Strengthening the Evidence Base – Grant Guidelines FAQs

I am interested in investment capital for my project. Can I apply through this process?

This application process is designed solely for grant funding for research and knowledge building, not for investment capital. Separately, the MacArthur Foundation is supporting the overall C3 initiative by making a number of investments in funds and intermediaries that demonstrate a powerful use of catalytic capital across diverse sectors and geographies. Although no additional investments are contemplated, you can learn about MacArthur investments in C3 Field Partnerships here.

The grant guidelines list a few different dates for deadline and review. Can you share more about the process?

Applications for Strengthening the Evidence Base grants are now open, and we are currently accepting submissions with a final deadline of 5:00pm Central Daylight Time on March 31st, 2021. In the interest of supporting promising work while also providing flexibility, we will begin a rolling grant review and decision-making process on Monday, February 1st, 2021. The C3 Strategic Partners aim to complete the decision-making process and finalize grant awards by October, 2021.

Can you provide additional guidance regarding grant size and amount requested?

Although proposals of up to $300,000 will be considered, we expect most grants will be in the $75,000 to $150,000 range. Awards on the upper end of the range would likely correspond to more complex research objectives that address a number of the research questions across time, different sectors or other elements.

Do you fund salaries and operating expenses?

These grants are expected to be made in the form of project-based grants. Within a proposed project budget, C3 Strategic Partners have worked to align our indirect cost limit to the true cost of conducting project-based work. As such, indirect costs can comprise 29% of the total budget submitted. Indirect costs include overall organizational operating expenses and overhead costs, which includes salaries of individuals needed for overall management of the organization. Salaries for program staff needed to implement the project are not included in the 29% limit.

How long is the grant duration? Can I request multi-year funding?

Work should be completed within 12 months of the grant award and multi-year proposals will not be considered.

Do you fund non-U.S. organizations?

Yes. We anticipate making grants to both domestic and international organizations through this opportunity. The C3 Grantmaking initiative has a global focus, and we are looking for representation across many geographies. Within that, our strong preference is that work focusing on the Global South will be conducted by organizations or personnel based in the Global South.

Do you fund for-profit entities? Will you give grants to individuals?

We are open to supporting 501(c)3 organizations, or making project support grants to specific charitable projects within a larger for-profit entity. We will not make grants to individuals through this process.

Can funding provided through this process be combined with funding from other sources?

Yes, applicants are encouraged to seek out multiple sources of funding for projects.

I see there are multiple components of C3 Grantmaking. When can we expect that additional grant opportunities and guidance will be provided?

In addition to the Strengthening the Evidence Base grants, C3 Grantmaking is also engaging in other strategic work. Read more about our C3 Grantmaking Approach and Priorities here. Although some areas are designed by invitation only, information on additional C3 grant opportunities will be released in the coming months. Please click here to be added to a list of people receiving future announcements.

How are Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) considerations incorporated into the grantmaking process?

We review all applications with an eye towards promoting DEI among our grantees, their programmatic work and the larger impact investing field. To track and understand the extent to which this work is supporting a diverse range of perspectives, we are asking all applicants to provide information on the demographic composition of their teams. Organizations that are subsequently approved to receive a grant will be asked to share additional DEI information.

What types of research does this grant process support? (i.e. academic, consulting, etc)

We do not have strict limitations on what forms of research can be supported through this process. Academics, consulting practices, organizations and others are all welcome to apply, with many deliverables and outputs considered. One of our key criteria for selecting research projects will be the extent to which there is a robust research approach and a focus on actionable recommendations for impact investing practitioners.

Will feedback be available for declined proposals?

We will strive to provide feedback where it is helpful, but cannot commit to providing feedback to all applicants.

May our institution submit more than one application, if our proposals have significantly different focus areas?

While this is possible, the C3 grantmaking team intends to engage with a broad and diverse set of researchers and is unlikely to fund two separate proposals from the same organization absent extremely compelling reasons.

I have questions that are not currently answered by this FAQ. What is the best way to connect with C3 Grantmaking staff?

Please contact Program Officer, Emily Duma, at

The photo above features the work of Blue Forest Conservation, a mission-driven nonprofit that created the first Forest Resilience Bond to help address the dangers of overgrown forests. Blue Forest Conservation is part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Zero Gap Initiative, a C3 Field Partnership.