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HealthSpark Opens Innovation Lab Grant Program for Applications

HealthSpark Foundation is inviting applications to the Innovation Lab Grant Program for our Spring/Summer 2021 round. The Innovation Lab Grant Program supports collaborative grant projects that will build a better safety net system in Montgomery County. Projects must align with the vision and goals identified in the Blueprint for a Better Safety Net, a community-driven strategic framework that guides the Foundation's philanthropic priorities.

HealthSpark intends to award up to 15 Design Grants this round, which are short-term grants of up to $30,000 each for planning, proof-of-concept, or small-scale pilot projects. 

The Innovation Lab Grant Program is intended to provide capacity-building support, planning funds, and other start-up costs for new or emerging ideas to better the social safety net. Recently funded projects include planning funds for the Montco Mamas, a collective impact initiative between nonprofit, government, and healthcare providers to address disparities in infant birth outcomes using a racial equity lens. Other projects include supporting the development of a civic scholars volunteer program between Arcadia University and the Bucks-Mont Collaborative, and planning funds to build a more connected and sustainable food warehousing/ delivery program for local food pantries through the Montco Anti-Hunger Network using lessons learned from the pandemic food crisis. A full list of funded grant projects is available here.

While the target population and issue area may vary widely, all projects share a commitment to addressing the structural and policy issues that impact the long-term sustainability of the safety net system through a collaborative, partnership-oriented approach. As Russell Johnson, President and CEO, explains in a recent blog on the opportunities for risk-taking through the Innovation Lab program, "HealthSpark hopes to see applications that are transformational to our system and intentional in seeking new ways to financially strengthen the organizational applicants."

The Foundation is particularly interested in supporting local community groups and faith groups that may have opportunities to support unmet resident needs in unique ways. Nonprofit organizations intending to apply are encouraged to engage local faith groups, civic groups, advocacy groups, or other grassroots organizations while developing project ideas.

The Innovation Lab's priority areas are defined by the Blueprint for a Better Safety Net. The Blueprint is the result of a months-long community-driven process in 2020 to gather lessons learned about the safety net system in Montgomery County and build a common vision for strengthening the system. Over 200 human services professionals, government administrators, faith leaders, philanthropic partners, civic leaders, and others shared their experiences and contributed their insights to envision what a better safety net system looks like and how to make it happen. The Innovation Lab Grant Program offers community partners the opportunity to put those ideas into action- by taking risks, partnering in new ways, and piloting innovative approaches to community challenges.

The Foundation is hosting a Grant Information Session for all interested applicants on March 24. Please click here to register.

The deadline to apply to the Innovation Lab Grant Program is April 27, 2021. For more information and how to apply, please visit the Innovation Lab Grant Program page.