Deadline: Rolling Basis.
Apply now for the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DRK) Grants!
DRK Foundation is a global venture philanthropy firm supporting early stage, high impact social enterprises. They believe that with early funding and rigorous support, exceptional leaders, tackling some of society’s most complex problems, can make the world a better place.
They are excited about the opportunity to learn about your work. DRK funds social impact organizations focused on addressing the worlds biggest and most pressing problems. They recognize that applying for funding is a significant time investment.
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. DRK team conducts deep diligence on social enterprises that move to the final stages of consideration, as many of the proposed ventures are cutting edge. This includes a thorough scan of existing approaches to the issue at hand and the likelihood of success and sustained impact the proposed project could achieve, as well as assessment of the entrepreneur’s leadership ability.
DRK’s hope is 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.
- 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 our 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.
Stages for Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DRK) Grants
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 our appraisal of the fit of the venture with our investment style, we 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. We talk to people in your network whom you have recommended and to people in our own network familiar with the issue you are addressing.
- At any point in this process, if there isn’t a fit, we 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 our 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 our 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, we ask you to meet several other members of our team.
Grant Awarded | 3-6 Months
- DRK investments are distributed twice a year over a three-year term, totaling $300,000.
- For for-profit organizations, we typically make program-related investments with an initial investment of $150,000 and we’ll do a subsequent investment of another $150,000 depending on the achievement of certain organizational metrics and milestones.
- 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.
- We recognize that going full-time requires resources that you may still be putting together, and if that is the case we are happy to start a conversation with you in the meantime.
- We value diversity of people proximate to the problem at hand and a commitment to foster justice, equity, inclusion, and belonging practices.
- Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation accepts applications for funding year round. Completing an application is the first step of our process to help us get to know you and your social enterprise so they can assess your initial fit for their portfolio.
- The online application should take about 30-60 minutes to complete. If you would like to save your progress and resume later, please be sure to check the box at the top of the online form to save your information.
- Upload with your application a written executive summary; pitch deck, or business plan document addressing the following topics. Any additional materials (e.g. financials) are welcome, but completely optional.
Problem and solution
- Succinctly describe the mission and objectives of the organization.
- Describe the social problem your organization addresses.
- Describe the solution your organization provides.
- Explain how your organization improves on existing efforts, with specific names of organizations addressing the same problem if possible/relevant.
- Explain how your approach is systemic and unique.
- Describe the organization’s tangible results to date, detailing how you plan to measure organizational outcomes and success in the future.
- Explain how you plan to scale the organization over time.
- Explain the main sources of income that your organization will use to sustain your work over time.
- Please attach a standard resume/CV for the entrepreneur(s), not simply a text bio.
Visit DRK webpage for further information.on Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DRK) Grants