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Michelson Spark Grants

Grants to California Nonprofits and Educational
Institutions to Address Technology Inequity

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Michelson 20MM Foundation

Deadline Date:



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Grants of up to $25,000 to California nonprofit organizations and educational institutions to address technology inequity. Areas of focus include research, education and awareness, and scaling best practices. Preference will be given to proposals covering a specific self-contained milestone focus including inflection points, things that may open up a new foothold with a partner (i.e. enabling a new partnership with a market leader), or a new proof of concept.

The Foundation's vision is to introduce a process that can fill urgent needs for education organizations that are well-aligned with its focus areas. The Foundation seeks to fund highly impactful initiatives that would not be possible if they needed to wait through a traditional grant decision timeline.

Digital Equity Cycle Focus Areas:

Education and Awareness

  • Developing digital literacy curricula, educational toolkits, emergent models, or learning communities. Applications demonstrating an intentional focus on accessibility/scale are preferred.
  • Education and awareness on low-cost internet options to unserved and underserved communities, with an emphasis on: 1) Leveraging existing campaigns/programs to disseminate information (e.g. CalFresh, Covered California, Public Libraries, Public Housing Developments); 2) Multilingual marketing materials.
  • Showcasing community and student digital equity experiences, perspectives, and voices to elected officials, stakeholders, and the public at large.

Research: Research that helps map digital equity gaps throughout the state of California, including broadband adoption, broadband bandwidth/speed, device access, and digital literacy.

Scaling Best Practices

  • Efforts that take digital navigator models to scale across the state of California. 
  • Ideas and programs that build on innovative connectivity solutions spearheaded by community-based organizations, established nonprofit partners, or government (e.g. libraries, municipal agencies, neighborhood-led initiatives). Said efforts should have a latency that is sufficiently low to allow real-time interactive applications, with a goal of achieving at least 100 mbps downstream.
  • Successful initiatives to provide tenants in apartments/multi-dwelling units with access to connectivity services through multiple internet service providers.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 189347

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grant ask is up to $25,000.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The program is open to U.S.-based nonprofits and educational institutions. For this funding cycle the Foundation will focus organizations that are doing work in California. Nonprofits whose work does not impact CA are ineligible for this opportunity.

The Foundation will not be funding initiatives that provide direct assistance to students during this Michelson Spark Grant round (e.g. laptops or hotspots for remote learning).

For this funding cycle the Foundation will not be funding general operating expenses such as rent, utilities, server costs, etc.

Pre-Application Information:

The 2021 Digital Equity funding cycle will be open from March 8, 2021 – March 29, 2021.

In the spirit of acting quickly, grants will be reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis. The Foundation is committed to reaching a decision on each application within 15 business days.

Spark Grants Evaluation Process:
- Grant Application is Received: After LOI is submitted the Grant Committee will do an initial assessment.
- Reject or Move Forward Decision is Made: Within 6 business days you will be notified if your proposal is moving forward in the process.
- Complete Full Application: Proposals that advance will be asked to complete a full application.
- Applications Assessed: Full applications will be assessed and a follow up call will be scheduled with those that advance to the finalist stage.
- Final Decision Made: You will be notified of the Grant Committee decision within 15 business days of your LOI submission date.

View the informational webinar:

Contact Information:

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

To Apply:

For questions, contact,, and

Michelson 20MM Foundation
811 W. 7th St. #1026
Los Angeles, CA 90017

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California

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