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Human Services Grant: Building a More Robust Human Services Field

Kresge Foundation

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Predicted deadline: Sep 30, 2021 8:59pm PDT

Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Fields of work: Racial / Ethnic Justice & Rights Human & Social Services

Applicant type: Nonprofit, Government Entity

Funding uses: General Operating Expense, Project / Program

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



Human Services

The Human Services Program is laser focused on achieving person-centered systems change that accelerates social and economic mobility for children and families using a racial equity lens. To accomplish this primary goal, we work with local, state and national partners who are reimagining support systems and co-creating solutions with children, families and community partners to meet them where they are and provide the support they need to build well-being and reach their full potential.

Though human services organizations are facing significant challenges in our current social and political environment, the sector is maintaining its momentum and realizing outcomes that help children, families and communities in cities around the nation achieve their dreams.  

To learn more about our strategy to advance social and economic mobility and how we think about person-centered care, please watch our video here.

Cross-cutting Area Overview

To provide greater pathways to economic and social mobility, we must recognize the need for a strong human services field to work with and for children and families with low incomes.

Building on lessons and innovations from our Next Generation Initiative and place-based ecosystems strategies, we continue to learn about evidence-informed and promising practices that we can share across the field. Examples of best practices include using a two-generation, whole-family approach that emphasizes the role of fathers, as well as brain-science informed practices.

Through learning, convenings and networks, we partner with the field to share what is learned to continue to influence systems and expand opportunity in America’s cities.

Funding Process

We use a full array of funding and investment tools to foster change, including project grants, operating support, planning grants and program-related investments. Program-related investments may take the form of direct loans, guarantees that provide credit support to borrowers, or linked deposits. To learn more about our social investments, click here.

In certain situations, when project proposals offer opportunities to advance the goals of multiple teams at the foundation, those teams may jointly fund the proposal. Most of our grants span one to three years.

Building a More Robust Human Services Field

We support a range of activities that advance the field toward using evidence-based best practices and policies that help children and families achieve social and economic mobility.

We welcome proposals from organizations that:

  • Focus on advancing and accelerating social and economic mobility.
  • Offer innovative and effective approaches that can provide lessons for the field.
  • Have a clear strategic vision and are able to articulate what works and why.
  • Have shared and adaptive leadership.
  • Recognize racial equity as a significant barrier to social and economic mobility and have an explicit focus to address this reality.
  • Are intensely person-centered in their approach and utilize best practices (brain science informed, two-generation, whole-family, trauma-informed approaches, etc.)
  • Are outcomes focused and data driven.
  • Measure organizational and programmatic efforts against the Human Service Value Curve.
  • Are committed to person-centered, co-created and power sharing systems change that addresses structural barriers through policy solutions; are positioned to inform and influence communities of practice; and build the public will for supportive public policies.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Who should apply?
    • U.S. 501(c)(3) organizations with audited financial statements that are not classified as private foundations. Audits must be independently prepared following Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or Government Auditing Standards. Financial statements prepared on a cash, modified cash, compilation or review basis do not qualify.
    • Government entities in the United States.


  • Who should not apply?
    • Individuals.
    • Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, sexual orientation or veteran status.
    • Organizations that require membership in certain religions or advance a particular religious faith. (Faith-based organizations may be eligible if they welcome and serve all members of the community regardless of religious belief.)
    • Programs operated to benefit for-profit organizations.


This page was last reviewed September 02, 2020 and last updated September 02, 2020