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Coronavirus Urgent Response Initiative Grant

Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

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Deadline: Rolling

Grant amount: US $50,000 - US $100,000

Fields of work: Disaster Relief / Humanitarian Aid Human & Social Services

Applicant type: Individuals, Organizations

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



As part of a time-limited special initiative, DRK is actively soliciting proposals for quickly deployable fundable solutions that can immediately provide relief for issues created by the current Covid-19 pandemic.

DRK Covid-19 Urgent Response Initiative (CURI)

Alongside our portfolio, DRK is rapidly responding in real-time to the crisis wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic. We are slowing some of our traditional pipeline development work for the next two months, in part to double down on our portfolio support capacity - and also to make way for a responsive investment strategy that makes sense for right now. We still hold firmly to our core model and will continue to make the early-stage investments which are our hallmark. This addition lets DRK meet the moment with the nimbleness and creativity it demands.

The Covid-19 pandemic is inflicting direct, devastating damage in terms of lives lost. Along the way, it is also pushing our social fabric up to the light and exposing its holes, showing with unrelenting impartiality where and how our systems are broken. That harsh light is creating precious visibility for problems that have long festered, invisible to those not vulnerable to them.

DRK’s venture philanthropy has always focused on taking early-stage risk on social enterprises with the potential for transformative impact at scale. Today, in response to the current crisis, we amplify that core investment mission - with more creativity around the edges - to take bold, brisk bets on ideas that can begin to move our reality now.

What we’re funding 

DRK is ready to find, fund and support the people and ideas that are tackling the most acute and time-critical social problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic right now. We want to help jumpstart projects that can realistically deploy within 30 days. We are best positioned to help work on the social problems caused by the pandemic versus direct mitigation via medical and scientific efforts – we are grateful to our peer funders in those sectors who are investing in therapeutics, PPE, testing and the like. We anticipate the range of missions to be broad, and are open to what those look like.

The projects we are looking for will have the same essential qualities as the core DRK portfolio but will be designed for more immediate scale. We will filter potential investments through the lens of urgency:

  • Can this make large impact at scale?
  • Can it be deployed quickly? And
  • can DRK be catalytic in making that happen?

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


  • The projects we are looking for have the same essential qualities as the core DRK portfolio but scale much faster:
    • Effective, innovative solutions to critical problems:
      • Digital Bridge K12, for example, recognizes the problem of connectivity for kids who need good internet access in order to learn from home.
    • Rapidly compressed timeframe:
      • In this fight, every day matters. We’re looking to fund projects that can go from funding to deployment - and results - in less than 30 days.
    • Capacity to execute at scale (city, state or national) and lead to lasting change.
    • Clear ability for DRK to add value.

    • Our criteria for CURI investments will also be necessarily more flexible than DRK’s core portfolio investments.
      • Ideas need to come with plans, but we don’t expect models to be piloted and proven.
      • No DRK board member requirement:
        • We will fund the projects where we are also best positioned to leverage our strategic and operating support, since that is how we know we best make impact - but we are not aiming to take formal board seats.


    This page was last reviewed September 25, 2020 and last updated September 25, 2020