After awarding grants to several outstanding initiatives through our unique model, we’ve unearthed several insights that may be beneficial to other funders.
A flexible application and review process is valuable, as projects and contexts are often evolving. It may take dialogue and iteration to identify if and how projects might be a fit for UP support; the final project design and workplan may end up looking different than the original submission.
Contingent agreements or matching fund targets may cause delays. Contingent agreements or matching fund targets can help mobilize other resources, but securing funds can take longer than expected and cause delays in implementation. It’s also useful to think about contingency plans should funding targets not be met.
We must pay specific attention to cultivating new networks. Although we aim to be agnostic, there are certain fields that are overrepresented in our applicant pool and awards. This is in part of a function of our existing networks and how funding in a particular field can be self-reinforcing in terms of contacts and referrals in that field. In order to ensure diversity of applicants and awardees, we must cultivate new networks.