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.
Applications for Seed Award funding are accepted on the first Friday of every odd-numbered month (January, March, May, July, September, and November). Funding recommendations are typically announced six weeks later. The average grant size is $6,000.
Friday, March 7, 2014 @ 5pm for applications requesting up to $10,000. Submit your application online »
Grand Ideas: Applications requesting $1,000 or less are are welcomed on an ongoing basis and may use a shorter version of Sprout’s catalytic funding application. Learn more and share your Grand Idea for an innovative $1,000 community project »
How to Apply
Before preparing an application, familiarize yourself with the Program Guidelines, review Eligibility Information for Prospective Sprout Applicants, and download the Application Questions and Required Attachment Templates.
A complete application MUST include all required elements: cover sheet (page 1 of Application Questions), narrative response to application questions, budget, timeline, and references.
You may also send your application materials as attachments to email@example.com. Postal mail or hand delivery submissions may be addressed to The Sprout Fund / Attn: Catalytic Funding / 5423 Penn Avenue / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206-3423, but please be prepared for a follow-up request to submit your information electronically.
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.
Although each project is different, Seed Awards are generally made to support initiatives that include the following characteristics:
- Proposes an exciting new project, program, event, or organization
- Creates a sense of community through engagement with the public
- Requires resources to develop, test, and implement a pilot program
- Falls outside of traditional avenues of grant support
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.
The Seed Award program supports projects that are designed to:
- Raise awareness about innovative new community engagement projects, events, and activities
- Engage people in taking an active role in the civic life of their community
- Provide opportunities for motivated community members to assume leadership roles;
- Foster a network of support for projects working to similar ends in the community.
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, and hundreds of community supporters from across the Pittsburgh region.