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Harper’s Foundation to launch $100,000 Community Innovation Fund Grant Program

When MacKenzie Scott bestowed an $18 million transformational gift to Harper College in June 2021, the philanthropist and author announced she had selected “high-impact organizations” and “equity-oriented nonprofit teams working in areas that have been neglected.”

To embody Scott’s aspirations and amplify the impact of her giving, the Harper College Educational Foundation is launching the Community Innovation Fund Grant Program.

The Community Innovation Fund Grant Program will provide one-year grants totaling up to $100,000 – including one grant of up to $50,000 – to nonprofit organizations whose missions support the advancement of equity, diversity and economic mobility for underserved and marginalized communities in Harper’s district. The program’s goals align with Scott’s funding priorities and Harper’s efforts to reduce the college’s equity gaps by 20% by 2024.

“The Community Innovation Fund is a wonderful opportunity to partner with organizations in our community and come together with a common goal,” said Laura Brown, vice president and chief advancement officer.

Selected organizations may use the funding for a variety of projects, programs, activities and services that focus on uplifting activities with long-lasting impacts and outcomes within the 23 communities of Harper’s service area.

Applications are due June 1, 2022, and selections will be made in June 2022. The grant period will be July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. Preference will be given to organizations with annual operating budgets of $500,000 of less. Grantees may apply for a one-year renewal.

A webinar will be held Wednesday, May 4 (it will be recorded) to go over more details of the program and application process.

The Community Innovation Fund Grant Program is the second major initiative Harper has rolled out with the support of the MacKenzie Scott gift. Recognizing the pandemic presented ongoing challenges and financial barriers for students, Harper and the Educational Foundation launched the Igniting Paths to Success Scholarship to create a pathway to opportunity and upward mobility. More than 800 students received the scholarship, which awards up to two years of full tuition, fees and books.

“When MacKenzie Scott shared that Harper College was among 286 donation recipients last summer, she wrote how generosity is generative, and that sharing makes more,” said Dr. Avis Proctor, president of Harper College. “This grant program is designed to increase the impact of her transformational gift and help empower other organizations to advance their missions and strengthen the social and economic mobility of our district.”

To learn more, visit https://www.harpercollege.edu/foundation/connect/cifg.php. Email CIFG@harpercollege.edu with questions.

Last Updated: 3/14/24