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Shining a Light


Shining A Light is proud to announce the selection of the following organizations and projects as recipients of Shining A Light grants:

  • American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California: California Bail Reform Campaign
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota Foundation/Minnesota Civil Liberties Union Foundation: Minneapolis Warrant Amnesty Project
  • National Center for Fair & Open Testing, Inc.: Advancing Racial Justice in College Admissions through Testing Reform
  • PICO National Network: PICO’s National Racial Equity Training Program: Organizing at the Nexus of Race, Faith, and Power
  • Race Forward: Center for Racial Justice Innovation: Colorlines
  • The Dream Unfinished/Black Women’s Blueprint: Music For Youth Orchestra


The fund plans to distribute grants to support projects that work to heal historic racial divides, identify and eradicate bias, and activate solutions. 

All applicants must fully complete the Fund for Progress on Race in America ONLINE Grant Application by February 29, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST to be considered, including the submission of all necessary attachments. You may save your work and return to your application at a later time. Partial, faxed, emailed or mailed applications or those not received on time due to user error will not be considered.  The following attachments (.pdf, .xls, .doc, or .docx) must be uploaded during the submission process:

Assistance for Grant Applicants

Questions about the grant guidelines and application process can be sent to ShiningALight@civic-us.com.

In addition, the Fund for Racial Progress in America will host a conference call for the added benefit of grant seekers. The call will afford applicants with the opportunity to ask questions about the application, proposal criteria or other proposal-related questions. Participation IS NOT mandatory, but is encouraged. The call will be held on February 10 2016, at 1:00 p.m. EST. Click here to register. After registering you will be given an individual dial-in number for the call. You must register to participate.

Additional Resources:

  • View Fund for Progress on Race in America evaluation guidelines.  
  • View Fund for Progress on Race in America Official Rules
  • Download sample Pledge to not use any grant funding for lobbying
  • Recording of Applicant Conference Call 2/10/16
  • Additional Grant Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of projects will be funded?

The Fund for Progress on Race in America will make grants for the following charitable purposes within the United States: 

  1. Education and awareness about the causes and effects of racial divisiveness.
  2. The promotion of social and criminal justice reform for all regardless of race.
  3. The elimination of race-based bias and discrimination.
  4. Innovative approaches to address racism, including those with a focus on youth organizing.

What types of projects are not eligible for funding?

As required by the United States Tax Code, grant funds cannot be used to: 

  1. Engage in direct lobbying activities (i.e., contacting legislators regarding specific legislation).
  2. Engage in grassroots lobbying activities (i.e., encouraging the public to contact legislators regarding specific legislation). 
  3. Participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for elective public office.
  4. Support a voter registration drive (unless the grantee is a Section 4945(f) organization).
  5. Benefit a private party (other than through providing grant funds to conduct activities in furtherance of charitable and educational purposes).

What range of funding will be available?

Grants will be awarded in amounts up to $40,000.

What is the deadline for applying?  

Applications must be received through the online application process by 11:59 PM on February 29, 2016. 

Can I apply by mail?

No, the only means of applying is by the online application, which can be accessed at shiningalightconcert.com

Is my application automatically saved?

No, you will have to save your work via the save function on the application.

How do I return to an incomplete application that I saved, but have not yet submitted?

During the application process you will be able to save your partially complete work. You will be able to log back into the application using the login and password created at the beginning of the application process and complete or edit your work until the close of the application period. 

Can I make changes to an application that has already been submitted?

You will be able to log back into the application and edit your work until the close of the application period.

How do I know that my application has been received?

A confirmation message that your application has been submitted will appear on screen. Before submitting your application you will also see messaging if you have not completed all fields.  Should you be selected for a grant award you will be notified via email by April 25, 2016.  

Who is eligible to apply?

The Fund will support organizations working on making progress on race. Eligible organizations must be exempt from federal income taxes under section 501(c)(3) of the IRC, or eligible to receive charitable contributions as defined under section 170 (a) of the IRC, including faith-based organizations. 

Individuals who wish to receive grant funds must be sponsored by a 501(c)(3) organization. If you are an individual looking to apply for a grant, you must identify a tax exempt organization to serve as your fiscal and oversight sponsor. The organization would be the official applicant and recipient of any award granted.  

I am an individual interested in applying. What does finding a tax exempt fiscal sponsor entail?

Grants can only be awarded to organizations with tax exempt status. If you are an individual not affiliated with a tax exempt organization you will need to identify an organization that will sponsor you.

Any funds awarded would be distributed directly to the tax exempt organization. That organization would be the fiscal sponsor of the proposed program and would be responsible for managing any funds distributed.

Any distribution of funds from the tax exempt organization to the individual seeking to perform the work would be contingent on an agreement made between the individual and that tax exempt organization. This would be independent of any award agreement between the recipient tax exempt organization and A+E and United Way Worldwide. 

What are the evaluation criteria? 

Each Grant application will evaluated based on the following criteria:

Institution Criteria [10% of total evaluation]

  • Does the APPLICANT INSTITUTION have the appropriate and properly trained staff and internal capacity to execute the program as presented in the application? (10%)

General Proposal Criteria [35% of total score]

  • Evaluation of overall quality and completeness of the concept proposal. (5% of score)
  • Are the project goals stated clearly? Are they concrete and specific enough to be measurable? (10% of score)
  • Evaluation of the potential social impact of the proposed project. (20% of score)

Plan of Work Criteria [35% of total score]

  • General rating of the project’s likelihood of success as defined by success criteria described in the application. (15% of score)
  • Are the goals, objectives, and primary tasks set forth feasible? (5% of score)
  • Does the proposal provide sufficient time, according to the timetable, for the accomplishment of project goals? Is too much time provided? (5% of score)
  • Are generally accepted standards being followed and/or does the proposal indicate awareness of the factors contributing to success or failure? (5% of score)
  • Does the work plan and proposed methodology make sense? Is there a more logical or efficient manner of proceeding toward the accomplishment of stated project goals? (5% of score)

Personnel Criteria [10% of total score]

  • Does the proposal indicate the names, qualifications, and duties of all known personnel involved in a substantive way? (5% of score)
  • Does the plan use personnel whose background and qualifications are appropriate for the project? (5% of score)

Budget Criteria [10% of total score]

  • Do the budget line items seem typical and appropriate? (5% of score)
  • Does the proposed budget seem adequate to execute successfully? Is it over budget? (5% of score)

If I am awarded a grant, what are the reporting requirements?

Any organization awarded a grant will be responsible for filing a mid-term report and a final report detailing use of grant funds to date and program milestones and outcomes.  

I have more to say than will fit in the character limit. Can I upload additional files to supplement my application?

The only attachments that will be accepted are those specifically asked for on the list of required attachments. The online application form does not allow for the uploading of additional files. We strongly encourage you to provide as much detail as possible within the character limits provided in the online application form.  

Can I submit more than one application?

Any organization can submit multiple grant applications. Each application will need to be created with a unique email address. Create separate login accounts for each application you submit. 

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