The Draper Richards Kaplan (DRK) Foundation is inviting proposals for its grants program to support outsized impact through entrepreneurs and enterprises that create a transformational paradigm shift to meaningfully address a pressing societal problem affecting people’s lives and to achieve substantial positive change in the world.
The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation is honored to be able to consider the many ideas presented to them that aim to achieve substantial positive change in the world.
The foundation invests in a wide variety of sectors: their current portfolio includes organizations working both domestically and internationally, helping to provide critical access to healthcare, education, food security, social justice, water and sanitation, transparency and accountability, and shelter.
- Evidence of focused alignment, systemic social change, data-based decision making.
- Leaders who are continually learning and iterating and welcome a deep working relationship with DRK for 3 years. Leaders who intimately understand the opportunity and the communities they serve. Leaders committed to advancing justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging for all.
- Organizations who are designed to realize their impact at scale.
- They have an open application process and accept applications year round. Borrowed from their venture capital legacy they find exceptional entrepreneurs, provide them with 3 years of unrestricted capital (totaling $300,000) and provide rigorous ongoing support by joining their board of directors for the 3 years and partnering with the leader to help them to build capacity in their organization and scale their impact.
- Organizations addressing a critical social or environmental issue as the focus of their work.
- Founders who intend to expand their impact significantly over time.
- Organizations operating in Africa, Europe, India, Latin America, and the United States.
- Independent nonprofit and impact first, mission-driven for-profit entities, including US 501(c)3 and its non-US equivalents, C corporations, B corporations, and hybrid organizations.
- Fiscally sponsored organizations in select cases where there is a plan to spin out (in the experience, independence creates stronger enabling conditions for growth).
- Post-pilot, pre-scale organizations. This typically means:
- Your program, product or service is already in the market or in the field.
- You have early indication that your model is having its intended impact.
- Your organization is 3-5 years old (this is not a rule, but a guidepost).
- Organizations with one or more founders who are full-time or intend to be.
- They believe that full-time leadership from the organization’s founder(s) is critical to an early stage organization’s growth.
- They recognize that going full-time requires resources that you may still be putting together, and if that is the case they are happy to start a conversation with you in the meantime.
- They value diversity of people proximate to the problem at hand and a commitment to foster justice, equity, inclusion, and belonging practices.
- Idea or pre-pilot stage organizations.
- Organizations that do not plan to expand or scale their impact to achieve their mission.
- Projects housed within an established, mature organization (unless there is a plan to spin out).
- Awareness or field building campaigns.
- Organizations whose sole focus is the development of research.
- Programs promoting religious doctrine.
- US 501(c)4 organizations.
- Submit Applications | 6 Weeks
- The Foundation has a rolling online application process throughout the year; there is no deadline to apply. After each application is received, it is carefully reviewed by a Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation staff member. Based on their appraisal of the fit of the venture with their investment style, they select approximately 25% of applications to move to a first interview. Those not invited will receive an email around six weeks after submission to bring the process to a close.
- First Interview: Exploratory Phase | 1-2 Months
- Within a month or two, interviews are arranged via email. In the interview (phone or in-person), a member of the DRK team will talk with you about you, your idea and your plan for the social enterprise. There may be a few subsequent calls with other members of the DRK team.
- Due Diligence + Follow-on Interviews | 1-2 Months
- Approximately 25% of those interviewed will move on to the diligence phase. This is a more in-depth process in which the entrepreneur provides resources, materials and plans. The DRK team member deeply researches your idea, the marketplace, and the skills of your team. They talk to people in your network whom you have recommended and to people in their own network familiar with the issue you are addressing. At any point in this process, if there isn’t a fit, they will let you know to honor your time and effort. About 15% will continue through to the final diligence phase.
- Final Diligence: Planning and Scheduling | 1-2 Months
- Toward the end of their diligence, the entrepreneur and DRK work towards very clear goals for the new venture, including metrics and milestones that help articulate the organization’s ability to achieve its mission. These metrics will be used in their work with the organization throughout the 3-year funding term. These plans are a critical foundation for the launch and expansion of the venture. In addition, they ask you to meet several other members of their team.
- Grant Awarded | 3-6 Months
- DRK investments are distributed twice a year over a three-year term, totaling $300,000. A senior member of the DRK team, most frequently the team member who led the diligence process, will join the board of the organization for the 3-year term to actively support the entrepreneur to build capacity in the social venture to scale and realize their goals.
For more information, visit https://www.drkfoundation.org/apply-for-funding/what-we-fund/