Collaborative Innovation Fund

Creating A Healthy, Inclusive, And Resilient Coatesville

The Collaborative Innovation Fund addresses the impact of COVID-19, Hurricane Ida, and the closure of the Brandywine Hospital on the community and nonprofit organizations by tackling the various forms of community needs, inequity in healthcare access, and the difficulties of grantmaking to partner organizations in the Greater Coatesville Area. This fund directly supports community stakeholders with partnerships to create a healthy, inclusive, and resilient Coatesville.

About The Fund
Why Collaborative Innovation
Focus Areas & Objectives
Fund Recipients
Frequently Asked Questions

About the Fund

The Collaborative Innovation Fund offers unrestricted, general operating support shared between a registered 501(c)3 organization and a 510(c)3 grassroots community partner. The fund will award collaborative projects with grants ranging from $20,000 – $50,000 per year over a two-year period, for a possible total of $40,000 – $100,000. It is expected that within the budget that Grassroots Community Partner(s) will receive adequate funding as a collaborating partner.

Funding supports the development and implementation of collaborative projects that integrate social supports for emotional well-being (mental health) as well as at least one additional SDOH community need (Education or Employment), described as follows:

  • Emotional and Well-Being Support: to improve access to cultural and accessible behavioral health/mental health services through the implementation of telehealth or other virtual platforms, in-person counseling services, or other forms of emotional well-being health services provided by a licensed clinician or social worker.
  • Education: to support students’ most urgent needs within the CASD that address one or more areas of concerns identified in the CASD 2021 Comprehensive Plan including: K-12 learning loss due to the impact of the pandemic and K-12 English Learner Supports.
  • Employment: to support employment opportunities for unemployed and underemployed students, adults, and seniors, including Secondary School continuum support (paid internship or externship workforce development opportunities), intensive case management services that support employee retention, and transportation services to and from employment facilities.

Achieving a Healthy Community Together

Not one organization or one sector alone can make a large impact on the growing and challenging social, health, and economic problems in our community. The Collaborative Innovation Fund required a partnership of at least one 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with one 501(c)3 grassroots community partner. 

  • 501(c)3 Nonprofit Organization: Nonprofit organizations have capacity, content expertise, and access to other funding and resources to support the overall initiative that can help improve a community’s health.
  • 501(c)3 Grassroots Community Partner: A Grassroots Community Partner is defined as “people who are drawn together by something that they have in common that has both personal and community consequences and grant themselves the authority to solve the problem they are facing or create the future they desire.”   Grassroots Community partners often have the most sensitive understanding of the challenges, priorities among affected communities, and the solutions most likely to be embraced and sustained. The average operating budget for the Grassroots Community Partner should not exceed $500,000.

Why Collaborative Innovation

Our Learning Approach

  • We surveyed over 1300 parents, nonprofits, and community residents to address the critical needs following the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • We interviewed our 30 nonprofit partners and the impact of COVID-19 on their work
  • We reviewed other data sets that identified community needs
  • We assessed our own performance

What Did Our Survey Results Reveal ?

We asked the simple question: Before COVID we knew the Greater Coatesville community struggled with basic needs. Almost a year later, what would you say are the most pressing community needs?

What Did Our Community Say?

To assess the impact of the pandemic, Hurricane Ida, and the recent closure of the Brandywine Hospital.

  • The need for funding in mental health services
  • Employment and housing
  • The need for funding in General Operations
  • Improving/expanding quality services
  • Adding new services to meet the community need
  • 90% of grant partners forged new partnerships and collaborations as a result of the pandemic

Grantmaking Focus Areas

Capacity Building within the Nonprofit Sector (collective impact)

  • through nonprofit partnership
  • nonprofit content expertise
  • access to other funding and resources

Capacity Building within the Grassroots Sector

  • Sensitive understanding of the challenges and priorities of the affected communities
  • Viable solutions to be embraced and sustained

Grantmaking Objectives

  • To enhance the resources and support of various Social Determinants of Health affecting the Greater Coatesville Community following the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • To create prosperous relationships and partnerships between nonprofit organizations and grassroots community organizations
  • To increase general operating funding to organizations supporting The AHE’s mission to advance a healthier, inclusive, and equitable community
  • To reinvent capacity building by allowing the partnerships to receive personalized training based on each nonprofit and grassroots partner’s request.

Collaborative Innovation Fund Recipients

Collaborative Innovation Fund Recipients Addressing Mental Health and Employment Include:

  • Maternal and Child Health Consortium & Wings for Success to receive $100,000.
  • Two Fish and Five Loaves & Movement Community Development Corporation to receive $100,000.

Collaborative Innovation Fund Recipients Addressing Mental Health and K -12th Grade Education Include:

  • Chester County Futures & Arts Holding Hands and Hearts to receive $50,000.
  • Child Guidance Resource Centers (CGRC) & Coatesville Kids to College to receive $80,000.
  • Community Youth, & Women’s Alliance (CYWA) & Stages Arts Initiative & First Fruit to receive $50,000.
  • Parkesburg Point, The Bridge Academy and Community Center & Providence Church to receive $100,000.
  • Better Tomorrows & Coatesville Youth Initiative to receive $100,000.
  • Young Men and Young Women In Charge & The Women’s League for Minority Education to receive $40,000.


Do you accept or review unsolicited proposals?

No. The Alliance does not accept or review unsolicited proposals outside of our grant making cycle and Request for Proposals. For most grants, we will release a Funding Opportunity. At times staff will approach an organization directly and invite them to submit a proposal. Infrequently, we may solicit applications for a targeted project through an open Call for Proposals.

Do you fund organizations outside of the Greater Coatesville area?

Organizations must serve populations in at least one of our following geographic service areas: the City of Coatesville, the Boroughs of Modena and South Coatesville and Townships of Caln, East Fallowfield, Sadsbury, Valley, West Brandywine and West Caln.

What don’t you fund?

  • Capital Projects
  • Political Campaigns
  • Lobbying efforts
  • Individuals
  • Event Sponsorships
  • Research and development for a nonprofit endeavor

What type of organizations do you fund?

Most of our funding goes to tax-exempt organizations (nonprofits and public charities) and occasionally we fund public agencies. Alliance staff will identify and fund consultants (LLC with proper insurance) at our discretion.

In addition to funding, we want to be more than a checkbook. We share our expertise directly with nonprofit leaders, advocates, policymakers, and government officials to leverage and support improved practices and policies for the health of the Greater Coatesville community. We also share resources to build capacity of our grant partners.

Can you restate your new fund categories?

General Operations. All grants are General Operating grants. Grant recipients must focus on Emotional Well Being (mental health) integrated with education (K-12) and/or employment existing and/or new services.

What areas of work do you fund?

In support of our vision: a thriving, inclusive and health community for all, we focus our efforts in areas that address SDOH. We fund initiatives that align with our three strategic priorities:

Priority 1. Integrated Services: This priority supports partnerships that improve systems of care across clinical and community-based services and provides opportunities to address vital conditions that communities depend on to reach their full potential. Such as integrated health, mental health, family and social supports, housing, healthy food options, employment opportunities, reliable transportation, and quality education, all which can play a role on one’s health.

Priority 2. Healthy Community: This priority supports healthy inclusive spaces and places in settings like childcare, daycare, public parks, playgrounds and after school. Creating healthy environments through partnerships can bring forward health, equity, and dignity in public spaces that help to unite communities, strengthen social bonds and capital, and provide everyone with opportunities for good health.

Priority 3. Community Voice: This priority supports building civic infrastructure for community members to co-create a shared future that leads to positive community-driven solutions.

Must my organization and initiative focus on low-income populations?


Partnership Eligibility

How are you defining a Lead Partner Organization?

They must be able to demonstrate a track record of collaboration and partnership-building among organizations in other sectors to achieve common objectives. A Lead Partner must be a non-profit organization who will be the recipient of the funding awarded through the Collaborative Innovation Fund; they will need to demonstrate that it has the fiscal procedures and policies in place and capabilities to be the recipient of the funding. They will serve as the conduit for the grant funding, distribution of funds to the Grassroots Community Partner (s) and will have responsibility for grant reporting.

Organization must have a 501(c)(3) IRS letter of determination verifying status as an independent nonprofit organization.

The Lead Partner Organization must demonstrate that they are embedded and trusted by the community.

The following organizations would not qualify as the Lead Partner in response to the Collaborative Innovation Fund RFP, however they are encouraged to participate in the initiative:

  • non-profit hospitals
  • public charity foundations or private foundations
  • public benefit or B-corporations
  • community development financial institutions (CDFI)
  • school districts
  • any governmental entity
  • universities, or
  • non-profit health insurance companies

How are you defining Grassroots Community Partners?

Grassroots Community Partners are defined as “organizations who are drawn together by something that they have in common that has both personal and community consequences and grant themselves the authority to solve the problem that they are facing or create the future they desire.” Grassroots Community Partners (s) should be financially compensated for their time, community capital and resources. They can include:

  • Civic Organizations
  • Grassroots Community-based Nonprofits
  • Community Development Corporations
  • Faith-based Organizations

Why does the proposal require collaboration among at least one Lead Partner & one Grassroot Organization?

The Collaborative Innovation Fund will be funding partnerships between (at a minimum) one Lead Partner Organization and one GRASSROOTS COMMUNITY Partner. Additional partners with clear and defined roles are encouraged and will strengthen the proposal. Each partner brings unique but complementary resources, perspectives, and expertise to the collaboration. In recent years, we have witnessed a growing recognition that no one organization, or even one sector, can make much of an impact on some of our most challenging HEALTH, social and economic problems acting in isolation.

Can you elaborate on the role a local Grassroot Partner(s) should play in the initiative?

The AHE places great emphasis on providing resources to Grassroot COMMUNITY Partner(s) to be more than just the voice of the community. They should be contributing to the overall decision-making and priority-setting and play an authentic and engaged role in the coordinated action taken by the group. There are many ways this could take shape: groups could be a part of the decision-making process, have a seat at the table among partners, and/or should be stakeholders who feels a sense of accountability toward the work. Your proposal should feature strong and intentional communication efforts to engage your Grassroot COMMUNITY Partner(s). Exemplar proposals will be those that demonstrate plans to develop the skills and capabilities of members from the Grassroot COMMUNITY Partner(s) who can assist in sustaining the work going forward.

Are Letters of Commitments required as part of the proposal submission?


Applicants are required to complete the submission form that includes organizational name and mission; nonprofit status; most recent 990; grassroots partnering organization name, contact person(s), and organizational legal status; Social Determinants of Health area (education or employment) of concentration; and funding request.

Applicants who meet all criteria will be invited to a 45-minute interview that replaces a traditional narrative application.


Can you elaborate on the Let’s Talk Coatesville Collaborative Innovation Fund Workshop in which applicants are required to attend if they are considering seeking funds from the Collaborative Innovation Fund.

The Let’s Talk Coatesville Collaborative Innovation Fund Workshop scheduled for Wed., February 23, 2022, from 3-4pm, is intended to provide a more detailed overview for our Collaborative Innovation Fund. The Alliance will review the Collaborative Innovation Funding opportunity in detail, facilitate a Q & A session, and allow participants an opportunity to generate ideas, solutions, and partnerships. BOTH THE LEAD PARTNER ORGANIZATION AND GRASSROOTS COMMUNITY PARTNER MUST ATTEND ONE THE WORKSHOP.

Every Dollar Makes a Difference!

The impacts of COVID, natural disasters, such as Hurricane Ida, and racial reckoning keeps our community marginalized and vulnerable. Whether our community is dealing the long-term health consequences of the coronavirus, misinformation about vaccinations, or dealing with the economic consequences. Your donations will be put to great use to address the priorities and concerns of our community.

100% of your contribution will be put to work right away – we will not take any administrative fees from your generous gift.