Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Request for Proposal for Organizational Grants

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1 Blackstone Charitable Foundation Request for Proposal for Organizational Grants July 2013

2 Table of Contents I. Purpose... 2 II. Background... 4 III. Grant Areas... 6 IV. Proposal Guidelines... 8 V. Information for Applications

3 I. Purpose 2

4 Purpose Dear Colleague: Research and experience have shown us that America s economic recovery depends on the ability of its businesses to continually innovate and come up with new products, services, and ventures. Over the past twenty years, two-thirds of all new jobs have been created by young companies. Without the influence of these startups, job growth would have been largely negative. With these facts in mind, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is committed to helping people around the world rediscover their spirit of entrepreneurship, harness their talents, and transform their creative ideas into viable companies that will contribute to the economic rebuilding of the global economy. To achieve this goal, we are directing grants to organizations that show unique and impactful approaches in support of entrepreneurship. Through these grants we hope to have a significant impact on these organizations in many communities and help contribute to job creation and economic development. We are issuing this Request for Proposal (RFP) which is intended to help identify specific organizations that focus on entrepreneurship, start-up activity, and job creation. We aim to help organizations pilot, expand, and replicate entrepreneurial activities and programs that will catalyze the growth of successful businesses, industries, and communities. Please take a moment to read the following pages for a more complete description of the Organizational Grant Program of our Entrepreneurship Initiative and send us your proposal. Thank you for helping us in this endeavor. Sincerely, Amy Stursberg Executive Director, Blackstone Charitable Foundation 3

5 II. Background 4

6 Background A. ABOUT THE BLACKSTONE CHARITABLE FOUNDATION The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of The Blackstone Group s Initial Public Offering in 2007 with substantial commitments from the Firm s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities. "We are looking for innovative projects and catalytic ideas that can cantribute to the economic rebuilding of the nation specifically in regions where talent is strong, ideas are abundant, and our capital can make a real difference spurring job growth." Steve Schwarzman Chariman, CEO, and Co-Founder In 2010, The Foundation made a 5-year, $50 million commitment to projects that foster entrepreneurship as a vehicle for job creation, innovation, and economic growth. The Entrepreneurship Initiative develops and supports innovative projects with the greatest potential to create high-growth business and industries that are most known to spark economic growth. The Foundation focuses its resources on producing large-scale results in geographies hardest hit by the global economic crisis. Current projects include Blackstone LaunchPad, which is training the next generation of entrepreneurs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Central Florida; the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, which is mentoring startups in North Carolina and helping bring their ideas to market; and Blackstone Accelerates Growth, which is creating Innovation Hubs in Maine that will propel companies in this rural economy to the next level of growth and profitability. In addition to these three program models, the Foundation also makes a series of targeted grants to entrepreneurial organizations each year. Through this program, we are helping innovative organizations pilot, expand or replicate programs that will catalyze the growth of successful businesses, industries, and communities. 5

7 III. Grant Areas 6

8 Grant Areas Blackstone Organizational Grants targets two program areas: A. PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP THROUGH EDUCATION We are looking to have an even greater impact by providing organizational grants to select organizations that help foster entrepreneurship in the classroom. Ideal proposals for this program area will meet the following criteria: 1. Uses the classroom to teach entrepreneurship to various populations 2. Targets traditionally underserved populations 3. Emphasizes entrepreneurship and innovation for students, not only financial literacy B. ADVANCING HIGH GROWTH ENTREPRENEURS We also hope to provide grants to organizations that provide businesses with access to the contacts and tools they need to develop new markets, invent new products, create jobs, and foster growth. Ideal proposals for this program area will meet the following criteria: 1. Provides early-stage entrepreneurs with the targeted resources they need to succeed and grow: mentorship, advice, practical business training, access to capital, etc. 2. Streamlines existing entities in order to create a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem C. WHAT WE DON T FUND Although we consider a variety of approaches to our entrepreneurial work, there are a number that we do not support: 1. The Foundation will only award grants to 501(c)(3) institutions, not to individuals or for-profit organizations 2. The Foundation does not entertain requests to become a sponsor 3. The Foundation does not fund seed stage equity-based accelerators 4. The Foundation does not provide grants for scholarships 5. The Foundation does not provide direct capital to entrepreneurs or their ventures 6. The Foundation does not fund indirect costs 7

9 IV. Proposal Guidelines 8

10 Proposal Guidelines While there is no specific format or template for the proposals, each proposal should include the following elements along with the coversheet (Attachment A). Primary Proposal Sections: An overview of the organization A description and explanation of how the program proposal relates to one of the two program areas - entrepreneurship and education or advancing high growth entrepreneurs An explanation of how your proposal will allow your organization to replicate, pilot, or expand a program to assist entrepreneurs The amount requested from the Foundation, and a clear description of what the grant will be used for Proposed metrics and deliverables Risks and contingencies Expected outcomes at the conclusion of the one year grant Detailed program budget Timeline for implementation Contact information 9

11 Proposal Guidelines The Blackstone Organizational Grants program awards grants to a unique organizations that can further the goals of the Entrepreneurship Initiative and make the most of the grant funding. To help applicant organizations effectively present their proposal for the purposes of this RFP, we have devised a set of general themes that successful applicants demonstrate. Supercharging New and Existing Programming: The Foundation is looking for organizations that may have a pioneering or inventive idea, but need a grant to launch the new project s programming. Specific metrics will be developed with program partners to effectively evaluate the success of pilot programming. The Foundation also seeks out proposals from organizations with innovative and already successful entrepreneurial programming in instances where a grant from the Foundation would allow the organization to expand the program in a new way (either geographically or in serving a new population). Seeking High Impact with a Strong Partner: The Foundation is looking for innovative projects and catalytic ideas that have the potential to have a major impact on a regional or national level and help contribute to the revitalization of the global economy. To best accomplish this, the Foundation prefers that we have a strong on-the-ground partner to manage and oversee any potential project. The organization can demonstrate that they would be able to effectively manage and support the program over the one year pilot period by showing, for example, that they have a) successful existing programming b) ample financial resources and c) an established Board of Directors. 10

12 V. Information for Applicants 11

13 Information for All Applicants GENERAL INFORMATION & ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA 1. Non-Profit Status: The Foundation will only consider working with organizations that are registered 501(c)(3) organizations or are affiliated with non-profit academic institutions. 2. Financials: Organizations should provide us with an audited financial statement for the last fiscal year. If an audited financial statement is not available, the organization should be able to demonstrate financial stability. 3. Duration: These grants will be limited to a one year period. 4. Amount: Grants will be provided up to $250,000 with an average grant of $100,000. In this round, $1 million will be directed to new organizations with the remaining $500,000 designated to organizations previously awarded Blackstone Organizational Grants. 5. Response Instructions: Please an electronic copy of your proposal to We will only be accepting electronic copies. Applicants must limit their proposals to a maximum of 10 pages. The deadline to submit proposals is Friday, October 4, 2013 at 5pm EDT/ 2pm PDT. 6. Questions: Please submit all questions to All relevant questions and their answers will be posted on the website ( by the close of business on Monday, September 23, Please do not contact the Foundation or Blackstone directly with questions. 12

14 7. Timetable: The evaluation and selection process will adhere to the following schedule: Event Date RFP Launched Tuesday, July 9, 2013 Deadline to Submit Questions to Monday, September 9, 2013 Answers to Questions Posted on Foundation Website Monday, September 23, 2013 Deadline to Submit Proposal Friday, October 4, 2013 Grants Awarded January February

15 Information for Previous Blackstone Organizational Grants Recipients This year, we are pleased to announce that we will entertain proposals from previous recipients of Blackstone Organizational Grants, provided that these proposals meet certain criteria. While we are excited to expand our reach to new organizations, we hope that by continuing to fund specific initiatives, we can build a stronger network of organizations with a greater impact on local communities. We Will Consider: Targeted proposals to pursue an opportunity developed or discovered as a direct result of the previous grant. Targeted proposals to complete the implementation of a program funded in the previous grant that encountered unexpected hurdles to be explained in new grant proposal. We Will Not Consider: Proposals for the continuation of the same initiative funded by the previous grant. Proposals for an entirely new initiative unrelated to the work of the previous grant. 14

16 Disclaimer This document contains highly confidential information regarding Blackstone s investments strategy and organization. Your acceptance of this document from Blackstone constitutes your agreement to (i) keep confidential all the information contained in this document as well as any information derived by you from the information contained in this document (collectively Confidential Information ) and not disclose any such Confidential Information to any other person (ii) not use any of the Confidential Information for any purpose other than to evaluate entering into a relationship with Blackstone (iii) not use the Confidential Information for purposes of trading any security including without limitation securities of Blackstone or its portfolio companies (iv) not copy this document without Blackstone s prior consent and (v) promptly return this document and any copies hereof to Blackstone upon Blackstone s request. 15

17 ATTACHMENT A BLACKSTONE CHARITABLE FOUNDATION ORGANIZATIONAL GRANTS APPLICATION COVER SHEET LEGAL NAME OF ENTITY: TAX ID: HEADQUARTERS: LOCATION OF PROGRAM: PRIM. CONTACT NAME: PRIM. CONTACT PRIM. CONTACT PHONE #: MAILING ADDRESS: WEBSITE ADDRESS: # OF EMPLOYEES: YEAR OF ORG. ESTABLISHMENT: EXACT FUNDING SOUGHT ($): PREVIOUS BX GRANTEE? (Y/N) BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF ORGANIZATION AND MISSION (2-3 SENTENCES): BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSAL (2-3 SENTENCES): TO BE COMPLETED BY BLACKSTONE CHARITABLE FOUNDATION PROPOSAL CODE: DATE RECEIVED: ENTERED BY: 16

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