Are you an aspiring social entrepreneur or changemaker looking for funding or financial support? There are a lot of resources available from numerous organizations, but it can be difficult to know where to look. The following is a round-up of grants, prizes, and fellowships. Some are super competitive, some are available only to current undergraduates, and all focus on social entrepreneurship or civic engagement work. A more extensive list of funding sources is available in the PCSE Resource Center. If you know of any others, please tell us.
Two $10,000 seed awards to develop technological solutions to address health challenges that disproportionately impact low-income communities. Solutions which employ mobile technology are actively encouraged, but the prize is open to any proposed improvement involving a technological solution. One seed award will be given to a team of students from Yale; and one to a team from one or more other colleges in CT. Winning teams must agree to compete in the $25,000 Aetna Foundation Prize for Health Equity Innovation (below). Awardees will receive mentoring to help prepare for the $25,000 Aetna prize.
The Aetna Foundation Prize for Health Equity Innovation is a $25,000 cash prize awarded to the best student-led venture focused on developing a technology solution to address a health disparity challenge. Examples of challenges include higher rates of health conditions, worse health outcomes and less access to care. Solutions which involve mobile technology are actively encouraged, but the prize is open to any solution involving a technological solution. The winner of the Aetna Prize receives legal services from Whithers Worldwide, consulting from Make Good, preferential consideration for the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute Fellowship (a summer program that provides a $15,000 stipend), and continued support from Yale faculty.
Venture is the mechanism through which Ashoka finds and supports the world’s leading social entrepreneurs with project grants and mentorship. Nominate a fellow by following this link.
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: Living stipend for 3 years
An “ever-growing, worldwide network of people devoted to forwarding the interest of awesomeness in the universe.” The Foundation distributes a series of monthly $1,000 grants.
Deadline: rolling application
Supports non-profit, grassroots, constituent-led organizations (must have 501(c)3 status) across the country that are using direct action, community-organizing strategies to accomplish their goals. They consider proposals that are aligned with the Foundation’s broad interests in social justice, environmental justice and sustainable food systems.
Deadline: October 16, 2017 for Cycle A and April 14, 2018 for Cycle B
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: Up to $25,000 for a one-year grant
Blue Ridge Labs helps innovators build high-impact products for low-income New Yorkers. This intensive summer Fellowship is designed to help top talent tackle big problems in new ways. By taking a human-centric approach and pushing their teams to iterate quickly and cheaply, they aim to build products that can really make a difference.
Deadline: Closed for 2017
The Brower Youth Award recognizes the work of six young leaders who are making strides in the environmental movement. Brower Youth Award winners demonstrate excellent leadership as well as a commitment to the communities their work serves.
Deadline: Check back in early 2018
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: $3,000, professionally-produced film about your work, trip to SF Bay Area
Kate Weiner ’14 won in 2015
CartoDB Grants Program funds funds nonprofit organizations seeking the means to create meaningful data-driven visualizations that facilitate efforts to achieve social progress, environmental protection, technological innovation, data science, and economic growth.
Deadline: rolling application
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: up to $5,500 in CartoDB software
Students from any discipline are encouraged to submit applications proposing a public service or research project. Service projects should be carefully designed to provide some form of valuable assistance to people in Africa.
Deadline: Check back Spring 2018
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: up to $3,000
The Classy Awards ceremony is an opportunity for your organization to be recognized as one of the most innovative social programs worldwide. Classy Awards Finalists receive exposure to the top leaders across the social sector, including funders and media. Classy Award Winners have gone on to receive press coverage through the recognition, and many have increased their funding within a year of receiving the award.
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: Press coverage and increased recognition/visibility, conference attendance
D-Prize is for anyone who can start a new social enterprise in the developing world and solve one of the D-Prize distribution problems. You must be committed, highly skilled, and ready to scale for the long term.
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: up to $20,000 to launch a pilot in India, Africa, or another developing region.
Davis Projects for Peace is an initiative for all students at the Davis United World College Scholars Program schools (including Wesleyan) to design their own grassroots projects to promote peace or conflict resolution in the broadest sense.
Dorm Room Fund invests in student-run companies. Your founding team must include at least one full-time student (undergraduate or graduate) — if you are a recent grad, you may still be eligible.
Deadline: rolling application
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: average of $20,000, in addition to PR, mentorship, and discounts with service providers.
The competition is designed to give undergraduate entrepreneurs an experience that will help them hone their business plans and elevator pitches. The goal of the Draper Competition is to provide the best educational and entrepreneurial experience of any undergraduate business competition.
Deadline: March 2, 2018
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: $10k for first place, $7.5k for second place, $5k for third place, and more
The funds are specifically and solely for entrepreneurs starting new non-profit organizations. The idea must be sustainable and scalable. The founder must have the skills to manage a national or global organization.
Deadline: rolling application
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: Multi-year funding
The Echoing Green Fellowship is a two-year program that provides seed-stage funding and strategic assistance to emerging leaders driving positive social change around the globe. Successful applicants will not only present an innovative way of addressing social issues, but also explain why they as individuals have what it takes to succeed.
Deadline: October 24, 2017
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: $80,000 for individuals ($90,000 for two-person partnerships) plus mentoring and more
A national contest to increase awareness and involvement of students on college campuses about the importance and impact of philanthropy and philanthropic values.
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: $10,000 and the Generous U title for the winner, and $2,500 for the runner-up
The #GIRLBOSS® Foundation awards one grant biannually to female entrepreneurs pursuing creative endeavors. Grants are exclusive to female creative business owners in the worlds of design, fashion, music, and the arts.
Deadline: December 31, 2017
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: $15,000, in addition to exposure through the #GIRLBOSS® digital channels.
This is the world’s leading and largest global health conference as well as the largest social entrepreneurship conference, hosted at Yale University. They are accepting social impact pitches for programs in early stages and established stages from both students and professionals.
Deadline: October 15, 2017
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: $10,000 for first place and $5,000 for runner up
The Global Social Venture Competition leads entrant teams through an experiential learning process to develop innovative, scalable solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. Through their global network of 14 partner schools and competitions, GSVC gives teams the connections, support, and exposure needed to advance their social ventures.
Deadline: December 4, 2017 for Round 1
Social justice leaders who are less than 15 years of out of a bachelor program who demonstrate leadership in their fields are eligible to be nominated for the Grinnell Prize. Winners will receive $100,000, split between a personal award and an organizational grant.
Deadline: October 9, 2017
The Halcyon Incubator program equips early-stage entrepreneurs with the support they need to transform audacious ideas into scalable and sustainable ventures and change the world. During this 18-month fellowship, a diverse cohort of fellows receives free residency and workspace, mentorship and leadership coaching, robust support from business consultants, and a living stipend to develop their entrepreneurial vision into reality.
Deadline: October 17, 2017
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: free housing and monthly $10,000 stipend during residency phase.
They are committed to supporting both urban and rural organizing across the region, and to funding start up and emerging organizations as well as groups that have a long history of grassroots organizing. They make grants for both general operating support and project work.
Deadline: mid-October 2017, contact their office to schedule a meeting
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: up to $10,000; $1,000 Urgent Response Grants are also available to support organizations facing unforeseen and urgent financial crisis.
The Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship, established in 1987, is a highly-competitive national fellowship program that provides recent college and graduate school alumni with the opportunity to gain a Washington perspective on key issues of peace and security.
Deadline: for Fall 2018 cohort, TBA
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: $3,100 per month, plus travel and professional development expenses
Intensive and demanding, the Humanity in Action Fellowship brings together international groups of university students and recent graduates to explore national histories of discrimination and resistance, as well as examples of issues affecting different minority groups today. The Fellowship seeks to educate, connect and inspire the world’s future leaders in the fields of human rights and social justice.
Deadline: January 8, 2018
The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the Nation’s highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s young people, particularly those from underserved communities. This award recognizes and supports excellence in programs that open new pathways to learning, self-discovery, and achievement. Each of the 12 award-winning programs will receive $10,000 and an invitation to accept their award at a ceremony at the White House. In addition, all of the winners will receive an award plaque; will have the opportunity to attend the Annual Awardee Conference in Washington, DC, in the summer of 2017; and will be featured on the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program website, as a 2017 Awardee.
Net Impact’s chapter-led programs offer a wide variety of inspiration, problem-solving and leadership opportunities which include Racial Equity and Tech for Good. The fellowships are year-long leadership development programs which support students in designing and implementing action projects on campus.
Deadline: 2017 deadline has passed
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: free admission to Net Impact Conference, stipend and tools for implementing projects
The Obama Foundation Fellowship program seeks to support outstanding civic innovators from around the world in order to amplify the impact of their work and to inspire a wave of civic innovation. The two-year, non-residential Fellowship will offer hands-on training, resources, and leadership development.
Deadline: October 6, 2017
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: No stipend at this time
The OZY Genius Awards aims to support the next Albert Einstein or Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey or Wendy Kopp, as they write a book, film a documentary, launch a new company or create the next Teach For America over the summer. With academic and technological resources like never before, students today are doing the unimaginable and the unbelievable. Young learners have ideas that can change the world, and OZY wants to help them get there.
For Wesleyan students looking to launch, scale, or build capacity for a social impact venture, enterprise, program, or project of any kind.
The Patricelli Center awards small grants (up to $500) for students to attend conferences or conference-like experiences. Applications will be reviewed within 5 business days and may receive partial funding. Applicants are encouraged to meet with a PCSE advisor to talk about ways to get the most out of attending a conference. All grantees will be expected to submit a public report for the ENGAGE blog reflecting on the conference experience and offering advice for students who may want to attend in the future.
Deadline: Rolling applications are now open
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: up to $500
The Roddenberry Fellowship is a new 12-month program for activists from across the country who are working to protect the most vulnerable and to make the US a more inclusive and equitable place to live. Twenty Fellows will be selected to receive $50,000 each, as well as tailored support, to help implement a project or initiative towards justice and equality for all.
Deadline: 2017 applications are closed
The Seed Fund provides small grants (between $500 and $3,500) to organizations offering innovative solutions to furthering the field of social finance, or addressing issues in the areas of food & agriculture, education & the arts, or ecological stewardship.
Deadline: March 15, 2018
The Samuel Huntington Public Service Award provides a $15,000 stipend for a graduating college senior to pursue one year of public service anywhere in the world. The award allows recipients to engage in a meaningful public service activity for one year before proceeding on to graduate school or a career.
Deadline: January 18, 2018
SeedMoney is a Maine-based 501(c)3 nonprofit that is helping public food gardens to start and thrive by offering them grants, access to crowdfunding, and technical assistance with garden planning.
Deadline: November 12, 2017
This student-led fund at the University of Michigan invests in and supports innovative, for-profit companies that place social and environmental impact at the heart of their business model.
Deadline: November 3, 2017
The Soros Justice Fellowships fund outstanding individuals to undertake projects that advance reform, spur debate, and catalyze change on a range of issues facing the U.S. criminal justice system. Fellows receive funding through the following three categories: Advocacy, Media, and Youth Activist.
Deadline: December 6, 2017
The Sparkplug Foundation offers funding for start-up organizations and new projects of existing organizations in music, education, and community organizing.
Deadline: October 14, 2017
This is a two-year program, expressly designed to prepare future leaders with U.S. PIRG. You won’t just sit behind a desk. You’ll be out in the real world, working on everything from reducing the overuse of antibiotics in the food industry to defending consumer protections on Wall Street. You’ll be recruiting new groups to join a coalition, speaking in a church basement or town hall to win a new endorsement, organizing a news event or rally, meeting with an editorial board, or doing whatever else it takes to get results.
Deadline: Rolling applications
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: $26,500 the first year
Venture Well E-Team Program (for STEM)
Venture Well funds and train student inventors and entrepreneurs in the STEM fields who want to address important problems in the world through new technology-based ventures.
Deadline: October 4, 2017 (winter cohort), February 7, 2018 (spring cohort), May 2, 2018 (summer cohort)
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: up to $25,000, plus workshops and coaching
WelkerMedia Foundation Fellowship
Every year, WelkerMedia Foundation selects the most promising creative fighters, activists, and game changers who make a difference and initiate the digital rebellion. Their awards and fellowship are exclusive to young creatives in the fields of digital activism, socialprenership, creativity and art. To be eligible, applicants must identify as persons under 25 years.
Deadline: October 15, 2017
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: $15,000-$100,000 available
Offers funding to Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff for projects related to environmental sustainability and conservation.
Deadline: rolling applications are now open
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: Between $50 – $20,000
For Wesleyan sophomores and juniors currently receiving need-based financial aid who plan to do socially innovative or socially responsible work during summer break. Grants are given for all types of summer experiences that are career focused, ranging from the corporate world to non-profit; in the U.S. and abroad.
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: up to $4,000
The Westly Prize for Young Innovators of California honors the talent, creativity, daring, and humanitarian spirit of young social entrepreneurs. They are looking for creative leaders from or currently living in California who are early in their journey, and have not yet received major recognition or substantial outside investment, but show great potential.
Deadline: October 15, 2017
Stipend/Prize/Compensation: up to $30,000
This award, which carries a cash prize of $6000, is presented each year to a young person (or persons) with a deep commitment to human rights and social justice and a proven ability to transform this commitment into effective action.
Deadline: July 1, 2018 for the 2018 cycle