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2017 Round 1 Hive Fund Request for Proposals


Proposal Deadline: December 7, 2016

Award Notification: February 28, 2017

Grant Pool: Up to $400,000

Download or View the 2017 Round 1 Hive Fund RFP Document

Considering Submitting A Proposal? Complete This Intent to Apply Form and Schedule an RFP Consultation with Hive Network Staff First.


The Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning (Fund) at The Chicago Community Trust invites proposals from the Hive Chicago Learning Network to improve and expand connected learning experiences for youth in Chicago. Projects may also serve educators as long as activities and outcomes ultimately aim to improve learning opportunities for youth.


Today’s young people live in a hyper-digital and often-fragmented world. This is true in their lives as learners as well—learning can occur anywhere, anytime. Yet, equity of access to high-quality learning experiences remains a persistent challenge.  To meet the needs of the next generation, a growing body of research indicates that digital media tools and technology can be leveraged to connect academics to interests, learners to friends and mentors, and learning opportunities to the kinds of skills the new economy demands. These three elements undergird an emerging pedagogical approach called connected learning.

The Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning (Fund) at The Chicago Community Trust empowers educators to use connected learning principles, including the thoughtful integration of digital media and technology, to help engage all youth in meaningful 21st Century learning experiences.

The Fund works in partnership with the Hive Chicago Learning Network—a professional learning community for educators—as well as LRNG: CHI and the Chicago City of Learning— platforms that connect young people to new learning opportunities. Together, we are working to transform Chicago into a rich learning ecosystem.

Eligibility Requirements  

All proposals to the Fund must be led by a Hive Network Partner Organizational Member and require collaboration with at least one other Network Affiliate or Partner Organizational member. An organization can serve as the lead applicant on a maximum of two proposals. In addition to partner or affiliates, Network Allies and organizations outside of the Network may also team up on a proposal.  (Note: For-profit proposal collaborators cannot be direct recipients of financial support from the Fund, but may receive re-grants through the lead applicant on a Hive proposal.)  

Only previously funded projects that have demonstrated success and have the potential for growth are able to apply. New projects are not eligible to submit during this round of funding.  

Funding Priorities

Priority is given to projects that:

  • Address each of the Network’s member-driven goals.  
  • Help young people enact connected learning by exploring personally relevant topics, engaging with peers and mentors, and pursuing education goals which relate to higher order skills the new economy demands.
  • Encourage the active creation of digital media products as opposed to the passive consumption of content.
  • Challenge youth to develop 21st Century Skills (i.e. collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and creativity).
  • Have  demonstrated impact and are ready to serve more youth with improved outcomes over time.
  • Foster continuous learning through consistent programming and provide access to new learning opportunities.  
  • Register programs on CCOL and/or badge youth learning on other online platforms.  

Each proposal will be assessed using the following criteria:

  1. The proposal describes evidence for the need of such learning innovation; comprehensive strategy to recruit and retain participants; appropriate work plan, budget; and capacity to manage the project and partners.
  2. The extent to which the goals and outcomes to be achieved are clearly specified and measured.
  3. The project aligns with the type of grant being requested as described in the “Grant Categories” section.
  4. The partners’ plan to “work in the open” by sharing the project development process and outcomes with the Hive Network and Fund at meetings, workshops, online, and in other relevant forums internal or external.
  5. The project uses free and open-standards based technology and/or Creative Commons license, and will be made available to the public at little or no cost.
  6. The necessary matching funds, if applicable, are in place or anticipated.

Applying for a Grant

See calendar below for key dates and deadlines.

Step 1: Submit an Intent to Apply form and schedule a consultation meeting with the Hive Network’s Portfolio Strategist .

Step 2: Lead organization prepares full application in The Chicago Community Trust’s Grant Central online system. All non-profit project partners who seek direct payment from the Fund must complete a “partner application,” which requires fewer details, through Grant Central.  

The application must be submitted on Grant Central by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on December 7, 2016.  No late proposals will be considered. No proposals submitted by e-mail will be considered.  Receipt of your submission through the Grant Central system will be confirmed with an automated e-mail.

First, please consult the Application FAQ on the Hive Chicago website for support on the process. If you have additional questions, please e-mail Sana Jafri, Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning, at

Proposal Review Process

All proposals are reviewed by the Fund’s Review Committee, which includes but not limited to its donors, the City of Chicago, and a representative drawn from Hive Networks in other cities.  The Committee’s recommendations are reached by consensus, and advanced to the Advisory Committee (i.e. major donors’ leadership) for final approval. Hive Network staff consult during proposal review, but do not vote on grant recommendations.

A great idea is not enough!

A great idea AND a great partnership lead to success.

As you move into the final stretches of your proposal prep, please do not overlook the value of forming a healthy partnership with your collaboration team. Now is the time to establish clear roles and responsibilities based on an honest assessment of your mutual working styles and needs.

Review the Hive Healthy Partnerships Toolkit before you submit!

New: Final Reports

If your organization is in a funded project or has participated in the past two years (i.e. 2014-2016) as a lead, partner(s), or fiscal agent, we ask that you complete and submit grant requirements. All project partners who have outstanding portfolio pages and final reports will not receive payment(s) until all past grant requirements are met.

Please note that this rule does not affect an organization’s eligibility to apply for the upcoming RFP. We look forward to receiving your applications.

RFP Timeline

RFP announced at September Meetup September 15, 2016
RFP released (Apply Here) September 19, 2016
Grant Application will be available on the Trust’s Grant Central online system October 10, 2016
Consultations with Network staff Oct 17– Nov 18, 2016
Intent to Apply Form Due October 14, 2016
Proposals Due on Grant Central December 7, 2016
Site visits/conferences with Fund staff Select dates from December 12, 2016-January 11, 2016
Proposal Review Committee (feedback to applicants if changes required) Late January 2017
Final Approval by Hive Fund Advisers Late February 2017
Award announcements February 28, 2017
Funded Cohort Meeting (required for all grant recipients) March 14, 2017



Grant Categories

Funding through grant categories – Glimmer, Spark, Catalyst, and Lever – aims to encourage innovation and collaboration and to spread or scale successful ideas by supporting programs from inspiration to implementation to sustainability. NOTE: projects proposed in this round (2017 Round 1) must expand on or adapt a previous project. No new ideas are eligible at this time.

To open this table in a separate window, click here