We are a $3.6 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development in Detroit.
The human services sector is responding to a set of circumstances that requires new ways of thinking and new ways of working. Human services organizations are facing significant obstacles that make it difficult to deliver services efficiently. These obstacles include diminished public and financial support, organizational capabilities, and the changing demographics of their clients and the constant evolution of technology. Human services organizations need to adapt to the current environment to transform into effective and resilient organizations that promote social and economic mobility.
To make this shift, the human services sector will need to change the traditional methods of providing safety net services to delivering impact through person-centered services focused on outcomes. By supporting a person’s social and economic well-being, human services organizations have great effect on a person’s mobility. If the human services sector can undergo a positive transformation, many people living in America’s cities have improved odds of climbing the ladder of opportunity.
Our focus is developing the human services field to do more than even the odds for people who are experiencing low income. Our work aims to reset the odds so that people have an improved set of opportunities to live healthy, economically stable and self-determined lives. When human services organizations think creatively and work in a bold manner, they have the power to significantly impact equality of opportunity.
We look for opportunities to support efforts to change the way the human services sector operates through testing, disseminating and advocating for policy-driven approaches to improving social and economic mobility.
As we evaluate proposals, we look for efforts that:
Offer new 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.
Are housed within a purpose-driven organization or network.
Are intensely person-centered in their approach.
Are committed to outcomes and use of data.
Are positioned to inform and influence communities of practice and build the public will for supportive policies.
We do not fund:
Organizations interested in capacity building.
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. (Learn more about our social investing.)
Most of our grants span one-to-three years. We also use resources to convene partners to learn and lead. And, in certain situations, when project proposals offer opportunities to advance the goals of multiple teams, those teams will jointly fund the proposal.
Through its “single-stop-shop” model, the organization enables families in need to apply for a variety of public benefits and services at one centralized, easy-to-access location. A two-year grant allows Single Stop to upgrade its technology tools, increase its financial sustainability and ramp up its policy work. Here a father visits a Single Stop U.S.A. office to be screened for benefits that will improve nutrition for his twins, help pay for child care and assure that the family gets proper medical care.
The Pine Street Inn in Boston provides housing, job training and placement, emergency shelter and outreach to the homeless. A grant helps Pine Street shift its efforts from emergency shelter to permanent supportive housing. Here a trainee works in a building maintenance training program.
The agency serves high-risk young people, including gang members, truants, refugees, and immigrants, by offering life-skills, educational, and employment-training programs designed to help them become economically independent adults. This year-year grant helps Roca add organizational capacity to provide intervention services to 1,302 young men, as part of a Juvenile Justice Pay for Success project. Here, a young man participates in a ROCA employment program.