Forward Promise: Empowerment Projects

2017 Call for Proposals

    Release Date: April 5, 2017 | Application Deadline: May 02, 2017, 3:00 p.m. ET


Forward Promise aims to promote opportunities for boys and young men of color (BYMOC) to heal, grow, and thrive in the face of chronic stress and trauma. Empowerment Projects seek to strengthen organizations that provide culturally relevant healing responses to trauma, and can partner with the youth-serving systems that touch BYMOC to advance new practices to prevent further traumatization. In doing so, it is important that the organizations use the stories of BYMOC’s resilience and healing to promote and inform their work, and that BYMOC themselves are the ones telling those stories. Forward Promise seeks to elevate the promising practices of Empowerment Projects grantees to advance a greater understanding of what it means for BYMOC to heal, grow, and thrive. Equipped with this understanding, we hope that other youth-serving organizations and systems can then identify and modify their policies and practices that, intentionally or not, serve as barriers to the health and success of BYMOC.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Awards will be made to organizations, not to individuals.
  • Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories.
  • Preference will be given to applicants that are either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations or Type III supporting organizations. The Foundation may require additional documentation.
  • Programs that serve both young men and women will be considered, but must indicate an explicit emphasis on improving outcomes for BYMOC. Additionally, preference will be given for organizations whose programs are made up of at least 50 percent male participants.
  • The applicant must have the administrative and financial capacity to manage an award of the size being requested. This includes proper governance, sufficient staffing and strong policies, procedures and internal controls. For consideration for grants in the amount of $450,000, this would generally indicate an annual operating budget of $1.2 million or more at the time of proposal submission. Applicants seeking grants in the amount of $150,000 would generally be expected to have an organizational budget of at least $500,000 annually at the time of proposal submission. Organizations with a budget of over $1.0 million will be considered only in the $450,000 category.

Key Dates

April 5 2017
Applications open for brief proposals.

April 20, 2017 (3 p.m. ET)
Optional Applicant Web Conference. Click here to access the slides and audio recording.

May 2, 2017 (3 p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of brief proposals.

May 26, 2017
Applicants notified of invitation to submit a full proposal.

June 1, 2017 (3 p.m. ET)
Optional full proposal applicant web conference. Registration is required. Details will be provided to successful Phase 1 applicants.

June 22, 2017 (3 p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of full proposals.

July 14, 2017
Applicants notified of plans for a site visit.

July and August 2017
Site visits to semifinalists.

September 2017
Finalists notified.

November 1, 2017
Start of grants.

Total Awards

  • Up to nine awards will be made through this initiative. To ensure the initiative is accessible to a variety of organizations, awards will be made in two sizes.
  • Up to six grants of up to $450,000 per grantee will be awarded, and up to three grants of up to $150,000 per grantee will be awarded. Award size consideration will be determined by the applicant’s administrative and financial capacity as described in the following section.
  • Grant duration will be two years.
  • Grants will begin on November 1, 2017.

Application is Now Closed

Application closed as of:
May 02, 2017, 3:00 p.m. ET

Key Contacts

University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
Racial Empowerment Collaborative
3720 Walnut St., Room B-20
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 573-8558

From the Blog

How Can We Help Boys and Young Men of Color Heal, Grow, and Thrive?

RWJF's Maisha Simmons introduces empowerment projects that will fund up to nine organizations committed to helping stem a systemic tide of trauma that boys and young men of color face.

Read the blog post