How Recoverable Grants Work

Recoverable Grants function like a loan that is repaid to Open Road Alliance. Recoverable grants help organizations with working capital, capital expenditure, or bridge loans in the face of an unexpected obstacle.
Application Criteria
Midimplementation
Unexpected
Discrete
Catalytic
Midimplementation

A mid-implementation project is one that is otherwise fully funded, staffed, designed. If not for this unexpected roadblock or opportunity, there would be no outstanding need

  • MEETS CRITERIA:

    A clinical trial is underway in South Africa. The trail is fully funded, and all personnel have been hired and trained. The trial is 6-months into the 18-month cycle. At this moment, something unexpected happens which threatens the success of the trial.

  • DOES NOT MEET CRITERIA:

    A health NGO is planning a clinical trial in South Africa. They have wanted to conduct this trial for years and now have a gift of $500K to make it happen- but they need another $50k to fully design and implement the trial as originally envisioned.

Unexpected

Open Road is interested in projects that encounter unforeseeable roadblocks or opportunities. Including changes in government regulations, laws, or tariffs, a crop-destroying virus, unusual weather conditions, or other events exogenous to program design.

  • MEETS CRITERIA:

    An NGO budgeted $200K to build an M&E database to improve access to programs & services. 3 months into the project the host country government asks to license the software. The required software redesign will cost $75K and 2 months to complete.

  • DOES NOT MEET CRITERIA:

    An NGO budgeted $200K to build an M&E database to improve access to programs & services. The project was supposed to take 4 months to complete. 4 months later the developer and NGO realize that due to the complexity of the work, they need another $75K and 2 months to complete the project.

Discrete

Open Road gifts are made to one project, one-time. This one-time gift addresses a specific solvable problem that has arisen mid-implementation. After a gift from Open Road, no additional funds should be necessary from Open Road or any other funder to see the project through completion.

  • MEETS CRITERIA:

    The development of a new mobile-health application for rural Americans is almost complete when the Affordable Healthcare Act is passed. The developer must hire a short-term consultant to adjust the software to remain compliant with the new law.

  • DOES NOT MEET CRITERIA:

    The development of a new mobile-health application for rural Americans is almost complete when unexpected budget cuts place staff salaries at risk. The NGO needs to find permanent replacement funds for on-going personnel costs.

Catalytic

A catalytic project expands impact significantly beyond a one to one relationship, resulting in a multiplier effect. Catalytic implies exponential or leveraged returns.

  • MEETS CRITERIA:

    An education-focused NGO is expanding its entrepreneurial curriculum to 200 schools in the coming year, serving an additional 2,000 students and training 500 new teachers. More importantly, through existing public-private partnerships, the Ministry of Education has agreed to adopt the program nationwide- if they can prove success at scale of 200 schools. Halfway through the school year, an unexpected roadblock occurs.

  • DOES NOT MEET CRITERIA:

    An education-focused NGO is expanding its entrepreneurial curriculum to 200 schools in the coming year. The expansion will serve 2,000 new students and train 500 teachers in their methods. Halfway through the school year, an unexpected roadblock occurs.

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Case Studies from Charitable and Recoverable Portfolios
  • Atlas Corps
    Geographic Region: Global- Applications Received from more than 130 countries
    Fund: Charitable Grants, Recoverable Grants
  • Worldreader
    Geographic Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
    Fund: Charitable Grants
  • Global Press Institute
    Geographic Region: News Desks in 26 Developing Countries
    Fund: Charitable Grants
  • Maryland Pesticide Education Network (MPEN)
    Geographic Region: USA and Canada
    Fund: Charitable Grants

View All Case Studies

  • Charitable Grants

    Charitable grants are designed to address either an unexpected roadblock or opportunity.

    Learn More
  • The Unexpected Fund

    TUF is a matching fund – we hope it will encourage other funders to help their grantees overcome an unforeseen challenge, and along the way help them think about setting policies that make risk management commonplace.

    Learn More

Through our portfolio of investments and independent research, we identify, seek to understand, and increase visibility for the unanticipated challenges that NGOs face.

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