Our Approach to Grantmaking

As a small family foundation with a wide community of partners, Cricket Island Foundation conducts grant-making in a variety of capacities in order to work towards our mission and effectively support grantees. The following are the different types of funding strategies that the Foundation deploys:

Cohort-based Grantmaking

Beginning in 2007, the Foundation moved towards a cohort-based model of funding, and grantmaking became focused in geographic regions. By focusing in geographic regions, the Foundation is able to better understand community needs and opportunities, strategize with local funders, and foster collaboration across grantees within a region.

Multi-Year Grant Commitments

The Foundation’s multi-year grants are the core of the Foundation’s giving, and are therefore also the most substantial amounts of funding. These grants provide general operating support for each grantee. Since 2009, these long-term grants have been awarded to geographically-focused cohorts in New York City and Chicago; and in New Orleans since 2015.

Exploratory Grants

The Foundation utilizes Exploratory Grants in order to invest in and better understand new geographic areas that may provide a landscape for future cohort-based and multi-year funding opportunities.

Small Grants

The Foundation provides annual small grants (generally ranging in size from $3,000 – $8,000) through a competitive process primarily among existing grantees. There are two types of funds for small grants: a “Capacity Building Fund,” aimed at strengthening the organizational capacity of our grantees, and an “Opportunity Fund” that provides funding for unanticipated needs or opportunities that arise between funding cycles.

Leadership Transition Grants

The Foundation builds close relationships with our grantees, which has afforded us the opportunity to work with leading youth-led social change organizations as they undergo the transition from one Executive Director to another. The Foundation’s Leadership Transition Grants are structured as 3-year general operating support grants that directly support grantees through an Executive Director transition, and are supplemented with annual technical assistance grants to be used towards consultant fees, leadership trainings, and other transition-related expenses.

Field Learning Fund

This fund allows the Foundation to foster broader collaborations that align with our grantees’ missions. The Foundation is able to leverage these investments in order to be involved in new and emerging initiatives in the field of youth-led social change, while also providing learning opportunities for the Foundation and grantees.