Seeds of Hope 2014 Grant Guidelines

The Urban Foundation's Seeds of Hope program provides small grants to support faith-based community projects in Los Angeles County.  The purpose of these grants is to support work that meets the social and economic needs of urban neighborhoods and their residents.  Seeds of Hope grants typically provide "seed money" for new projects in established organizations. Seeds of Hope grants are also given to fund core operating expenses in emerging organizations. Awards often go to groups with innovative approaches to problems in economically and socially distressed communities that other grantmakers might deem too risky to fund.

 In 2013 the Urban Foundation, inspired by the success of its Kid City program, aligned its grant-making with its program priorities on youth leadership, development, college access and college completion. 

In 2014, we hope to encourage and strengthen other faith-based programs with a similar focus and to partner with them by awarding small grants paired with professional development and technical assistance. This narrowed focus allows the Urban Foundation to make use of its expertise and experience, and to strengthen a network of faith-based youth leadership and college access and completion programs.

Guidelines: This year, funding is limited, and will be based in part on the success of our 30th anniversary fundraising campaign. Based on availability of funds, we hope to award six to eight grants of $1500 - $4000. We strongly encourage current and former Seeds of Hope grantees and Communities of Shalom participating churches to apply. 

Foundational principles: Every young person has a right to an education; faith-based institutions can play a pivotal role in helping underrepresented young people obtain access to higher education. These young people are the “seeds of hope” for the future. In addition, we believe that 

  • by focusing on youth leadership, college access and completion, churches and related faith-based organizations can focus their “social mission” in an area of great need and provide very real and needed support to young people in their neighborhoods. 
  • At the same time, many young people are interested in questions of faith, and often have unmet spiritual needs, or just need to experience first-hand people of faith actively involved in real-world problems that affect them. 
  • But these sorts of programs lift up everyone involved. Staff, volunteers, and church members will be energized, and institutions revitalized, as they connect to young people who are determined to achieve personally, in order to help their families, communities, and others like themselves.

Eligibility Criteria: An organization or project is eligible to apply for funding for the Seeds of Hope 2014 grant cycle only if it meets all of the following criteria:

  • Currently operates a youth leadership, college access and/or completion program
  • Serves primarily low-income and very low-income youth who are among the first generation in their families to attend college, or who are members of an underrepresented demographic
  • Has an annual budget of less than $100,000
  • Be located in an urban pocket in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
  • Is faith-based, meaning that the project is either affiliated with a religious congregation or spiritual organization
  • Serves teens and young adults of any religious orientation without an expectation that they become members of the sponsoring church

Churches are encouraged to apply, but religious organizations should know that funds may only be used for projects that serve the broader community, as opposed to programs that primarily serve the internal congregation. For example, an afterschool program that assists youth in the neighborhood surrounding a church would be eligible for funding; a Bible Study or other program that benefits only church members would not.

Prior Seeds of Hope grant recipients are eligible to apply for new funding, however renewed funding is not guaranteed.

Grant Conditions

  • Grants are provided in one lump sum and are intended to be applied to program activities between September 30, 2014 and August 31, 2015. 
  • Grantees will be required to submit a brief one-page report by September 30, 2015. Reports should highlight program outcomes (or progress if the work is still underway) and identify how Urban Foundation funding was spent. Grantees who neglect to turn in reports will not be considered for funding in the next round of Seeds of Hope grantmaking.
  • As part of the grant program, the Urban Foundation may host a series of day-long workshops for all grantees, which will allow organizations to learn from one another and hear from experts on youth leadership, college access and completion subjects.
  • Grantees should expect at least one site visit from an Urban Foundation staff or board member during the course of the grant year.

Application: Please download a PDF or Word document here

Application Process: Proposals and attachments must be emailed to [email protected] or postmarked and mailed to the Urban Foundation's offices by Tuesday, October 28, 2014. 

To apply, please submit one copy of a complete proposal, including three sections and three attachments. The three sections are:

  1. Organizational Information
  2. Proposal Narrative
  3. Proposed Project Budget

The attachments that should accompany the proposal are:

  1. IRS 501(c)3 Tax Determination Letter
  2. Current organizational budget
  3. List of current board of directors or board of advisors
  4. (OPTIONAL) No more than two supplementary documents detailing your project, such as a brochure

Proposals may be emailed to [email protected] or mailed via US Postal service to: Los Angeles United Methodist Urban Foundation; Seeds of Hope Program, 714 W. Olympic Blvd. Suite 922, Los Angeles, CA  90015

The Urban Foundation Seeds of Hope Grants Committee will review all submitted proposals. If there are questions about your application, a member of the Grants Committee may request a phone interview with the contact person listed on the application. The Grants Committee will make funding recommendations to the Urban Foundation's Board of Directors. All applicants will receive notice of final funding decisions by Friday, December 19, 2014.

Questions: If you have questions about the application process, eligibility criteria, or funding process, feel free to contact the Urban Foundation's Executive Director, Anne Hawthorne, at 213-749-0212 ext. 2#, or email us at [email protected]