Q: Who is eligible for this funding opportunity?
A: Groups of organizations working at the systems-level in a cross-sector partnership that involves one or more public and/or private entities (such as county or municipal offices, business organizations or coalitions, non-profit organizations, neighborhood development corporations, higher education institutions, community organizers and school districts). These partnerships should already be in place, not created for the purpose of applying for this opportunity.
To be eligible, these partnerships should:
- Have an existing or emergent strategy focused on adolescents, defined roughly as youth aged 11-19, especially those who are facing systemic or structural challenges (see more on this below).
- Focus on learning and development opportunities for youth beyond the traditional classroom.
- Operate at the local level (e.g., neighborhood, town, city or county) within the United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands or Guåhan (Guam).
Q. What information does the Expression of Interest form request?
A: Interested partnerships are encouraged to review the Expression of Interest form to learn more and consider applying, if eligible. The form is located
here. On the form, we ask four yes/no questions to determine eligibility, and then ask a series of short questions to learn more about the applicant, its partners, and the targeted youth population and strategy. The full set of questions is below.
Eligibility Quiz: We are looking for partnerships who can answer the following questions affirmatively.
- Is your organization working at the systems-level, i.e. across multiple sites or programs in a cross-sector partnership with one or more public or private entities (such as county or municipal offices, business organizations or coalitions, non-profit organizations, neighborhood development corporations, higher education institutions, community organizers or school districts)?
- Does this partnership have an existing or emergent strategy focused on adolescents, which we define roughly as youth aged 11 to 19, especially those who face systemic or structural challenges, such as poverty, homelessness and physical, mental or behavioral disabilities?
- Does the strategy include a focus on learning and development opportunities for youth beyond the traditional classroom?
- Is your partnership working at the local level (e.g., neighborhood, town, city or county) within the United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Guåhan (Guam)
Section 1: Applicant Contact Information
Your name, Name of your organization or agency, Role or title, Email address, City, State, Zip code
- How would you characterize your community? Please select all that apply:
○ Other __
Section 2: Partners
Please describe the primary organizations of the cross-sector partnership who are engaged in your existing or emergent strategy targeted towards adolescents. Please note that for the purposes of this form, we ask you to list at least two and no more than five primary partners, though recognize that cross-sector partnerships can include more than this.
As you answer these questions, we recommend reviewing the FAQ section on our website for more information.
Partner 1 Name (Note: Partner 1 should be the organization of the individual submitting this form.)
- Name of partner ___
- Type of organization:
- County or municipal offices
- Business organization or coalition
- Non-profit organization
- Community or neighborhood based organization
- Neighborhood development corporation
- A backbone or intermediary organization
- Faith-based institution
- Higher education institution
- Community organizer
- School districts
a.Add a partner (*submitters may add up to 5 partners).
i. (Repeat of questions and options above)
- How many years ago was the original partnership established?
○ Drop down menu: Less than 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, more than 10
- What are the long-term goals you are trying to accomplish through this partnership? [open ended, <150 words]
Section 3: Targeted youth population and strategy
We are focused on youth aged 11-19 who face systemic or structural challenges, such as poverty, homelessness and physical, mental or behavioral disabilities. In particular, we are looking to fund projects over the course of one year that are an element of a broader strategy or effort that would play out over a longer period of time.
As you answer these questions, we recommend reviewing the FAQ section on our website for more information.
Please describe the youth you are focusing on through your partnership’s broader strategy and what specific challenges or barriers they face. [open ended, <150 words]
- Please describe the broader strategy your partnership has developed to impact this youth population, how it includes learning opportunities outside of the traditional classroom, and what progress has been made so far. [Open ended, <150 words]
- Approximately how many youth do you hope to ultimately impact through this broader strategy?
○ Less than 100
○ More than 1000
- What project – or element of this broader strategy – would you propose to work on using Wallace funding and support over the course of one year? Please share initial thoughts about the goals you would propose if this project were selected for this grant. [Open ended, <150 words]
- In addition to funding, what kinds of non-monetary support would you find beneficial in meeting these project goals? [please check all that apply]
○ Planning support from a consultant
○ Customized technical assistance from a firm or individual with a particular expertise
○ Professional development on potential solutions to barriers for my focus youth populations
○ Learning from and collaborating with peers who are working on a similar strategy
○ Learning from and collaborating with peers who are focused on the same youth population
○ Learning from examples in other communities who have worked on these issues and experienced progress
○ Other (please describe)_____
Q: Are current Wallace grantees eligible to apply for this opportunity?
A: Yes! If a current grantee meets the eligibility requirements and is interested, we encourage them to apply.
Q: What does Wallace mean by “systems-level?”
A: We think of systems as networks of aligned programs and resources that unite across cities to build stronger, more holistic opportunities and experiences for students. Systems efforts focus on the relationship between and among organizations — as well as the work of individual organizations. We have chosen to focus on systems because they have the potential for greater impact beyond single projects, as well as greater potential for sustainability as processes are routinized. More information on past Wallace work in this area can be found in
this report, Growing Together, Learning Together.
Q: What do you consider a backbone or intermediary?
A: Broadly speaking, “backbone” or intermediary organizations tend to operate by providing coordination, capacity building, and advocacy support in a given community. They may engage in community-wide planning; raise, distribute or help access funds; assess the quality of programs; connect program providers with training and coaching; communicate and advocate on behalf of programs; and/or collect and analyze information. Intermediaries tend to be more focused on out-of-school time (OST) / youth development, whereas backbone organization portfolios may be more broad, including OST but not limited to it. Also, backbone organizations may be more likely to prioritize guiding vision and strategy to fulfill certain outcomes.
Q: How does Wallace define a cross-sector partnership?
A: We think of cross-sector collaborations or partnerships as those that may involve multiple agencies and that extend beyond local government and might includerepresentation of the local civic sector, such as nonprofit service providers, philanthropic foundations, the business community or community organizations. In true cross-sector collaborations or partnerships, no single actor or agency monopolizes the power to set goals, shape agendas and determine key policies and practices. Local cross-sector collaborations can be initiated by many different entities and take many forms.
One example might be a partnership between a school district, the community’s office of health and human services and an out-of-school time intermediary to work with community partners to support unhoused adolescent youth’s physical, mental and educational needs. Others might be a school district, a youth sector intermediary and a chamber of commerce to provide opportunities for adolescents to explore career pathways, or the county juvenile justice system working with a faith-based institution and a non-profit to successfully reengage youth with their schools and communities. These are just some ideas. Many other kinds of cross-sector partnerships exist.
Q: What kinds of organizations can apply?
A: We are trying to be expansive in our idea of out-of-school-time programming. Instead of focusing solely, as we have in the past, on organizations that identify themselves as afterschool or summer learning organizations, we are open to partnerships that bring together a mix of institutions.
For example, this might be a municipal department partnering with a youth-focused nonprofit, an out-of-school time intermediary working with the mayor’s office, a neighborhood development corporation partnered with a health and wellness center or a faith-based institution, a school district office of extended learning working with a higher education institution - or many other combinations. Among the things that we want to learn is about the many kinds of partnerships that are already in existence.
Q: How long does a partnership have to have been in place to qualify for eligibility?
A: In general, we would expect partners to have been working together for at least a year or two, but we know that each partnership is different. In some communities, it can take time to get a partnership off the ground, while in others, the process moves faster. What we do know is that there must be some kind of partnership already in existence. This is not an opportunity to create one in order to be considered for the grant.
Q: What kinds of projects might Wallace consider funding through this grant opportunity?
A: At this stage, we are asking potential grantees to share with us what kinds of projects that, if funded and supported by Wallace, might most advance their strategy within the one-year grant period. However, we anticipate that projects might include:
- Professional development to adults serving youth
- Human resources strategies to recruit, train, and retain high-quality instructors
- Comprehensive cross-sector planning that includes stakeholder engagement
- Mapping existing youth service offerings
- Engaging the broader community
- Giving young people a greater say in programming
- Managing finances and/or mapping of existing funding streams, and
- Planning for continuous improvement, through, for example, identification of required data sources, roll out of a data system, and staff training.
Q: How is Wallace thinking about the adolescents who might be served by these strategies?
A: We are eager to hear how organizations that apply are targeting their strategies, and overall, Wallace is interested in exploring projects that serve adolescents who are facing systemic challenges or who are impacted by structural factors that make it difficult to thrive. For example, this may mean that a young person who is:
- Living in a high-poverty community
- Systems-involved (e.g., juvenile justice or foster care)
- An English-language learner
- A migrant or an immigrant
- Dealing with a learning difference or a physical, mental or behavioral disability
- And/or others, as identified by communities
We know that each community thinks about who to serve in different ways, so we are intentionally suggesting a broad range here. Even the age range we have noted in this funding opportunity — 11 through 19 years of age — has some flexibility. Some may consider adolescence to begin a bit earlier; others may span later. Part of what we want to find out is how communities are working to help those young people who are most in need - and what that means in context.
Q: Our University has two different programs that would be eligible. Can
we submit more than one expression of interest forms?
A: Yes, it is possible to submit the same organization or entity in more than one partnership, provided that the eligibility requirements are met.
Q: I’m curious if organizations that apply could be arts or sports focused? Would organizations that are working within juvenile detention centers also be considered?
A: Yes. We are interested in hearing about all kinds of partnerships that are connected to a systems-level approach, provided that they meet eligibility requirements.
Q. How does Wallace define equity?
A: We recognize there is no single way to think about equity and that approaches to equity will vary according to the context. We understand that every organization we engage as a grantee will have its own way of thinking about equity and what it means, both internally and externally.
At Wallace, we view equity as embedding fairness in the formal and informal systems, structures and practices of our society, giving all people the opportunity and supports necessary to reach their full potential as human beings.
Q: Is participation open to global organizations?
A: Wallace funds nationally across the United States. We do not fund internationally. To be eligible, applicants must have local partnerships based in the United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands or Guåhan (Guam). For this project, we are interested in work that is happening at the neighborhood, town or city or county levels, not at the regional, state or national levels.
Q: How will organizations be selected?
A: We will choose partnerships through a three-step process.
First, interested, eligible partnerships can complete the Expression of Interest form to share some basic information about their work.
Next, Wallace will review the Expressions of Interest form received and reach out to a subset of partnerships to invite them to submit a proposal. This is a way for interested parties to respond to questions and tell us more about their strategies and how they might use funding, if selected. Based on what we hear, we plan to create a cohort of grantee organizations for this opportunity. We don’t yet know what shape this cohort will take; we want the cohort to reflect the characteristics and projects proposed by the applicants.
Finally, we will select a group of partnerships and invite them to become grantees from the information provided in the proposal.
We anticipate selecting 20-30 partnerships for this opportunity.
About the exploratory phase
Q: What is an “exploratory phase”?
A: We are using the term “exploratory phase” to refer to the period of time (roughly March 2023 – March 2024) that aligns with this grant opportunity and precedes our next initiative. During this time, we want to provide funds and support to partnerships that are working to serve adolescents, to help propel their efforts. We also want to understand what they are doing and what kinds of opportunities and challenges they are encountering, in order to develop the strongest possible initiative with the greatest likelihood of yielding valuable lessons of interest to those working in these spaces.
Q: Why is Wallace doing an exploratory phase?
A: While we have some ideas about what our next initiative might cover, we believe it will strengthen our future efforts to spend time and resources first learning from the efforts currently in place. We think it is important to build in some time to learn - and we know there is so much strong work happening on the ground already. This is a time for the foundation to find out more about these examples and what communities are doing, and to provide some funding to help them advance their youth-focused projects.
We envision that this exploration will help us understand, among other things, the different local actors, policies and practices involved in addressing the challenge; the barriers that stand in the way of success; and the resources communities need to make progress. This is not an approach that we have taken before, so we will be learning along the way. We expect that we will make changes as we go.
Q: Is this the next Wallace initiative in Learning & Enrichment?
A: No. This is not the next, new initiative for Wallace. But we are hoping that what we learn during this time can help us as we shape that initiative.
Q: If an organization is selected for this grant opportunity, is it automatically part of the new initiative that Wallace plans to launch in 2024?
It is important to note that if a partnership is chosen to participate in this exploratory phase, it does not mean they will be invited to join the future initiative, nor are they disqualified from joining. This is in part due to the fact that we do not yet know what our focus or criteria will be for the initiative. The exploratory phase is a way to shape and sharpen the focus of our next initiative as well as the criteria for participation.
Q: Will selected grantee partnerships receive funding if they are chosen for this opportunity?
A: Yes. Partnerships selected for the exploratory phase will receive a grant averaging $200,000, to be shared by the partners as they see fit relative to the project proposed.
In addition to funding, we anticipate providing partnerships selected for this phase with other supports that may be helpful. This may include access to peer learning opportunities and technical assistance or coaching from a consultant funded by Wallace. We would like to first hear about what grantees wish to do in their communities and then speak with those selected to see which supports may be beneficial.
Q: What will selected grantee partnerships do during this one-year grant period?
A: Selected grantees will put together a team made up of representatives from each partner organization. Over the course of the year, these team members will:
- Engage with a research team who will be working to understand the efforts of grantee participants via focus groups, interviews, observations and/or surveys (and who will share back what is learned to those involved).
- Host a site visit for members of the Wallace team, researchers and/or consultants.
Depending on what we learn about partners’ strategies and interests, we may also offer grantees access to peer learning opportunities and the chance to engage with consultants who can provide technical assistance around needs such as planning, data mapping and/or professional development.
We expect to have a better sense of offerings and activities once we have a cohort of grantees for the exploratory phase and we hear from them what would be useful.
Q: Do you have any requirements regarding indirect cost?
A: Our standard for indirect costs is 20 percent for nonprofits and 15 percent for school districts/govt entities/universities. For other kinds of entities, we are open to discussing, should they be selected for the final cohort. We intend to provide additional guidance on funding when we invite selected partnerships to submit proposals.
Q: Can the money be used for general operating expenses?
A: In general, Wallace does not provide funding to cover general operating costs. We expect that to continue to be the case for this effort. We are hoping to fund existing strategies and projects that are aimed at supporting youth.
Q: Why is Wallace exploring supports for older youth?
A: While much of our recent work to date has focused on elementary-aged children, we know that adolescents have vital developmental needs – and that many of them are not receiving what they need to thrive. COVID has exacerbated the lack of opportunities for these youth.
In addition, we know that participation in expanded learning falls off beginning in middle school, at a time when effective programs could be especially helpful.
We want to work with communities to help mitigate the significant challenges that these adolescents are facing by helping them find and connect with valuable opportunities. When youth are supported and are provided with positive learning experiences and relationships outside of the traditional classroom, they have a chance to do things like explore new interests, passions and potential career pathways; develop their identities; build skills; form connections with peers and adults and participate in opportunities to contribute to their communities.
Q: Why is Wallace interested in considering rural communities for this effort?
A: Although our past work has focused mainly on urban environments, we know that rural communities are also facing many challenges. We are interested in both helping them to mitigate some of these through funding and other supports, while also having the opportunity to learn more about the particular needs of rural settings.
Following the exploratory phase
Q: What happens after the exploratory phase?
A: Wallace will draw from the insights and findings gathered from the exploratory phase grantees to shape its new initiative. We hope to launch our new initiative in late 2024.
Q: Will all organizations participating in the exploratory phase also participate in the next initiative?
A: Being in the cohort of exploratory phase grantees does not mean automatic inclusion in the cohort for the new initiative, as the two selection processes are fully separate. Participating in the exploratory phase neither privileges nor excludes a community from being selected as a future grantee. This is because we intend to determine our focus and criteria for the next initiative as a result of what we learn in the exploratory phase.
Q: How long will the next Wallace initiative in Learning & Enrichment run – and what will its focus be?
A: We anticipate that the next Wallace initiative will run approximately five to seven years. We are using the one-year exploratory phase to learn more about potential options for the exact focus.
Q: I'm interested! How do I apply?
A: Fill out and submit this Expression of Interest form by November 4, 2022. If you would find it helpful, we encourage you to sign up for an optional, 30-minute group information session, where you can speak with a Wallace staff member to learn more or have your questions answered. Please note there is no requirement to attend an optional information session to submit an Expression of Interest. If you would like to join a session or have additional questions, please email LearningEnrichmentOpenCall@wallacefoundation.org.
Where to find help
Q: Where can I go if I still have questions?
A: Please contact us via email (no attachments) at LearningEnrichmentOpenCall@wallacefoundation.org.