Co-Impact Invites Proposals for Systems-Change Grants Focused on the Global South

Co-Impact, a global collaborative focused on improving the lives of people around the world, supports a small number of transformative systems-change initiatives, each of which is designed to bring about significant and enduring improvements for millions of women and men in the Global South.

To that end, the organization provides flexible grants, typically ranging between $10 million and $25 million over five years, for systems-change initiatives in the areas of health, education, and economic opportunity, and to address gender equity and inclusion in meaningful ways. It also invests in strengthening program partners so that they can develop critical capabilities needed to effectively advance systems change.

After two rounds of grantmaking, the Co-Impact team has reflected on the factors that are critical to achieve systemic change at scale and, as a result, have refined the selection criteria for the next third round of grants in three important regards: 1) initiatives must be anchored by organizations that are led by and rooted in the Global South; 2) proposals must clearly articulate how the initiative addresses gender discrimination and exclusion at all levels, including in the analysis of the problem, programmatic and system approach, and the participation and leadership of women across the initiative and organization; and 3) proposals must clearly articulate the specific people-level outcomes they seek to achieve (as contrasted to scaling-up or policy change alone).

In Round 3, the organization also will seek to support initiatives that are focused on improving the lives of one million people or more; address gender equity and inclusion, and are substantively led by women; have a strong track record of results; and use evidence-informed pathways to achieve specific outcomes in health, education, and/or economic opportunity.

Co-Impact looks to provide catalytic, but not exclusive, support to systems-change initiatives and believes that complex systems-change efforts have the greatest chance for success when they are supported by a cohesive coalition. Therefore, its support is typically limited to 25 percent to 35 percent of the total philanthropic cost of an initiative (and never more than 50 percent).

Sourcing and initial consideration of proposals will take place between January and December 2020, with design grant decisions expected in January 2021. The organization expects to provide five to eight of the most promising organizations and partnerships with “design” grants of up to $500,000 each to advance and pressure-test their systems-change initiative and develop a robust strategy and proposal. (The typical design grant period runs six to eight months.)

Final grant decisions will be announced in December 2021, with grants ranging between $10 million and $25 million over five years awarded to a subset of three to five design grant organizations/partnerships.

Co-Impact will acknowledge receipt of concept notes and get back to applicants about its initial review no later than June 30, 2020. Because it is small, the organization generally is unable to hold individual conversations or provide individual feedback. It does plan to hold at least three public webinars early in the open call period to run through the process and answer questions (click here for more details).

For the complete open call (Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish), which includes a detailed explanation of the submission process, eligibility criteria, and guidelines for concept notes, see the Co-Impact website.

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Deadline: February 28, 2020