January 12, 2012

Do you like this?

Pertaining to money that might have your name on it if you have the right idea, The UnFoundation will be making it’s first monthly $2,000 grant in the next couple of weeks.

The UnFoundation got it’s start during the 24Hour Launch event where co-founders Joda Thongnopnua and Bijan Dhanani and their business plan won the top-tier funding prize for new, innovative ideas. It’s approach to raising and dolling out grant money is very different in it’s size, it’s speed and it’s execution. Each month, applicants will submit  their idea to a a brief online form through the UnFoundation’s website. Small, nimble and able to make come to the decision making process quickly, the organization looks to make a fast impact on a diverse amount of organizations. We chatted with UnFoundation Co-Founder Bijan Dhanani about it’s scope and it’s operations.

The Pulse: The UnFoundation looks to cut through lengthy grant application processes for people with ideas to gain access to capital. Do you envision the grants increasing beyond the current $2,000 amount or is this scale important to keeping things simple?

Bijan Dhanani: Keeping things simple is definitely a core value. Although the thought of growth is an attractive one, we want this grant to remain simple, easy and accessible. We have locked in to our current size for a year (12 grant cycles) and will re-evaluate at the end of those 12 months. Each month, we’ll offer up to $2000, and at the end of the year we’ll offer a $10,000-plus grant for a larger scale project.

The Pulse: After the successful jumpstart for The UnFoundation at 24Hour Launch, you’re reviewing the first round of applications for the the first grant. How has it been going in terms of the original vision. Has the organization made adjustments thought the initial process?  

Dhanani: Its been surprising how much we’ve stuck to the original vision.  Although the idea has evolved, our core concept of offering micro-grants with as few hoops to jump through has remained.  We’ve definitely adjusted, but we were open to evolution throughout the entire creation process. We’ve just started reviewing the applications, and already have more than 10 without much publicity. I’m extremely excited to see the continued evolution of this project.

The Pulse: Are there sectors of business or no-profit that The UnFoundation is particularly interested in granting to or is it case by case, completely open to ideas of all types?  

Dhanani: Nope, we’re not preferential to any specific sector. Legally, we’ve organized this so that we are allowed to accept any sort of idea from any individual or organization. We are, however, open about the types of projects that we’ll be pushing for. Self-contained, charitable projects that can be executed using our funding as the primary source, will be more likely to get funded. Although we’re open to any project, we most likely wouldn’t fund an existing effort that our money would only partially fund. As opposed to being a means for people’s fundraising efforts, or a way to maintain their existing effort, we want to help people start new things and create simple and exciting projects that represent low hanging fruit—projects that anyone can understand and be a part of.

More info at theunfoundation.org.

January 12, 2012

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