The Sprout Fund accepts applications from non-profit organizations, public schools, coalitions of organizations, community groups, and individuals. Only projects with a charitable purpose and that propose an innovative solution to a pressing issue faced by communities in the greater Pittsburgh region are eligible to seek support from Sprout.
Independent project managers can engage an existing non-profit organization with similar goals as a fiscal sponsor.
Sprout is not a small business lender or a venture capital fund. Sprout does not offer loans or funding to start a business and cannot provide operating support to for-profit entities.
It is recommended that applicants allow at least two months from the application due date to the beginning of the project to allow Sprout adequate time to assist applicants in implementing their project. Applications must be submitted a minimum of 6 weeks before the proposed project’s first activity begins. Sprout funding may not be used for projects or events that have already taken place, or for gap funding at the conclusion of a fundraising campaign.
Sprout funding should be predominately used in ways that will directly serve the programmatic ends of Sprout projects.
Administrative and other non-programmatic expenses can be supported, however, this support should not make up a significant portion of the overall funding request. In particular, the use of Sprout funding for indirect costs, also termed fees or administrative overhead, cannot exceed 15% of the direct project or activity costs.
Sprout funding may not be used for benefit events or projects planned primarily for fundraising, activities with a primary purpose that is religious or political in nature, or for reimbursement of expenses incurred prior to the decision announcement. Generally, overall program budgets that exceed $50,000 are not eligible to request Sprout catalytic funding.
Other Sources of Funding
Sprout supports projects that also receive funding from other sources. However, Sprout support should provide catalytic funding for a project. This is to ensure that Sprout support has a maximum impact in advancing new and innovative small projects. Additionally, Sprout catalytic funding is not to be requested in support of projects that are eligible for, or have already received, sizeable grants from traditional philanthropic sources.