Research challenge grants

For Nonprofits

Understanding how well our programs are working is important! It helps us serve with excellence, leads to better results for children and families, and builds trust with our partners.

But knowing how to evaluate our practices can feel overwhelming.
This grant is designed to lift some of that burden off you and your staff.

Five winners will be selected and matched with an experienced academic researcher to provide in-depth data and assessment on ONE promising practice within your program. Each winning nonprofit/researcher pair will receive up to $10,000 to cover the direct cost of the process.

As an NGO, you’ll receive all the data and analysis in an easy-to-understand report that your researcher will help you process and apply.

The process is simple:

Take a short evaluation

This will help us to ensure you qualify!


Upon your results from the evaluation, submit a full application

Selection Process

Five nonprofits will be selected and matched with a researcher whose expertise fits your promising practice.


Together, you’ll begin the evaluation process!

More Questions?

Check out the FAQ's below!

We will send out the decisions as soon as we can, but we value your patience as we try to achieve the best matches possible.

Five nonprofit winners will be selected and matched with an academic researcher whose expertise fits their program.

A promising practice is an intervention, service, or strategy that shows potential for leading to improved outcomes for vulnerable children and/or families.

It is one single aspect within your overall program that you believe contributes to your program’s success. Examples include a mentoring program, parenting classes, or vocational training. It would not include an entire sponsorship program or residential care model.

Aspects that would qualify include: promising practices like mentorship, parenting classes, vocational training, or similar activities within your overall program. Aspects that would NOT qualify include: an entire sponsorship program or residential care model.

Note: A good promising practice to submit would…

  • Be specific
  • Be measurable
  • Have at least 30 children involved or impacted
  • Have some previous data associated with it

First, you can take this short quiz to see if your organization qualifies to submit a full application.

If you’re still unsure about your specific promising practice, we’d encourage you to schedule a half-hour consultation call with a Research Center staff member! Together, you can talk through your proposal and refine your application one-on-one. A limited number of slots are available, so book yours today! SCHEDULE YOUR CALL.

The money will be processed through the academic researcher’s institution.  All funds should be used for direct costs of the research.  No indirect costs (such as rent or utilities) will be covered.

Most evaluations will likely take about one year from start to finish. You will work with the researcher to develop a realistic timeline for both of you.

Your researcher will work with you every step of the way to make sure you understand the data and results.

This isn’t like receiving a report card. You will not pass or fail – you’ll simply learn!

The researcher’s goal is to help you uncover honest information about promising practice within your program. Where you find successes, you can celebrate with your staff and donors! If you find an area where you’d like to grow and improve, CAFO has many free resources to help you do just that.

You can always send your questions to Paige Anderson at [email protected]