What kind of ideas are we looking for?
We are looking for ideas that align with our mission and core values and will create impactful and sustainable change on significant health issues. For us, health is defined broadly and may include addressing underlying factors that support or hinder the health and well-being of communities. We are interested in concepts that explore or implement ways to challenge and disrupt the systems or circumstances that allow inequities to exist. This can be achieved through a variety of strategies, including projects, convenings, and research.
The Opportunity Fund enables us to respond to emerging issues and test new or innovative approaches that may be unique to the state. Ideas can also be based on existing, promising, or effective models that can be tested with new audiences or geographies. Projects may also test the viability and sustainability of an idea on a small scale as a proof of concept.
Through previous Opportunity Fund projects, we have made strategic investments in ideas that have worked to address systemic inequities and shift power structures, built collaborative networks, reached broad populations, generated community-led solutions, or explored innovative concepts.
Some of the most promising Opportunity Fund ideas have been collaborative, driven by the best interests of the people served, authentically engaged impacted communities, had policy or practice implications that reached beyond an individual organization, or used creative problem solving and innovative thinking. We want to partner with you to build on those successes.
How can a strategic investment turn into sustainable change?
A great illustration of systems work is our partnership with Missouri Appleseed that used the changemaker model to create the kind of change we’re looking for. Appleseed identified a health issue – a lack of access to period products for women in Missouri prisons – that was potentially causing high rates of vaginal infections. By working with us, Appleseed was able to perform the necessary research to support their assumption.
Thanks to Appleseed’s efforts, findings from the research were passed to Missouri legislators. With bipartisan support, more than $113,000 was set aside in Missouri’s 2020 budget to purchase period products for state prisons. Through our partnership with Appleseed, we were able to turn a strategic investment into long-term sustainable change.
Ready to get started?
Please note: Although concepts can vary in their time spans, the Opportunity Fund was created to address systems-level issues and was not designed to offer short-term or emergency funding.
Staff will review concept papers to determine if an organization will be invited to submit a full proposal based on fit with the Opportunity Fund and strategic priorities of the Foundation. Applicants will be notified of concept paper status in September 2020.
Concept papers must be received by Monday, August 3, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. (CST). There will be another round of requests for concept papers in February 2021.
If you have any questions not answered in the FAQ, please contact Doneisha Bohannon, Senior Strategist – Initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org.