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Who is eligible to apply for the Innovation Lab grant opportunity?

The applying organization must meet these requirements: • Serves low-income families with children. • Associated with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or business. • Located in and/or serves a rural community in one of our priority states (AR, CA, KY, LA, MS, NC, NM, OK, SC, TN, TX, WA, and WV). • Has an innovative community-driven idea, program, or clear challenge you want to solve.

Can I apply as an individual? 

No, an individual must be connected to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or a business and apply under that eligible organization.

We have previously received a Save the Children food security grant. Can we apply?

Yes. We encourage current and former Save the Children grantees to consider this opportunity.

Can I partner with another organization to submit a joint application?

While we encourage you to engage with other community organizations in planning and implementing your project, the application must come from one organization. Grantees may not subgrant funds to other organizations.

My organization is not in the food security sector; can I apply?

Yes. We also welcome applications from organizations that are finding unlikely ways to bridge food access and consider themselves non-traditional champions in addressing child food insecurity.

My idea has been implemented in another geographic area but would be new in my community. Can I apply?

For an innovation to take root within a community, it must be designed for both the aspirations and constraints of the community. ​We believe that a healthy innovation ecosystem benefits novel, iterative, and adaptive innovation—with different expectations for each. If your idea meets one of these criteria below, then yes, please apply! • Novel: An idea that approaches a complex challenge in a completely novel way. • Iterative: An idea that offers a new spin on an existing program. • Adaptive: An idea that adapts a service to reach a new community.

My service area is not very diverse. Am I still eligible to apply?

Yes! Having a diverse service area is not an eligibility requirement. Partners only need to meet the eligibility requirements to apply. The criteria are a list of things that we look out for to ensure that we reach organizations that previously may not have access to these types of funding and support opportunities. Within the criteria, we highlight the importance of serving historically marginalized communities, such as communities of color, because people of color across the U.S. have experienced food insecurity at a much higher rate and faced heightened systemic barriers to accessing food. This method of investment is an example of how we can equitably distribute our resources and is in alignment with Save the Children's commitment to racial equity.

You can find more information about Save the Children's commitment to racial equity here.



Where do I submit my application?

Click the APPLY FOR FUNDING button below to create an account to view the Expression of Interest form and submit your proposal. Those invited to submit a full proposal will access it via the same link.

Do you have any suggestions on how to submit a compelling application?

We encourage you to attend the RFP guidance session on October 26th. The STC team will provide guidance on how to craft a compelling narrative to describe your idea. You can also bring your questions to virtual office hours and receive guidance from a Save the Children team member then. Sign up for office hours here.

Where can I find background information about Save the Children or the Innovation Lab?

You can find more information about our About page.

What are the application deadlines?

• Sept. 19: Expression of Interest acceptance period opens • Oct. 14: Expression of Interest deadline • Oct. 24: Candidates invited to submit an application • Nov. 11: Application deadline • Week of Dec 5: Grantee awards announced

How many times can I apply for the Lab within a year?

The Lab Open Call will be held once a year in the Fall. You will be able to submit your application during the Open Call period.

If my organization has more than one innovative idea, can we submit more than one application?

Yes, you may. However, an organization cannot receive funding for multiple submissions.

Can I submit the application in another language or through a format that isn’t written?

Both the Expression of Interest and Application are submitted in written format. Both are available in English for electronic submission at this link. Contact us at if accommodations are required.

How is the success of an idea defined?

Success will look differently for each grantee because of the diversity of projects we’ll receive. In the Application, each applicant will state what they envision progress and/or success to mean for their idea. If selected as a grantee, they will receive guidance at the Incubation Workshop to further define progress, outcomes, and metrics through a logic model and to determine how to measure them.

If I have questions, who can I contact?

Please reach out to Esther Liew at




How many grantees will be selected?

5 grantees will be selected for each year’s cohort.

What makes a strong application?

A strong application will demonstrate these criteria: • Bridges food access in an imaginative way. • Elevate the voices of families and communities. • Has a clear challenge you want to tackle. • Serves historically marginalized communities.

For further descriptions of each criteria, please visit our Criteria page.

Who reviews the applications? 

Your applications will be reviewed by Save the Children food security staff members on the national and state teams using a rubric. We may also receive help from food security experts external to Save The Children who can provide diverse perspectives.

What happens if I am not selected as a grantee? Can I apply again next year?

If requested, Save the Children will provide feedback to your organization to help strengthen your application for a future submission. You may reapply in the following grant cycle next year.



What will I receive as a grantee?

• Up to $100,000 in flexible funding to test and pilot your idea. • A 3-day in-person Incubation Workshop to shape your idea and create your project plan, all alongside your fellow grantee peers. • Ongoing support and technical assistance during the implementation period from a team specialized in rural child hunger. • Opportunity to learn together and exchange knowledg with a community of grantee peers addressing similar challenges across rural counties.

What type of support and technical assistance will grantees receive?

Some ways you may build knowledge include: • Creating a project plan. • Tracking project progress, measuring program participation, and growing programs. • Developing knowledge, connections, and insights to center the voice of community members. Some ways you may receive support include: • Identifying and challenging systemic dynamics within a region/geographic area that communities would like to shift. • Engaging as thought partners and problem solvers through co-designing projects to best suit each organization’s capacity and needs. • Discussing successes and challenges as cohort peers, then making adjustments to implementation activities. • Getting resources for professional development, apprenticeships, education opportunities and scholarships. • Receiving coaching and mentorship.

When is the Incubation Workshop taking place?

Grantees will be invited to participate in a 3-day workshop in early-mid January 2023. Dates are being finalized and will be announced to grantees.

Who should attend the in-person Incubation Workshops?

To incorporate a team-based approach in designing your project, we recommend your program management and/or implementation team members attend. You could also invite key partner(s) who will be co-designing and implementing the project with you. Save the Children will provide a travel stipend for up to a certain number of participants per grantee organization.

Is participation in the in-person Incubation Workshop required?

Yes, the Incubation workshop is a crucial time for your organization to receive guidance to create a project plan and refine your ideas with cohort peers. If a program management and/or implementation team member is unable to attend, please send another program staff in their place.

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