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Strengthening Collaborations to Close Opportunity Gaps for Low-Income Communities and Communities of Color




August 1, 2014

Request for Proposals: Strengthening Collaborations to Close Opportunity Gaps for Low-Income Communities and Communities of Color

The foundation’s Pacific Northwest team is interested in supporting collaborative efforts and coalitions that are established and led by low-income communities and communities of color. The goal is to help drive long-term changes focused on closing the opportunity gap through authentic partnerships and leadership from the most affected communities. Approximately $600,000 in grants will be awarded annually to accomplish this objective. 


There is no single pathway out of poverty. However, we know that in order for children to be successful, they need stable families, great schools, and strong communities. We aim to reform the public systems of care and institutions that were established to support young people and families isolated by poverty, adversity, and inequity.

Unfortunately, the communities and people most affected by poverty and adversity are not always full partners in driving change. The foundation is committed to ensuring that low-income communities and communities of color are not only assured seats at the table when initiatives or policies are created, but have the capacity to fully participate and play leadership roles in those initiatives. The foundation believes that enduring changes are more likely to occur through deep partnerships between communities and government or systems partners.

We intend to support collaborative efforts and coalition work focused on the following areas:

  1. High-quality early learning aimed at kindergarten readiness and academic gains that can be sustained throughout elementary school;
  2. K-12 and postsecondary education aimed ultimately at earning an educational credential or degree after high school; and
  3. Improving the crisis response system leading to permanent housing solutions for families that are either unstably housed, homeless or at risk of homelessness.

More details are included in the full Request for Proposal (RFP). Interested?

Funding Criteria

The foundation will fund collaborative efforts to help under-represented communities elevate their own agendas to build stronger partnerships in the future.

This RFP is open to funding a range of activities, including capacity-building, leadership development, coalition-building, and efforts to expand the representation of diverse voices in conversations and policies (additional examples are highlighted in the full RFP).

We aim to support proposals from collaborations and coalitions that:

  • Are built and led by low-income communities and communities of color;
  • Create leadership opportunities and decision-making roles for people who are most affected by persistent opportunity gaps;
  • Detail a history of collaboration that engages low-income communities and communities of color; and
  • Are willing to share lessons learned, participate in a learning cohort, provide peer support or mentoring, and report program outcomes.

To complement these criteria specific to each applicant, the foundation will take into consideration geographic diversity and range of programmatic goals and approaches as an additional factor in creating a balanced cohort of grantees. 

The Pacific Northwest team serves residents of Washington State and select Oregon communities (Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties). We are not able to fund proposals from for-profit organizations or individuals. 

Information Session

On July 10, the foundation will host an online information session (webinar) to answer questions about the RFP.

July 10, 2014
2:30 – 4:00pm
Webinar Link: Webinar link
Toll Free Dial-in Number: 1-866-548-4705
Attendee access code: 154159

Note: Before you join the webinar, we recommend that you click here to make sure that you have the appropriate players to view UCF (Universal Communications Format) rich media files in the webinar. If you are using a Mac computer, there may be compatibility issues with Safari web browser. We recommend using the following web browsers for the webinar: Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Firefox.


Please review RFP guidelines here.

If your program is aligned with the identified goals and meets eligibility requirements, we invite you to submit a proposal using the foundation’s RFP template, which can be downloaded through our online grant application tool, Unison: Please provide complete answers in response to the “Proposal Questions” in order to ensure a competitive application, and note that the proposal document should be no longer than seven pages in length.

If you have technical questions about the proposal submission process, please send an email to Please note that PNW staff will not provide direct guidance on program content due to the high volume of requests as well as to ensure an unbiased selection process. If you have questions related to the application process, we highly encourage your participation in the Information Sessions listed in the RFP’s Proposal Solicitation and Review Process Timeline.

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