Network Innovation Grants - How to Apply

Eligibility - Who Can Apply:

All Switzer Fellows (current and alumni) are eligible for Network Innovation grant funding. However, fellows must work with a partner organization or fiscal agent which can accept foundation funding (any U.S.-based organization with 501(c)(3) status). This can be the employer of one of the fellows or an associated organization working with the fellows on the particular issue and able to act as fiscal agent for the grant funds.

How to Apply:

1. Contact the Switzer Foundation. Interested Switzer Fellows should call or send a short description of your concept to Erin Lloyd, Program Director. You should describe how you would like to use and tap the Switzer Network to advance progress on an issue, project or policy initiative in which are you engaged. Foundation staff will help you frame your request to invite feedback from the Switzer Network.

2. Reach out to the Switzer Network. After discussion with the foundation staff, prepare a brief outline of your idea and the kinds of input you are seeking from other fellows to be posted to the Network Innovation Exchange and the Switzer Fellows’ listserv. This will allow you to solicit feedback or advice, or to engage potential partners or seek other resources. Switzer staff will guide you through the process of posting and outreach. You may also seek input from specific fellows in the network.

3. Evaluate Switzer Network input and refine your idea. Once you have engaged fellows and reviewed network input to your idea, you may wish to revise or expand your idea and/or include additional fellows and strategies. Then, discuss your revised approach with foundation staff.  After that review, you may be invited to submit your concept as a full proposal.

4. Submit Proposal. If you are invited to submit a proposal to the Switzer Foundation, please include the following five items, preferably as a single Adobe pdf document:

  • A Network Innovation grant Proposal cover sheet
  • A proposal narrative outlining project goals, work plan, names and roles of participating Switzer Fellows, expected outcomes and products, how and to whom products will be disseminated, timeline, and how fellows will be engaged during or after the project;

  • A description of the applicant organization and its role;

  • An itemized income and expense budget for the proposed project (click here for budget guidelines); and

  • Applicant organization's current operating budget, list of board members, and IRS determination letter.

Finally, please also include the organization's most recent financial statement or audit as a separate Adobe pdf file, or include as a link.

Evaluation of Proposals:

Discussion with Switzer Foundation staff at the concept stage is critical, as is thoughtful engagement of the Switzer Network throughout the project and at its conclusion.

Proposals are evaluated based on their cross-disciplinary approach, focus on achievable outcomes, and potential for impact on policy, practice, management or new thinking to advance an issue or policy. A clear dissemination plan for applied outcomes is essential. Matching funds are a plus. Proposals are reviewed using the Network Innovation grant Evaluation Matrix that identifies the qualities or parameters by which each proposal is evaluated. This matrix is meant as a tool to help applicants hone their narrative towards issues of greatest interest to the foundation, and to help Switzer staff and trustees in their evaluation of the proposal.

Where to Apply:

Proposals should be submitted via email to Erin Lloyd, Program Director.

Application Deadlines:

Requests of $5,000 or less are accepted on a rolling basis and will be reviewed and a funding decision made by Switzer staff within one month of proposal submission.

Requests between $5,000-$20,000 will be reviewed on a quarterly basis and decided by the Switzer Foundation board. Fellows should contact foundation staff for specific proposal deadlines. Typically, it can take two to three months between initial outreach to the Switzer Network and submission of an invited proposal. Be sure to plan enough time for adequate outreach to the Switzer Network when planning your proposal submission.

How to Find Other Fellows:

  • Search the online directory of Fellows (Find an Expert) using keywords or geographic filters.

  • Contact Erin Lloyd for suggested contacts, or Laine Kuehn for a customized group list.

Grant Reporting Requirements:

Grant report guidelines will be provided with the grant award and will include sharing results with the Switzer Network as well as foundation staff. At a minimum, sharing of the product, outcomes or results will be via the Switzer Foundation website, webinar, or presentation at a Switzer Fellows retreat or other event.


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