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Miller Innovation Fund

Grants to Massachusetts Nonprofits in Eligible
Locations for Social Justice Initiatives

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Herman and Frieda L. Miller Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

06/25/21 11:59 PM


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Grants of up to $50,000 to Massachusetts nonprofit organizations in eligible locations for social justice initiatives. Applicants must contact program staff and submit a concept paper prior to a final proposal. Funding in light of the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is intended to support creative thinking, information collection, and planning. The projects proposed must be experimental in outlook, seeking to learn from both successes and mistakes. The Fund recognizes that effective innovations may come from intermediary organizations, collaborations and networks, as well as stand-alone organizations. The Foundation supports civic engagement, advocacy, and community organizing in Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the failures as a society to care for the most vulnerable. It presents an opportunity to challenge the legitimacy, inclusiveness, norms, and effectiveness of entrenched service systems. The multi-dimensional crisis has revealed areas where society can do much better. The goal of Miller Innovation Fund at this inflection point is to help guide organizations towards opportunities for deep transformation of services or organizations to more effectively support the most vulnerable during and beyond this period of crisis and recovery.

Community-based services are understandably focused on day-to-day operations and survival. Few have the resources to step back and consider new ways of delivering services, and funds will be prioritized to support exactly these efforts: understanding and acting on learnings from the current period.

The Fund will support work targeting the most vulnerable such as those affected by homelessness, domestic violence, immigration or refugee status, disability, addiction and mental illness, former incarceration or old age, and similar populations, and/or those excluded from or challenged to obtain health services access, vaccine access, or economic relief. Practically, the Fund seeks approaches that problem-solve, experiment, and test new ideas that can lead to breakthroughs in serving populations in need. At a more visionary level, the Fund hopes that some projects will help seed an agenda for reform.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 140411

Number of Grants:

The fund expects to make about five new grants in 2021.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants will range from $25,000 to $50,000

Term of Contract:

One year of project support.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations working in Massachusetts. Large organizations, academic institutions, national organizations, or consultants may only apply with a community partner as the lead organization.

The fund is not in a position to support:
- Day to day work of organizations
- Organizational support or recovery resulting from the pandemic
- Startup of new organizations

Pre-Application Information:

How to Apply:
- Step 1 – (Required) Prospective applicants must talk with a Miller Foundation program officer, whose contact information is below. During this 5–10-minute conversation, the applicant should be prepared to outline the proposed intervention, its qualification as an innovation, and its fit with the fund’s priorities. Promising applicants will be given a code to use online in uploading a concept paper.

- Step 2 – (Required) Applicants given the access code must upload a 2-3 page concept paper, describing the project, its desired outcomes and a summary of the budget. Concept papers must be submitted by Friday, April 16th using the GMA Foundations Online Application System.

- Step 3 – Based on the concept papers, invited applicants only will submit proposals using the online platform maintained by GMA Foundations, by June 25th.


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

Direct questions to:
Prentice Zinn
Telephone: (617)391-3091

Amy Shorey
Telephone: (671)391-3072

The Herman and Frieda Miller Foundation
c/o GMA Foundations
2 Liberty Square, Suite 500
Boston, MA 02109

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts: Greater Boston and Eastern region

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