations closest to the issues that their communities face. We invite you to learn more about our donor services. Please contact Dana Rice, VP of Philanthropy at Lever for Change, to request additional information and/or schedule an introductory call.