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Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge

Grants to USA, Canada, and International Nonprofits
and For-Profits for Innovative Humanitarian Solutions

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Grand Challenges Canada, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UK Department for International Development (DFID), and Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

07/16/19 11:00 AM ET


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Grants to USA, Canada, and International nonprofits, for-profits, and social enterprises for projects to develop, refine, and scale innovations that address issues faced by people in conflict-generated crises. Funding is intended specifically for innovations that save or improve the lives of the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people impacted by humanitarian crises caused by conflict.

The Humanitarian Grand Challenge is focused on addressing the most acute needs in conflict-affected areas that have the potential to be solved by innovation in one or more of the following four areas: (1) safe water and sanitation; (2) energy; (3) life-saving information; and/or (4) health supplies and services. Innovations must enable local solutions, serve local needs and delivery gaps, overcome common delivery barriers in conflict settings, or improve on the timeliness and cost efficiency of current humanitarian delivery methods. Innovations that help to maintain services and infrastructure, avoiding further deterioration, are also welcome.

There are two types of funding available: seed funding and Transition To Scale funding.

To receive seed funding, applicants must demonstrate potential relevance to, or identify potential opportunities for collaboration with the private sector. Seed applications are encouraged to demonstrate a potential connection to the private sector by (but not limited to): discussing a current or potential private sector partner, a market-based approach, an eventual transition to a local partner, a sustainable business or market solution. By the end of the seed award, innovators who have demonstrated proof of concept of the idea, developed a plan for scale and sustainability, and attracted commitments from key stakeholders and partners may be invited to apply for Transition To Scale program funding.

Applications for Transition To Scale funding must demonstrate engagement, collaboration and/or approaches created with or by the private sector in their design, evaluation or implementation, and are required to have matching funds (cash/cash equivalent). Private sector actors are often uniquely effective at quickly and cost-efficiently producing or delivering goods or services that cannot be otherwise supplied by traditional forms of humanitarian assistance.

Focus Area Details:

Definition of People Affected by Conflict:

Activities and Deliverables:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 186058

Number of Grants:

Up to 25 seed projects and up to 5 Transition To Scale projects

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Seed Projects: Up to $250,000 CAD. In addition to award funding, awardees may receive additional support, such as publicity and marketing promotional support; access to exclusive industry, investor and partner networking events; and basic acceleration support, mentorship opportunities and partnership brokering.

- Transition To Scale: Up to $1,000,000 CAD. The Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners will support networking of funded innovators with private sector, humanitarian actors and other stakeholders to increase the likelihood of success. Technical and advisory support may be provided to nurture the scalability and sustainability of humanitarian innovations. In addition, awardees may receive additional support, such as publicity and marketing promotional support; access to exclusive industry, investor and partner networking events; and basic acceleration support, mentorship opportunities and partnership brokering.

Term of Contract:

Awards are to be used over a maximum of twenty-four (24) months.

- Anticipated start date of seed projects: June 2020
- Anticipated start date of Transition To Scale projects: Sept 2020

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

1. Eligible applicants include social enterprises and other recognized institutions (e.g., nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies) that are formed and legally incorporated, that can successfully execute the activities in their respective technical area, and that are capable of receiving and administering grant funding. Sole proprietorships are not eligible for funding. In past experience, multilateral organizations such as the UN are typically unable to agree to the terms and conditions of our funding agreements. It is highly recommended that these organizations instead apply through a local eligible partner organization. Staff from the UN office could act as collaborators on the project.
2. A project can have only one Project Lead, who must be affiliated with the institution from which the proposal is being submitted.
3. A Project Lead may only be listed on one (1) application to this Request for Proposals. An institution may be the applicant on multiple applications, provided all applications have different Project Leads.
4. Applications must include all required information. Only complete applications will be considered by the Review Committee.
5. The Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners may, at any time and at their sole discretion, modify eligibility criteria with respect to individual applicants, Project Leads and/or eligible countries, to the extent that such modifications do not materially undermine the review process.

Please note that Grand Challenges Canada must approve any changes in applicant organization, institution or Project Lead from the originally-funded grant.

Not Funded:
1. Approaches that utilize security-related surveillance, weapons, force or similar technologies.
2. Discovery science, merely capacity-building initiatives, ongoing programmatic funding or infrastructure development.
3. Projects that involve establishing proof of concept of innovations for which the core intellectual property rights are owned by a third-party institution, unless either: (a) the third-party institution has granted the applicant sufficient license rights to the innovation to permit eventual scaling in relevant countries, or (b) the third-party institution is willing to sign an undertaking to Grand Challenges Canada committing to comply with Grand Challenges Canada’s Global Access Policy.

Pre-Application Information:

Application Timelines:
- Registration Deadline: July 5, 2019
- Application Deadline: July 16, 2019, no later than 11:00 AM North America Eastern Time Zone (15:00 GMT)
- Notification of application status: January 2020
- Anticipated start date of seed projects: June 2020
- Anticipated start date of Transition To Scale projects: Sept 2020

Applicants must first create an account before applying. Once you have created an account, please allow up to one (1) business day for Grand Challenges Canada to process your account request. Once your information has been processed, you will be emailed login credentials to access the Portal to submit your application.

Due to processing times, it is suggested to register for a Fluxx account no later than July 5, 2019.

Most Transition To Scale awardees will be required to secure a 1:1 match within the TTS funding period; however, this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis during the due diligence process.

For further information and instructions in additional languages:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To access the online application form, applicants must first create an account using the following link:

For questions related to this Request for Proposals that are not addressed in the FAQ, contact

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon


International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.