Spark Fund FAQs

Please see below for answers to frequently asked questions about the Bridge Spark Fund. We will be updating this page throughout the open submission phase.

Q: Can I submit a proposal led by a team that is not from the United States or a Low- or Middle-income Country (LMIC)?

A: Yes, applicant teams can be based in any qualifying countries (see restrictions in the next paragraph). For the project to be eligible, the proposed impact must be in the U.S. and/or an LMIC. We value increasing the diversity of leadership, therefore, we welcome and encourage applications from teams led by individuals from LMICs and/or led by individuals from historically underrepresented groups in the U.S. 

Please note that the Fund is executed under the laws of the U.S., and U.S. law prohibits terrorist financing and engaging with sanctioned country programs. No grants will be made or expenses incurred in contravention of OFAC Sanctioned Programs, or to any individuals or entities that appear on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List maintained by the U.S. Treasury, or the U.N. Security designation list.

Q: Can I submit a proposal in a language other than English?

A: Unfortunately, we are only able to accept proposals submitted in English.

Q: My organization is an LLC, can I apply to this fund?

A: While we recognize the benefit of an LLC structure, for this funding opportunity, we are only able to make grants available to non-profit organizations (including non-profit institutions of higher education), governmental entities or agencies (including public institutions of higher education), or public multilateral organizations. Private companies can be included as sub-awardees, but cannot be lead applicants

Q: Can I submit more than one proposal from the same organization? Can an individual submit more than one proposal?

A: Yes, you may submit multiple proposals from a given organization or individual. A given organization (but not individual) will be eligible to receive multiple awards, if the proposals are ranked as the highest scoring, as described in the Proposal Narrative section (pages 5-6 of the RFP).

Q: Can I submit a proposal that adds a new impact to an already proven solution?

A: Yes! If, for example, you know of an agricultural intervention that increases crop yields, but which also lowers the crop’s nutritional content, you could propose to test whether an amended version of the intervention could deliver both higher yields and higher nutritional value. Or, you may know of a proven intervention for protecting freshwater biodiversity that does not yet help with sanitation. You could build off of that known conservation solution and propose a version that also aids sanitation. The idea does not have to be completely novel—it can expand on a known single-sector solution.

Q: Can I submit a proposal for an idea that is fully proven, and known to deliver on all aspects of a challenge?

A: Yes. However, if the fully proven solution is already being widely supported in many contexts, it will be less competitive as it should already be qualified for large funding streams. If there is a clear reason why this proven solution has not yet had large scale adoption and/or impact, then it could be competitive for this Fund.

Q: Can I submit a proposal for an idea that is completely new with no evidence of having any impact of any kind?

A: No — such ideas do not meet our criteria (in the RFP, please see bottom of page 1 for “strength of evidence” criteria and Figure 2 on page 2). We require that proposed solutions have evidence of at least one proposed impact and a clear theory for any other proposed impacts.

Q: Do I have to have a cross-sector team or partnership? Will large partnerships be preferred?

A: No! You only have to propose work that will deliver impacts (positive change) for multiple sectors, as described in the challenge elements. If you can do this with a single-sector team, go for it! For example, lack of access to sanitation is a driver of both human health concerns and freshwater biodiversity decline. Deploying an existing sanitation solution in a place where freshwater biodiversity is under high threat from sewage could deliver benefits for the multiple elements of the “Improving Sanitation and Wastewater Management to Benefit People and Nature” challenge area. You only have to convince the judges that you have thought about how your intervention will deliver all the benefits listed for this challenge area (see Challenge Elements on page 2 of the RFP) and that you or your team has the ability to deliver on what you propose.

Q: Does my project have to deliver on all three of the integrated challenges? 

A: No, your project only needs to address one of the integrated challenges. For the main challenge you choose to address, be sure to discuss all of the challenge elements listed in the RFP. If there is a challenge element for your chosen challenge that you will not impact, clearly explain why (it may not be relevant in your region of impact, for example).

Q: Does there have to be a “field” or implementation component to my proposal?

A: Yes! We are interested in funding impact. Winning proposals will include a field test of a new intervention, and/or implementation of a known solution that addresses all of the elements of a chosen Integrated Challenge. This means we will not support projects that only propose computer modeling, laboratory tests, theoretical work or similar activities. These activities can be a part of the work proposed, as long as there is also clear use of field trials and/or implementation.

Q: Are you open to funding a component of a project that already has funding, or do I have to propose a discrete task?

A: The work proposed does not need to be a stand-alone effort, we are certainly open to funding part of a project that is already well-resourced. The proposal should make clear why the additional funds are needed, and how their use will help drive larger impact or faster adoption.

Q: Would this grant cover salaries of team members that are providing administrative or operational support to the project?

A: Yes, you can include staff salaries relevant to the proposed work. You can also include up to a 10% indirect cost rate

Q: Is this going to be an annual source of funding? Do you expect to give new grants in 2020?

A: The Bridge Collaborative aims to support teams to drive bigger change faster for people and nature. Right now, we see a gap in the funding community where few major funders are providing support to this kind of work. We see the Bridge Spark Fund as a way to help fill this current gap, but we hope other major funders step up quickly and do more of this kind of funding themselves. We are open to extending the Fund to support more awards in this current round, or to provide additional funds in the future, but only so long as that is the most impactful way the Bridge Collaborative can support the kind of change we seek.

Q: If my proposal addresses all challenge elements from one of the challenges – is it acceptable to also address a few (but not all) elements from the other two challenges?

A: If you are able to address all of the challenge elements from a single challenge AND some from one or both of the other two challenges, even better. Describe any and all impacts you expect your project to have.

Q: Winning grants will end in Dec 2020. If the implementation of my project is seasonal, is it possible to negotiate the time frame?

A: We are open to discussing seasonal or other specific time constraints around your work, though any exceptions will need to be discussed with the founding donor. Please make any time exceptions clear in your pre-proposal, and if you are accepted into the next stage, we will discuss your timeline before requesting a full proposal.