Blue Meridian Partners seeks nonprofits that by scaling their programs nationally can make major, measurable progress overcoming the obstacles to vulnerable kids' becoming successful adults.
With the capital commitments we have to date and our goal of raising at least $1 billion, we expect to make four to six major investments at the outset.
What will Blue Meridian Partners Invest In?
Direct-service organizations working with low-income children and youth from birth to age 30. We are seeking programs that have been:
- Proven to work: They have strong empirical evidence of effectiveness and have undergone rigorous third-party evaluation.
- Have strong leadership.
- A track record and capacity for major growth.
- A vision for "solving" a significant social problem.
- A platform or channel to pursue scale.
- A sustainable economic model, including applicable cost-benefit analysis, to support continued delivery of the program.
What Kinds of Grants will Blue Meridian Partners Make?
Blue Meridian investments will be "big bets": flexible, unrestricted, long-term (5-10 years), tied to performance, and totaling up to $200 million for each grantee.
In most instances, these investments will be preceded by a smaller planning and development grant to craft a scaling plan that will build an organization's internal capacity, guide its expansion, support additional evaluations of effectiveness, and specify how it will track progress and measure success. We have made five planning and development grants to date.
Knowing When to Invest
CEO Nancy Roob describes critical criteria for a potential Blue Meridian Partners grantee: "the track record and the ambition of the leadership."
How Can a Nonprofit Apply for a Blue Meridian Grant?
Blue Meridian Partners does not seek or accept grant proposals.
Why? Because in our experience, a proposal frequently promises what a grantseeker thinks a grantmaker wants to hear. We want to invest in dynamic organizations and help their leaders realize their visions.
So instead we are using the approach tested at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation to discover high-performing organizations. We conduct proactively and continually our own thorough research of reports, evaluations, "what works" databases and other resources. We also have built and continue to update an internal referral network that alerts us to emerging trends and promising interventions that we investigate further. And we consult with experts and practitioners in the field and with community groups and leaders. We believe that exploring a wide world of sources is a more effective way to assess a program's potential impact and how it fits into the overall landscape of interventions benefiting disadvantaged children and youth.
How Can an Organization Inform Blue Meridian Partners About Its Work?
If you believe your organization and your plans for scale might be a promising fit for Blue Meridian Partners, we encourage you to complete our brief Youth Organizations Survey Form. The information you share will be added to our national database of organizations working with disadvantaged children and youth and augment our ongoing research of promising investment opportunities.
After Submitting the Survey, When Will a Nonprofit Hear Back From Blue Meridian Partners?
Due to the volume of inquiries we receive every week, we cannot respond individually to each survey form or consider requests for follow-up meetings or calls. We will carefully review all the information you share, but we will follow up with you only if we determine that your organization is highly likely to achieve the grantmaking goals of Blue Meridian Partners.
We regret that many worthy organizations doing important work with children and youth, and even some that meet all our grants criteria and offer a compelling opportunity for investment, will not hear back from us.
What Is Blue Meridian Partners' Selection Process?
We continually consider and investigate program models and organizations to add to our pipeline of leading candidates for investment. Our process for discovering and assessing promising grantees is extremely rigorous and competitive.
The information you share through our Youth Organizations Survey will be reviewed and added to our database of organizations working with economically disadvantaged children and youth. This database is one of the many sources we consult as we search for investment opportunities. Partners decide jointly when and if to initiate due diligence on the most promising opportunities our research identifies.
When and if due diligence convinces the Partners that a major investment in this organization or that program could very well have a transformative effect on the lives of large numbers of children and youth, we will help it develop a scaling plan. The Partners will base their investment decisions on the viability of these scaling plans--and then hold grantees accountable for executing them.
Complete the Youth Organizations Survey Form.