grants are currently an ad-hoc process with no real structure behind them. creating a playbook for how to administer grants will hopefully continue to make LH money while still being a generous and charitable company providing founders with an accessible community for growth and learning.
a lot of grants are given based on the quality of the explanation given by the candidate for why a grant may be beneficial. it’s very difficult to quantify how much one person deserves over another so I have found the more effort someone is willing to put into explaining the situation the greater their need. we are often very liberal with grants, however many people get the full $2500 and then default on their membership without warning. many will not even respond after we reach out to them about the payment issue, which causes us to lose thousands.
this is typically the scale I (erin) operate on when making choices about grants with the most common amounts given being $2500 or $2000, we should probably create a broader range of grants instead of defaulting to most is best.
most people fall within at least 2 or more categories, these should be the people receiving the largest grants.
Current grant structure
POC, Female, LGBTQ+
Student or Recent Graduate
within 1 year of graduation
student loans, recent loss, regional strife (like wars or natural disasters), sole caregiver, etc.
other possible structures
POC, Female. LGBTQ+
Student or Recent Grad
within 1 year of graduation
student loans, recent loss, regional strife, sole caregiver, etc
more formal structure
currently, when people don’t fill out the grant section on the application but later request one, they are sending the details to my email. it would be useful for us to store these somewhere else, even if just in typeform.
the responses could in theory be a benchmark point for watching a startup progress and financially improve over time and help us connect founders with resources for their intended LH goals to ensure we are impacting their founder journey as much as possible.
if we chose to build out a table for this, we could easily track what contributions we have made whether it just be the grant or intros, discounts, investments, etc. we can use that data to follow back up with people and keep them LH engaged well beyond their cohort.
this would help us identify what types of grants we are giving out and be able to clearly track amounts for our own investor updates as well as see if people we give grants to end up falling short on their membership payments later on.
- we could backfill some of this by getting VA’s to input names of people we have provided grants to
- create metrics dashboard around this
- concrete numbers for future PR or email comms to potential members who ask about what we do for diversity and inclusion
- creates a precedent for future grant allocations and how we may want to change processes in the future
- most importantly, creates a record for reference and more abundant organization long term