Applications open for Social Venture Partners Cincinnati’s nonprofit grant, training program

Social Venture Partners Cincinnati is set to launch its third Project XLR8 cohort for Greater Cincinnati nonprofits looking to “change the world” through socially innovative ideas.

There are spots for between 10 and 12 organizations. The program is potentially eight months long.

Participants receive professional mentorship, technical support and the opportunity to win up to $60,000 in grants to support their project for up to three years.

The program mentors are experts in areas such as strategic planning, risk assessment, accounting, finance, event planning, board development and communications.

Chris Chen, SVP’s board chair, described Project XLR8 as the only local accelerator program focused solely on the unique needs of nonprofits.

Chris Chen, SVP board chair

SVP’s goal is to help community organizations accelerate their big ideas and enhance their local impact, he added.

Applications are due by midnight on Aug. 14. The program starts in September.

“We want to encourage nonprofits to take risks and bring forward fresh ideas that might not receive conventional funding because they are untested or new,” Chen said.

Improving Greater Cincinnati one nonprofit at a time

Social Venture Partners Cincinnati brings together ​​a collection of partners to make investments in organizations with missions ranging from improving health disparities to education to generate economic opportunities.

Those investments are monetary, but they also offer hands-on training in areas such as storytelling and digital fundraising.

One of SVP’s major endeavors is Project XLR8, a three-phase hands-on training and ideation program.

At the end of each phase, SVP and its partners select a handful of participants to move forward and receive additional funding.

The first phase – “Explore” – runs from September to November. Each nonprofit gets $1,000. 

Work in this phase asks the nonprofits to develop and flesh out ideas to help better the community. They’ll take part in group-think sessions focused on brainstorming and peer feedback.

At the end of the three months, partners choose four to six nonprofits to advance to the next phase and receive an additional $2,500.

During the “Lift” phase, the nonprofits work with program partners to create a business plan. They’ll focus on things such as value proposition, competitive analysis, financial projections and fundraising assessment. 

In April, the partners review all of the proposals and select one to receive a sustained, multi-year investment.

The chosen nonprofit gets $20,000 each year for two to three years. They’ll also continue to work with the Project XLR8 partners.

Previous winners are Cornerstone Renter Equity and RefugeeConnect.

Project XLR8


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