Gates Foundations Seeks Communications Proposals—Game Changer

At last—funding for communications!  This RFP is focused on development organizations but I hope more funding will follow from Gates and other foundations, as a recognition of communications’ essential role in achieving organizational and programmatic goals.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a call for communications proposals to “help change the narrative on foreign aid.” For its first-ever Grand Challenges Explorations in communications, the Foundation plans to fund up to 10 “game-changing ideas” that creatively use communications to “motivate the public in the wealthy countries of the world to change their minds about aid, and take actions to demonstrate their support.”

The Foundation will consider funding a range of approaches, including:

  • New ways to collect and share first-person stories from those impacted by aid in the developing world;
  • Data collection and visualization that demonstrates the “how” and “what” of aid, e.g. where funding goes and how it impacts people and communities;
  • Creative distribution mechanisms to deliver stories, data, and information to key audiences;
  • Concepts that spark active engagement and collaborative problem-solving, e.g. games, crowdsourcing, and other projects that move the field from one-way communications towards authentic engagement; and
  • Revolutionary ways to humanize the challenge and the solutions and to connect communities receiving aid to those who provide it.

Anyone with a great idea is encouraged to apply. The submission process is simple, requiring just a two-page proposal.

Instructions can be found here. Entries will be accepted until the close of the call on May 15, 2012. Up to 10 Phase I grants of $100,000 USD will be awarded within just a few months. The Cannes Lions Chimera, a special panel made up of the best talent across advertising, media, and technology, are advising the program, and will mentor the winners as they develop their projects. More information on the Chimera can be found here.

For more information, email grandchallenges@gatesfoundation.org.

Nancy Schwartz on April 9, 2012 in Grants and Other Funding | 1 comment
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  • Katy Kelly

    Thank you for this. There are few sources for communications dollars, and I applaud the Gates foundation for recognizing the ability for communications to be a game changer.

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