The Seed Award Fund for Community Innovation at The Sprout Fund
The Seed Award Fund for Community Innovation offers grants to support, celebrate, and showcase the initiatives of creative people in the greater Pittsburgh region with the cumulative power to create a critical mass of positive change. Seed Award projects are innovative, non-traditional ideas that focus on current issues and challenges faced by the community, and inspire a diverse group of participants to be more active, involved, and civically-engaged.
Since 2001, Sprout Seed Awards have supported hundreds of dynamic local innovators and exciting community projects making an impact in the Pittsburgh area. Sprout provides critical financial support for projects and programs in the early stages of development—when just a small amount of investment has the potential to yield big results in the community.
Sprout Seed Awards provide catalytic funding to help transform ideas into reality by supporting the programmatic costs required to implement project activities and events in the Greater Pittsburgh Region.
Seed Awards raise awareness about innovative new community projects, events, and activities; engage people in taking an active role in the civic life of their community; and provide opportunities for motivated community members to assume local leadership roles.
Although each project is different, grants are generally made to support initiatives that exemplify the following characteristics:
- Creative & Innovative: supports inventive solutions and imaginative approaches to civic engagement and community life by proposing an exciting new project, program, event, or organization.
- Collaborative & Cooperative: works with multidisciplinary teams in mutual support of shared goals and objectives.
- Equitable, Accessible & Open: promotes diversity and inclusion.
- Engaging & Participatory: connects to the community through engagement with the public.
- Experimental, Catalytic & Transformative: tests promising new ideas through development and implementation of pilot programs that exist outside of traditional avenues of grant support.
- Relevant & Impactful: offers positive, grassroots experiences attuned to the current issues and challenges faced by the community.
While The Sprout Fund welcomes requests for support that build upon previously successful community events and partnerships, applicants must demonstrate that the programmatic components funded by Sprout will be new, innovative, or otherwise creative and different from activities that have happened before.
Eligibility & Decisionmaking
The Sprout Fund accepts applications from non-profit organizations, coalitions of organizations, community groups, and individuals. Please review Eligibility Information for Prospective Sprout Applicants before submitting an application.
The Sprout Seed Award Application is an opportunity for you to tell The Sprout Fund about your vision, goals, and plans for your community-driven initiative. The questions you are asked will help you structure your ideas and help us compare your application to others that are submitted.
The Seed Award Program Advisory Committee reviews funding requests and makes recommendations to The Sprout Fund Board of Directors for awarding grants and other forms of support. The committee includes representatives of Pittsburgh’s community of innovators – emerging civic leaders, cultural workers, former managers of successful Seed Award projects, and experts in art, activism, and engagement.
Support for Prospective Applicants
Sprout encourages prospective applicants to contact program staff in advance of preparing an application and take advantage of several support services available to prospective applicants.
Information sessions are hosted on the 2nd Friday of every month at noon at Sprout’s office at 5423 Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh. Draft applications can be reviewed upon request up to one week prior to the deadline. And, Sprout hosts occasional working breakfast sessions prior to major deadlines.
Make general inquiries or ask other applications questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (412) 325-0646.
Support for Sprout Seed Awards
The Sprout Fund’s community innovation programming is generously supported by The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Hillman Foundation, the Fisher Fund of the Pittsburgh Foundation, and hundreds of community supporters from across the Pittsburgh region.