Fund

Today’s global challenges are massive, and affect the planet and people’s lives with equal impact. We need to move beyond the myopic view that we can solve global challenges one sector at a time. Yet, few organizations are equipped to do the needed cross-sector work, and only a few progressive funders are supporting it. We seek to change that, and launched the Bridge Spark Fund as a catalyst to empower teams and demonstrate what’s possible through solutions that deliver cross-sector impact.

Bridge Spark Fund

Having completed rounds of seed grants in 2017 and 2018, the Bridge Collaborative has helped spark new, powerful cross-sector projects through offering Bridge Spark Awards (see here for past winners). Learning from and building on these experiences, we launched the Bridge Spark Fund – a funding opportunity to expand the pipeline of integrated solutions ready to address today’s most pressing global challenges. 

The Bridge Spark Fund will grant four US$150,000 awards to advance testing of solutions that benefit people and nature related to the following challenges:

  • Accelerating a low-carbon, clean air and environmentally-friendly energy future for all
  • Transforming the global food system for health and sustainability
  • Improving sanitation and wastewater management to benefit people and nature

See more details in the original Request for Proposals here.

We received 256 pre-proposal applications, and we selected 51 semi-finalists (listed below) to submit full proposals. These teams were also invited to participate in a virtual “bootcamp” focused on strengthening the scalability and clarifying cross-sector impacts of these concepts.

For more information on the three challenges, please read our new report co-authored with the UN Development Programme titled Bigger Change Faster: Integrated Development, Health, and Environment Actions for a Sustainable Future.

Bridge Spark Fund Judges

The Bridge Spark Fund semi-finalists were invited to submit full proposals, which are reviewed by a panel of external judges, including funders and subject-matter experts.

Judges for US Impact proposals

Dana Bourland, Vice President – Environment, JPB Foundation

Chad English, Science Program Officer, David & Lucile Packard Foundation

David Fleming, VP Global Health Programs, PATH

Lisa Graumlich, Dean, University of Washington, College of Environment

Jan Mazurek, Director, Carbon Dioxide Removal Fund, ClimateWorks Foundation

LaKisha Odom, Scientific Program Director, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research

Alonzo Plough, VP Research-Evaluation-Learning & Chief Science Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Timothy Profeta, Director, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy, Duke University

Judges for Low and Middle-Income Country impact proposals

Ruchi Badola, Senior Professor, Wildlife Institute of India

Patricia Balvanera, Professor, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Karen Levy, Associate Professor, Emory University

Steve McCormick, Managing Director, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

Mark Sanderson, Managing Program Director, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies

Jolyne Sanjak, Senior Associate, Tetra Tech

Sara Scherr, President & CEO, EcoAgriculture Partners

Stanley Wood, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bridge Spark Fund Semi-Finalists

Accelerating a low-carbon, clean air and environmentally friendly future for all

This challenge includes impacts to: Greenhouse gas emissions Renewable energy access Health risks from air pollutionEnergy infrastructure risks for rivers, lands or oceans

Nature’s Power to Mitigate Climate Change and Support Rural Economies

Lead applicant: Campbell Moore, The Nature Conservancy

Reducing Poverty by Developing Decentralized Renewable Energy

Lead applicant: Junjie Zhang, Duke Kunshan University

Software to bring equity to vulnerable communities by slashing pollution from most electricity-consuming devices worldwide

Lead applicant: Katie Ryan, Watttime

A market-based approach to scaling up low-impact solar siting and design

Lead applicant: Liz Kalies, The Nature Conservancy

Partner: Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment

Supporting Cambodia’s Sustainable Power Sector Transition

Lead applicant: Luke Walley, World Wildlife Fund

Breaking the cycles of poverty and disease through clean cookstoves in Ifanadiana, Madagascar

Lead applicant: Mathilde Hutchings, PIVOT

Low-Impact Renewable Energy Roadmap Collaboration

Lead applicant: Nels Johnson, The Nature Conservancy

Factors impacting sustained use of cleaner cooking systems in poor communities of rural India

Lead Applicant: Praveen Kumar, Boston College

Partner: Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (Mumbai), India

Advancing the Renewables Revolution: Myanmar

Lead Applicant: Pyae Phyo, World Wildlife Fund

Koko cooks! Evaluating a novel clean cooking system for sub-Saharan Africa

Lead Applicant: Rob Ballis, Stockholm Environment Institute

Partner: University of Michigan, North Carolina State University

Sustainable energy for cooking in Africa: the first mile in the low carbon, clean air, environmentally friendly journey

Lead Applicant: Voahirana Randriambola, World Wildlife Fund Madagascar

Transforming the global food system for health & sustainability

This challenge includes impacts to: Malnutrition from over or underconsumption and/or poor dietary diversity Agriculture productivity (yields of crops, forage, livestock, fish, etc.)  Greenhouse gas emissions • Health risks from air pollution Habitat conversion Freshwater biodiversity risks from water use (e.g. irrigation) and water pollution (e.g. agrochemical & sediment pollution)

Transforming the Global Food System through Restorative Ocean Farming

Lead Applicant: Amy Blankstein, GreenWave

Bioleft: A collaborative, open source seed breeding initiative for sustainable food systems

Lead applicant: Anabel Marin, Bioleft

Partners: Facultad de Agronomía de la Universidad de Buenos Aires, Laboratorio de Ciencias de la Sostenibilidad de la Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM), STEPS Centre (UK), Red Nacional de Municipios y Comunidades que Fomentan la Agroecología (national network of counties and communities promoting agroecology), Movimiento Argentino para la Producción Orgánica (movement for organic production), Asociación para la Agricultura Biológico-Dinámica de Argentina (association for bio-dynamic agriculture), GOSSI (an emerging international network of open source initiatives).

Expanding the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification for Agriculture Service Providers in the United States to help meet Air and Water Quality Goals

Lead Applicant: Andrew Allman, Nutrient Stewardship Council

Partners: The Fertilizer Institute, Florida Fertilizer & Agrichemical Association, New York State Agribusiness Association, Ohio AgriBusiness Association

Innovative Rangeland Restoration in East Africa – InRangeRest

Lead Applicant: Anna Treydte, Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology

Partners: OIKOS East Africa, jusdiggit, Northern Tanzanian Rangeland Initiative

Shift Health Accelerator

Lead Applicant: Bobby Cochran, Willamette Partnership

Partners: Hawaii Good Food Alliance, Nonprofit Finance Fund

Incentive chains to increase intensive and fire-free livestock production in Bolivia

Lead Applicant: Carla Mendizabal, Conservation Strategy Fund

Transforming Pakistan’s Food System for Health and Sustainability

Lead Applicant: Catherine Gee, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

A National Food Policy for the USA

Lead Applicant: Chantal Clement, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems

Working with the state government of Jalisco to develop medium-term land use plans consistent with healthy diets, agricultural economic vibrancy, and environmental sustainability

Lead Applicant: Charlotte Gonzalez, Conservación del Territorio Insular Mexicano (ISLA, AC)

Partners: National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), National Institute of Public Health, Universidad Guanajuanto, University of California – Riverside, Colegio de Mexico, University of California – San Diego

Scaling rural poultry production to prevent a looming protein deficit, empower women, improve child nutrition and conserve critical wildlife corridors in Tanzania

Lead Applicant: David Wilkie, Wildlife Conservation Society

Partner: Silverlands Tanzania, LLC

Securing and Protecting Investments & Capacities for Environmental Sustainability (SPICES)

Lead Applicant: Elizabeth Wardle, Catholic Relief Services 

Designing U.S. dietary intervention pathways for achieving health and sustainability targets

Lead Applicant: Grace Wu, The Nature Conservancy

Partners: Sustainable Development Solutions Network; IIASA, UC San Diego, RTI International

Replate Food Rescue

Lead Applicant:  Jen Fedrizzi, Replate

Shining a Light on Food Systems: A Policymakers Toolbox for Food Systems Decision-making

Lead Applicant: Jessica Fanzo, Johns Hopkins University

Partner: Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, University of Michigan

Transforming Urban Organic Solid Wastes into Organic Fertilizer through Vermi-composting to Enhance Food/Nutrition Security and Environmental Sanitation in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia

Lead Applicant: Kassa Belay, Mekelle University

A new platform for sustainable diets in West Papua

Lead Applicant: M. Rubina Haroon, CIFOR

Partner: Center for Research and Development (BALITBANGDA) of West Papua Province

Cocoa agroforestry for biodiversity, productivity and health

Lead Applicant: Marieke Sassen, UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Partners: Wageningen University and Research, IITA

Mobile Layaway: Transforming Smallholder Farming in Africa

Lead Applicant: Michael Light, MyAgro

Putting aquatic foods at the center of a sustainable food transformation

Lead Applicant: Michelle Tigchelaar, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions 

Partners: Stockholm Resilience Centre; Stanford Center on Food Security and the Environment; EAT

Creating a REAL food culture in our schools for the health of our children and the planet.

Lead Applicant: Nora LaTorre, Eat Real Certified

Diversifying blue livelihoods through holistic ocean farming

Lead Applicant: Patrick Cage, Sustainable Ocean Alliance

Partners: University of California, Santa Cruz Coastal Science & Policy ; Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute ; the Gaining Research Experience in Africa for Tomorrow (GREAT) Institute, the Gambia

Sustaining and Scaling Climate Compatible Agriculture through Behavioral Strategies

Lead Applicant: Tanmatra Bhanti, Rare

Greenhouse-In-a-Box

Lead Applicant: Kaushik Kappagantulu, Kheyti

The Integrated Agroecology Toolkit: Five modest but scalable strategies that harness nature to resolve food and health challenges in tropical low- and middle-income nations

Lead Applicant: Timothy Treuer, University of Vermont

Sustainable Landscape transformation through Healthy Agricultural System implementations in upper Valle del Cauca, Colombia

Lead Applicant: Tomas Walschburger, The Nature Conservancy

Towards efficient food security in Nigeria: engaging interactive game board for micro-dosing training among farmers

Lead Applicant: Toyin Samuel Olowogbon, Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Empowerment

Impact at origin: catalyzing sustainable agriculture with smallholder farmers (FARM-TRACE)

Lead Applicant: William Sheldon & Kahlil Baker, Taking Root

Improving sanitation & wastewater management to benefit people & nature

This challenge includes impacts to: Access to safely managed sanitation services Adequate wastewater treatment Health risk from unsafe water (especially water borne infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance) Undernutrition from diarrheal disease Freshwater and/or marine biodiversity risks from sewage & untreated wastewater

Delivering human and ecosystem health co-benefits through investment in natural and built infrastructure: a Framework for a Fiji Watershed Fund

Lead Applicant: Amelia Wagner, University of Queensland

Partner: Wildlife Conservation Society, Fiji

Improving water reuse planning and implementation to benefit people and nature

Lead Applicant: Anne Thebo, Pacific Institute

Infrastructure Next

Lead Applicant: Bobby Cochran, Willamette Partnership

Partners: Center for Sustainable Infrastructure; ECONorthwest

Constructed Wetlands as a sanitation alternative in rural areas in the Paute watershed- Ecuador

Lead Applicant: Cristina de la Paz, The Nature Conservancy

Accelerating the Implementation of Advance Wastewater Technology for People and Nature

Lead Applicant: Holly Drinkuth, The Nature Conservancy

Wastewater Alternatives for Hawaii

Lead Applicant: John Anner, WAI Clean Water

Improving sanitation and wastewater management to benefit people and nature

Lead Applicant: Jos Hill & Natalia Scarlata, Coral Reef Alliance

Partners: University of Queensland, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, University of California – Irvine, PATH

Turning Waste Into Water for People and Nature

Lead Applicant: Kacy King, The Nature Conservancy

Community WASH Development for Healthier Homes and a Safer Environment

Lead Applicant: Linette Jonhera, Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology

Advanced Septic Installation – impact investing, nitrogen removal, contaminants of emerging concern

Lead Applicant: Sara Burns, The Nature Conservancy

Partner: Barnstable Clean Water Coalition

Bridge Spark Awards

In 2017 and 2018, the Bridge Collaborative ran two Bridge Spark Challenge cycles to seed new ideas for cross-sector impact. The positive outcomes from the eight winning teams and our experiences working with them informed the evolution of the Bridge Spark Fund. Please see here for more information about the projects that received Bridge Spark Awards.