Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation: Grants for Global Development

OVERVIEW: A venture philanthropy organization focused on early-stage organizations, Draper Richards Kaplan (DRK) Foundation seeks grantees with the potential to create effective, scalable solutions to pressing social problems in the U.S. and abroad. 

IP TAKE: DRK seeks young NGOs to fund. While the foundation supports new organizations, it does not necessarily mean that it will support groups with inexperienced leaders. Those looking to get a foot in the door need to have dynamic and capable leadership.

PROFILE: Venture capitalists William H. Draper III and Robin Richards Donohoe established the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation in 2001. In 2010, the pair partnered with Robert Kaplan and a group of 14 like-minded philanthropists to scale the foundation’s operations. The foundation applies a venture capitalist approach to philanthropy, seeking out groups working to “dramatically improve the lives of people around us through innovative strategies, systems changing approaches, and disrupting technologies.” DRK's model reflects a predisposition to supporting young organizations and those that are in their formative years, typically between one and three years old. However, grantees must also have the potential to scale and create lasting positive change.  

The DRK Foundation does not list specific programmatic areas of grantmaking focus. Instead, grantseekers are expected to work on meaningful projects that have the potential to exact widespread change for pressing social problems in the U.S. and abroad. This approach opens many opportunities for potential grantees. Grantseekers should keep in mind that DRK is a member of Big Bang Philanthropy, which is an organization of like-minded funders that have banded together to address the most pervasive problems facing the world’s vulnerable populations.

DRK does not award many grants annually, so grantees can expect heavy competition. Most grants range from $50,000 to $100,000, and nearly all grants are put towards general operating support nature rather than project specific concerns. In addition, DRK Foundation typically awards grants on a multi-year basis since the foundation views this as a “critical success factor in helping these great organizations achieve scale.” In fact, DRK Foundation also offers “rigorous and unrelenting on-going support” to its grantees, which includes taking a seat on their boards, networking, and facilitating meetings with DRK contacts. 

Grantseekers can apply to the DRK Foundation at any time through its online application system

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