It’s increasingly difficult to predict the ways that rapid digital advances will affect different corners of society, and we’re committed to supporting the work of organizations who are exploratory and creative in the process of developing solutions. We make grants and provide in-kind service primarily to non-profit organizations in the United States.
When we see good work, we want to make sure others do, too. We’re especially committed to organizations that bring well-researched perspectives to problems faced across all of society, and a large amount of our work involves sharing news and promoting the work of grantees across our portfolio.
We think everyone has something to gain from looking beyond the borders of their own work. That’s why we seek to cultivate relationships and connections between partners and grantees across traditional boundaries and silos, and start conversations that stand to change the way we all think about and approach problems that we face.
Our grantmaking process is designed to absorb some of the more time-consuming elements of the traditional fundraising cycle in order to help our grantees dedicate more time to fulfilling their missions. Because this approach may differ from that of some of our peers, we aim for total transparency about each of the four stages of our process, and what we hope to learn along the way. We’re unable to accept unsolicited proposals for funding at this time.
We meet organizations across a number of channels – via referrals from our peers or existing grantees, through a tie to SFE’s network, and through active research and scouting in the field.
Our goal is to understand an organization’s priorities, philosophy, impact, and vision. We explore potential new relationships by getting to know teams and key players, through in-person meetings, site visits, conversations with people served, and information about organizational and fiscal health.
We assess how SFE can use our resources to support an organization’s mission – whether by funding, providing in-kind services, or access to our network. Depending on the fit, we’ll work with an organization to create a recommendation to propose to our board.
We work with our grantees to create an individual engagement plan for each grant, which includes at least one formal check-in per year and may include some combination of additional site visits, conversations with leadership, and reporting.