OVERVIEW

The Cordes Foundation provides strategic grants to early to mid-stage social entrepreneurs (typically ranging from $10,000 – $25,000 in unrestricted capital) who are building sustainable solutions that lead to the elevation of the human condition, the eradication of poverty, and the empowerment of women and girls.

We invite grant applications on a quarterly cycle and do not accept unsolicited grant requests.

OUR APPROACH

Each of our three Grant Portfolios share common aspects around leadership, innovation, and impact.

Leadership
Our primary consideration in assessing any investment is in the people. Addressing the world’s most challenging social issues at scale require a tireless commitment to the problem at hand, a bold vision, and a strong team that includes the team and board. We build relationships and partnerships based on trust in our entrepreneur’s vision, experience, and ability to lead a team and an idea.

Innovation
Our partners challenge the status quo, but also understand the importance of sustainability and scalability. Thus, we support organizations that have the potential to solve problems at a root cause level by bringing products, ideas, or services to a community or marketplace at scale. More importantly, we want to know how the innovation is unique, relevant, and overall significant in solving the problems they’re aiming to address.

Impact
We look at key indicators that our partners track and how they are used in management decisions. At the same time, we understand that impact can be tracked in various ways that include both quantitative and qualitative measures. Thus, we work with organizations across the development spectrum from start-up to established, but all have the ability to set benchmarks and track their impact. As our Foundation was founded by entrepreneurs we too are not afraid to take risks and support brilliant entrepreneurship and ideas that can’t be easily measured but have the potential for tremendous impact.

PATHWAY TO PARTNERSHIP

Due to the depth of support we believe each grantee deserves, we currently only review invited proposals, and thus unsolicited proposals are not accepted. We follow a multi-step process in exploring partnerships for a fit with our criteria and our mission which include:

Initial Screening:

  • Research to assess whether or not baseline requirements are met
  • On-site evaluation (whenever possible) to understand organizational goals

Invitation to Submit a Proposal:

  • We value our prospective grantees time and thus have developed a concise online grant application that directly addresses our approach – leadership, innovation, and impact
  • Our Grants Team will follow up with a phone or in person interview (when possible) to gain a deeper understanding of the organization and it’s strategy.
  • The Grants Team may also elect to interview key staff members as well as board members
  • The Grant’s Team will provide a recommendation to our full Board for Review & Approval

PARTNERSHIP

We believe that funding alone is not enough, which is why our Grants Team works one-on-one with social entrepreneurs to understand their needs and to provide connections and resources whenever possible. This is key to our model.