Flash Grants

“It was the best grant I ever got in my entire life. I’d take it over a traditional grant many times its size. It took none of my time...that $5,000 paid for a whole year of our college programme.”

  • Flash Grantee Kelsey Kauffman
We want to hack the traditional philanthropy model, and we strive to develop more effective funding methods to influence systems. Individuals are best equipped to change the world, not funders. So we build partnerships with our fellows, offering resources, support, community and tools to give them the best possible environment to make progress. The Flash Grant programme is one such tool: the opportunity for fellows to nominate individuals for a $5,000 no-strings-attached award.
Flash Grants are a novel way for us to fund and explore cutting-edge ideas while allowing our fellows to grow their network. Fellows become philanthropists in their own right and build momentum towards the social change they want to make in the world. It is a low-risk, low-overhead opportunity for us to look closely at emerging themes and enable ideas outside of our and our fellows’ sphere of influence. It is also a route to increasing diversity, with many Flash Grants going to people traditionally ignored by an increasingly dry and risk-averse philanthropic landscape. As well as academics and educators, we have funded innovation in open hardware, awarded the work of graphic novelists, librarians, and industrial designers, and supported human rights activists from some of the most dangerous parts of the world.
Since we established the programme in 2011, our fellowship community has awarded $2.2 million to 447 individuals who are changing society for the better. Our Flash Grant programme is becoming influential over time and is both a direct inspiration and model for’s Open Calls programme. Our Flash Grantees are a huge resource of people and knowledge, and in early 2021 we established the first Flash Forward event, bringing them together to celebrate their ground-breaking work and discuss themes of sharing power and effecting significant change in the world. We intend to continue the evolution of Flash Grants to unlock new ideas and opportunities for collaboration in the coming years.
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