More from the Responsive Portfolio

Responsive Portfolio

2015 Portfolio Update

How Project Ideas Become Grants

Special Projects

General Support for Advocacy

Event Sponsorship

Grantee Resources

2013 Special Projects Grantees

2014 Special Projects Grantees

For More Information

Program Officers by region:
Click to view a map of MFH regions

Central Region:

Terry Plain

Northeast Region:

Thomas Adams

St. Louis Metro Region:
Maranda Witherspoon

Southeast Region:

Jean Freeman-Crawford

Southwest Region:

Michael Renner

Matt Kuhlenbeck
Program Director, Responsive Portfolio 314.345.5541

Special Projects

Spring 2015 open call for concept papers

January 6 - April 20
Click here for the RCP and scroll down to learn more.

The Foundation’s Responsive Portfolio supports the health improvement efforts in communities within the MFH region. As part of the portfolio, the Special Projects Funding Program invests in nonprofit health-related organizations proposing time-limited, outcome-focused approaches designed to address a pressing community health need defined by key stakeholders and based on pertinent data. Special Projects is an opportunity for nonprofits to propose solutions they believe can have measurable impact on their community’s health in a defined period of time. 

Pre-Application Webinar

Click here to download slides from the webinar.

Click here to read answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

What we look for in Special Projects Applications 

Special Projects is a highly competitive process. We look for well-designed, focused, cost-effective projects with clearly articulated outcomes. You can make your application stronger by responding to the following questions and suggestions.

  1. What problem will you address? Describe the core project participants. Explain the specific problem they are facing and how the project will contribute to solving it. You should know how the project fits within your agency’s mission and the local service system.

  2. How do you know the project is needed? Focus on your participants, not on your agency. Staff, stakeholder and community input can contribute greatly to assuring that your project meets their needs. Relying solely on public information gives only a partial picture of need; facts and specifics about project participants will make a stronger case.

  3. What will change? Begin with the end in mind. An outcome is the direct, intended beneficial change stakeholders experience as a result of your project. It can be a change in behavior, condition, attitude, status or knowledge, but you should be able to describe what will be different for participants after your project ends.

  4. How will you know if you are successful? The answer and method for reaching it will be different, but every agency should be able to answer the question, “How do we know we’re doing a good job?” The methods should be the strongest you need to show results and make sense given the size and scope of the project.

  5. How much will it cost for participants to achieve the anticipated results? Rather than, “How much is available?” agencies should ask, “What do we need to accomplish the project?” The project should drive the budget, not vice versa, showing a clear connection between anticipated results and line-item requests.

What we don't fund in Special Projects

In addition to MFH’s Grantmaking Guidelines, Special Projects is not designed to support long-term, on-going programs. Special Projects does not support projects that duplicate efforts funded through the MFH Targeted Initiatives (Childhood Obesity Prevention, Improving Oral Health, Reducing Infant Mortality and Expanding Health Insurance Coverage).

Unsolicited Proposals and Inquiries

MFH does not accept Special Projects proposals received outside of the application process and open periods. You are welcome to contact the program officer serving your region to discuss your ideas and organization.

How to Apply

Special Projects applications are solicited through a two-step competitive application process. Applicants will be limited to one application per Employer Identification Number (EIN) during each open period in a calendar year (up to two total applications in a calendar year). The first step is a Concept Paper, accepted during the following open periods:

Open Call for Concept Papers

Request for Concept Papers

Spring Open Call

January 6, 2015 – April 20, 2015*


Fall Open Call

October 2015 - April 2016*


*Concept Papers will be reviewed as they are received