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Creating Opportunity and Independence (CO&I) Project Grant

Grants to USA and Canada Nonprofits to Enhance the
Quality of Life for Individuals With Spinal Cord Injuries

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Craig H. Neilsen Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

04/27/18 5:00 PM ET


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Grants starting at $25,000 to USA and Canada nonprofit organizations to enhance the quality of life for individuals and families affected by spinal cord injury. LOIs are due January 12. Focus areas include employment, assistive technology, education, rehabilitation, arts, independent living, sports, and recreation.

There are two funding categories in the CO&I portfolio:

Project Grants:
One-year Project Grants support services and projects benefiting participants with spinal cord injury, including purchase of essential programmatic equipment.

Sustainable Impact Projects (invitation only):
Three-year Sustainable Impact Projects focus on innovative projects that will have high impact, such as making systemic changes in the delivery of services and care to enhance participation and quality of life. These grants are designed to launch or augment impactful programs by encouraging out-of-the-box ideas and streamlined solutions that address important gaps in service. This program is by invitation only.

Topic Areas:

-Assistive Technology: i.e., access to a piece of equipment, device or product system (e.g., an app) to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities of individuals with SCI.

-Employment: e.g., vocational training, local employment placement, return-to-work programs, employment initiatives.

-Independent Living: e.g., accessible housing to move individuals with SCI out of nursing homes, adaptive driving programs, consumer education focused on independent living, transition/reintegration projects, companion animal services, independent living center support for SCI.

-Rehabilitation: e.g., health/wellness literacy, patient/family education, patient assistance funds and equipment, including clinical and/or assistive technology associated with rehabilitation services for people with SCI.

-NEW: Education: i.e., programs to promote return to school/university, education readiness, literacy interventions, General Education Development (GED) courses, tutoring programs. For educational activities used as a tool to advance employment, independent living, or rehabilitation, select the respective programmatic goal, as opposed to Education.

-Arts, Sports and Recreation: e.g., community partnership initiatives, visual and performing arts programs, equipment, travel funds, event support or wellness programs.

Details for This Funding Category:

Focus on SCI: CO&I Project Grant applications must clearly address the needs of people living with SCI and must include the projected numbers of individuals to be served. While the Neilsen Foundation understands that spinal cord disease/conditions may be closely linked, the Neilsen Foundation’s primary area of focus is on traumatic and chronic SCI.

Impact and innovation: The Neilsen Foundation prioritizes novelty of approach and programs/projects that are likely to exert a sustained, powerful influence on quality of life for individuals living with SCI.

Relevance: Applicants must demonstrate relevance to the mission of the Neilsen Foundation.

Sustainability: Applicants should address sustainability beyond Neilsen Foundation funding, including future staff salaries, equipment, maintenance and other necessary costs.

Collaboration: Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate meaningful community partnerships so that duplication of services can be avoided. Demonstration of shared community resources is also encouraged.

Allowable Costs:
-Indirect costs: The maximum amount allowed for indirect costs (i.e., administrative, overhead, per capita infrastructure costs, operating costs, etc.) is 10% of the total cost.
-Staff salary: Any request for staff salary must be for required activities on the proposed program/project and be fully justified.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 178077

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants range from $25,000 - $100,000.

Requests of $75,000 or more should be highly innovative projects, serve a large SCI population and/or provide compelling justification based on unmet need.

Term of Contract:

Project funding is for one year.

Do not expect ongoing Neilsen Foundation funding. Grant recipients should not rely on the Neilsen Foundation for annual support of a specific program/project. Under no circumstances will the Neilsen Foundation be obligated to continue funding any program/project.

Three-year Sustainable Impact Project grants are by invitation only.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

-The grantee must be a nonprofit institution/organization or rehabilitation facility located in the United States or Canada with a demonstrated capability to conduct grant-funded programs or activities.
-Neilsen Foundation grants are not awarded to individuals, private foundations or certain 509(a)(3), Type III supporting organizations.
-The PI/Applicant named in a grant application must be deemed eligible by his/her institution/ organization to apply for a grant, and is expected to be responsible for conduct of the program/ project.
-An institution/organization may only submit one application in a given program cycle and may hold only one Neilsen Foundation award within a given CO&I grant category at one time.

Per the 2006 Pension Protection Act, private non-operating foundations are required to verify the nonprofit status of all prospective grantee institutions/organizations. When submitting an application, the PI/Applicant will also need to provide the following:

United States-based institutions/organizations:
-A copy of the institution/organization’s IRS Determination letter that proves the institution/organization’s 501(c)(3) designation or tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Code 170(c)(1).
-If the institution/organization is classified as a public charity under Section 509(a)(3), refer to IRS Notice 2006-109 (dated December 18, 2006) which is entitled “Interim Guidance Regarding Supporting Organizations and Donor Advised Funds.” Per the IRS Notice, the institution/ organization will be required to provide additional information as a supporting organization that is seeking a grant from a private foundation. The Neilsen Foundation cannot issue grants to certain 509(a)(3), Type III supporting organizations.

Canadian-based institutions/organizations:
-The Neilsen Foundation prefers to make grants to (i) a Canadian institution/organization that holds an IRS determination letter, or (ii) the Canadian institution/organization’s U.S.-based “friends of” charity that holds a U.S. IRS determination letter. If the Canadian institution/organization can satisfy either of these requirements, it must provide a copy of the U.S. IRS Determination letter.
-If the Canadian institution/organization does not have a U.S. IRS Determination letter or a U.S.-based “friends of” charity, the institution/organization must be a "registered charity" with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide a copy of the page from the CRA website listing the institution/organization. If a grant is approved for funding, the Neilsen Foundation will require additional information in order to make a determination that the Canadian institution/organization is the equivalent of a U.S. public charity.

Other Requirements:
-Perceived or real conflicts of interest (e.g., shareholder in a company providing a device for a study or program) must be disclosed in all stages of the application process.
-The grantee institution/organization will retain title to Intellectual Property developed through the study or program/project.

Topic areas do not include:
-Academic Scholarships: The Neilsen Foundation supports educational scholarships for students with SCI at select colleges and universities throughout the U.S., by invitation only, through the Neilsen Scholarship Program.
-Conferences: If the sole purpose of a proposed project is to support a consumer-based conference, contact the CO&I Program Officer before submitting an LOI.

Pre-Application Information:

Any request of $50,000 or more must describe other funding sources that have been secured or are pending for the same program/project.

All application materials and communications (including IRB approvals, where applicable) must be written in English and budgets must be in U.S. dollars.

All LOI applications must be submitted online, via proposalCENTRAL.

Applicants will be notified via email whether they are invited to submit an FGA, or if the LOI has been declined. An LOI must be approved by the Neilsen Foundation in order for the Applicant to move to the next step of the grants process, submitting an FGA.

Only Applicants invited to apply through the current cycle’s LOI process may submit an FGA.

-January 12, 2018, 5:00 PM (Eastern Time): Letter of Intent (LOI) Submission Due via proposalCENTRAL
-March 2018: Notification of LOI Results
-April 27, 2018, 5:00 PM (Eastern Time): Full Grant Application (FGA) Submission Due via proposalCENTRAL
-September 2018: Notification of FGA Results
-October 2018: Awarded Grants to be Funded

How to Apply:

Areas of Grant Funding:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

Kym Eisner, Executive Director

Craig H. Neilsen Foundation
16830 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 352
Encino, CA 91436


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon