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​Step by step guide to the My LA2050 Grants Challenge Application

Posted March 7, 2020 by Team LA2050

When applying for grant funding, it can sometimes be hard to understand what, exactly, each question is getting asking for. We get it – it's hard to take all your passion and expertise and boil it down into a short answer. To give you some help, we've listed all the questions on the My LA2050 Grants Challenge application along with our expert tips for making your application the best it can be!

Ready to start? You can access the application here.

1. Upload a picture that shows your organization in action – your awesome volunteers, the fabulous staff, the amazing artwork of your students, or the people you work with. You can also use your organization's logo (but pictures tend to resonate best with people that visit our website).

2. Project title. Think of a snappy title that summarizes your project in the most enticing way possible! When your proposal goes live on our site, audiences will form their first impression of your project through your photo and project title – so make sure they're as informative as possible.

3. The first question asks “In one to two sentences, please describe the mission of your organization (300 character limit):"

Here you can give a short overview of your organization or use your organization's mission statement.

4. Question two asks “In one to three sentences, please succinctly describe the project or program this grant will support (550 character limit)"

The keyword here is “succinctly!" We are looking for a short summary of what will be accomplished with this grant. We are not looking for another description of your organization.

5. Next, we ask for a a sample tweet encouraging people to vote for your organization's project/proposal (280 characters or less)

We want everyone to know about the work you're doing and this helps us promote your project. Think about writing a line that sums up your project's impact. Please include your organization twitter handle and any partners on the project.

6. In question four and five you will select the goals and metrics your submission will impact:

We recommend you choose the primary goal category (Live, Learn, Connect, Create, or Play) based on the LA2050 metrics that best fit your proposal. You can choose up to three metrics for your proposal.

7. For the question that asks “In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?" Please only select areas in which you will be directly working (there is no benefit for being in a lot of places and there is no detriment to just serving one part of LA). You can select specific areas of LA, or you can select the entire county or city. But please only select “County of Los Angeles" IF your project has a countywide benefit and “City of Los Angeles" IF your project has a citywide benefit. Select LAUSD only if you have a district-wide partnership.

8. In question seven, “In what stage of innovation is this project?" Choose the response that most closely fits your proposal. Short descriptions follow:

a. Research (initial work to identify and understand the problem)

b. Pilot project or new program (testing or implementing a new idea)

c. Expand existing program (expanding and continuing ongoing successful projects or programs)

d. Applying a proven model or solution to a new issue or sector (e.g, using a job recruiting software or strategy to match clients to supportive housing sites, applying demonstrated strategies from advocating for college affordability to advocating for housing affordability and homelessness, etc.)

9. Question 8: Which of LA2050's resources will be of the most value to you? (check all that apply) Aside from grant funding, we want to know any other needs of your organization. We have partners that may be able to provide in-kind donations such as office space, tech support, and more.

10. Now we get into the longer form questions, like question nine: Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

a. What is the project context / what is the need you're responding to (1,000 character limit) Here, we want to better understand why you've decided to take this project on. Why now? And how did you decide on this particular project or proposal? Use this answer to highlight the need for your services.

b. Why are you uniquely suited to take this on? (1,000 character limit) Here we are asking for important context about your organization that makes you uniquely qualified for this work. Use this answer to highlight your expertise, track record, and ability to be successful.

11. In question 10 we ask you to explain how you will define and measure success for your project. Describe your vision for success for this project. (1,500 character limit) We want to know what you hope to accomplish with this grant (in both the short and long-term). We want to know exactly how you will define and measure success. What outcomes do you hope to see and how will you track them? The key here is that you have very clear ideas about how to know you're successful, not necessarily that you have very sophisticated data collection.

12. Question 11 asks for a a timeline and description of the activities for this project (for the duration of the grant period - approx. July 2020 - July 2021). Here, we'd like to understand the milestones on the path to success. We want to understand what will happen at each stage of the grant and when?

13. Question 12 asks about the impact of your project.

First we'd like to know approximately how many people will be directly impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact is the output your proposal will produce or the number of people primarily impacted. eg: Your proposal will train 300 teachers or volunteers.

Secondly, we ask b. how many people will be indirectly impacted by this proposal?

Indirect impact is the secondary or long-term effects of your proposal that you hope to accomplish. eg: The 300 teachers/volunteers you train will educate over 5,000 students)

14.Once you've totaled your impact, question 13 asks for just a little more information by asking you to “describe the broader impact of your proposal."

Depending on your proposal, you may want to include a description of its impact on the environment and physical space, its impact on policy, impact on the future of the city, a description of the population being served by this proposal, an explanation of the numbers provided in question 12, and other intangibles. Note: DO NOT try to address EACH of these, choose one or two. This question is intended to help those proposals for which impact is harder to classify than simply direct vs. indirect. If your proposal is not people-centric, describe its impact here. Otherwise, use this question to dive deeper into the impact of your work.

15. The finish line is close! Question 14 asks for a line-item budget describing how you will use the grant funding to implement your project or activities. We understand the difficulty of creating a budget for a hypothetical future project; a good proposal will include a budget that is realistic and thorough. Please provide us with a budget for the first-place, $100,000 grant. If selected as a winner, you will have an opportunity to make adjustments to the budget you provide here, but we expect this one to be as close to final as possible. You should indicate your main areas of expense for the grant. Please also be sure to detail any funding that will be allocated to collaborators on the project.

16. Last question! Question 15: If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organization/s in the project. (800 character limit) (optional)

This question only applies if you are submitting a collaborative proposal. Describe your partners and their role in the project.

Ready to start? You can access the application here.