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Grants to California Nonprofits and Educational Institutions
to Reintegrate Formerly Incarcerated Students

Michelson Spark Grants

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Michelson 20MM Foundation

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Grants of up to $25,000 to California nonprofit organizations and educational institutions to help reintegrate formerly incarcerated students into the educational system. Funding is intended to educate staff, empower student leaders, and support students by offering employment opportunities, transitional housing, and transfer of postsecondary credits. Preference will be given to proposals covering a specific self-contained milestone focus including inflection points, things that may open up a new foothold with a partner (i.e. enabling a new partnership with a market leader), or a new proof of concept.

Michelson 20MM is committed to helping individuals and communities impacted by the criminal justice system forge a brighter, more prosperous future through educational attainment. In keeping this pledge, the Foundation is launching its latest Michelson Spark Grants funding round and awarding grants to nonprofits at the intersection of higher education, workforce development, and successful re-entry.

In this Smart Justice funding round, the Foundation is seeking to support projects capable of meeting one or more of the following key target outcomes:

  • Expanding access to professional development opportunities for staff, faculty, and administrators on college campuses to provide them with the tools and resources needed to successfully work with formerly incarcerated students
  • Elevating the voices of justice-impacted student leaders so they can play a role in educating policymakers on the measures needed to support this student population
  • Research on best practices for higher education institutions to retain and provide support to formerly incarcerated students during this time of declining enrollments nationwide
  • Supporting soon-to-be released or recently released individuals with reentry services including:
    • Transitional housing
    • Employment
    • College transfer support for students who are enrolled in a postsecondary educational program while in prison.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 189347

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grant ask is up to $25,000.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The Spark Grant Program is available to United States-based nonprofits and educational institutions.

For this cycle of funding, the Foundation has decided to focus its impact on organizations that are doing work in California. Organizations whose work does not impact California will be ineligible for this opportunity.

For this funding cycle the Foundation will not be funding general operating expenses such as rent, utilities, server costs, etc.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Michelson Spark Grants will be hosting a webinar on November 3rd at 10:00 AM PT to provide an overview of the Spark Grant program, highlight past awardees, and share updates regarding the Smart Justice round.

Register for the webinar:

Pre-Application Information:

The funding round launches Wednesday, November 10, and will remain open until Wednesday, December 1.

In the spirit of acting quickly, grants will be reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis. The Foundation is committed to reaching a decision on each application within 15 business days.

Spark Grants Evaluation Process:
- Grant Application is Received: After LOI is submitted the Grant Committee will do an initial assessment.
- Reject or Move Forward Decision is Made: Within 6 business days you will be notified if your proposal is moving forward in the process.
- Complete Full Application: Proposals that advance will be asked to complete a full application.
- Applications Assessed: Full applications will be assessed and a follow up call will be scheduled with those that advance to the finalist stage.
- Final Decision Made: You will be notified of the Grant Committee decision within 15 business days of the call for proposals closing.

Focus Areas:

Recorded August 11 webinar:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Michelson 20MM Foundation
555 W. 5th St. 35th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90013

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California

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