Mar 12, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions About the Innovations Fund

The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action has developed a list of frequently asked questions about the Innovations Fund. Find answers to questions about:

General Questions Matching Funds Technical Assistance
General Questions

How much funding can my Action Coalition receive from the Center to Champion Nursing in America (CCNA)?

Ten Action Coalitions will each receive up to $25,000 from CCNA.

When is application deadline?

April 6, 2018 by 10 p.m. ET.

Who can apply?

Only designated organizations affiliated with Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action’s Action Coalitions may apply. All applicants must be a public entity or a non-profit organization that is tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code.

Does a designated organization accepting funds on behalf of an Action Coalition need to be a co-lead, or can it be another Action Coalition partner?

The recipient of the funds must be a public entity or a non-profit organization that is a 501(c)(3) at the time of application. If neither Action Coalition co-leads is a 501(c)(3) or public entity, another Action Coalition member organization may accept the funds on behalf of the Action Coalition. If an applicant is not a co-lead, the Action Coalition co-leads must submit letters of support for the designated recipient organization.

Does a public university constitute a “public entity” eligible for funding?


What will the reviewers look for in an application?

  • Projects that demonstrate a commitment to implementing the recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, while connecting that work to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Culture of Health framework.
  • Replicable strategies that demonstrate collaboration with diverse stakeholders.
  • A breadth of non-nursing stakeholder organizations that an applicant is partnering with, or plans to partner with, with a consideration of the strength of the partnership plans.
  • The amount of funding that the Action Coalition is requesting, and the total matching funds the Action Coalition has identified for this fund. The higher the cash match, the better.

If my Action Coalition applies for the Innovations Fund, can we also apply for other RWJF grants, including the Public Health Nurse Leader grant?

The Innovations Fund is a cash award, not an RWJF grant, and we always encourage Action Coalitions to apply for RWJF grants.

Can an RWJF Public Health Nurse Leader (PHNL) and his or her affiliated Action Coalition apply for both the Innovation Fund and PHNL grant?

A Public Health Nurse Leader and the Action Coalition with which he or she is affiliated may apply for both sets of funds, but must have separate matching funds for each award. If an Action Coalition chooses to link its Innovations Fund application to its  PHNL project, it must:

  • Describe clearly the connection to the PHNL project
  • Demonstrate how the PHNL project would help with the Action Coalition’s sustainability, and
  • Show how new partner organizations would strengthen the Action Coalition.

Is the Innovations Fund a cash award or a grant?
It is a cash award, not a grant. This initiative is funded by RWJF, but AARP, through CCNA will issue the monetary award. So if your Action Coalition is awarded funds, you will be asked to sign a memo of agreement with AARP.

Matching Funds

What about the matching funds?

  • Matching funds must come from sources other than RWJF.
  • Action Coalitions must match the Innovation Fund award dollar-for-dollar. In-kind support is encouraged, but does not count as a cash match. If there are circumstances that necessitate the matching funds do not align with the project timeline, please explain that in the application. The matching funds may come from any source. The more matching funds an Action Coalition is able to secure the better.

Do we need the matching funds in hand to apply, or will a pledge at the time of submission suffice? 

Matching funds should be either in hand or demonstrated by letters of commitment from the funder that must include the date by which the Action Coalition will receive those funds, and any special conditions. Preference will be given to Action Coalitions that have secured at least $25,000 or more in matching funds.

Are there rules around where an applicant can seek matching funds?

Matching funds may come from organizations such as independent and private foundations; family and community foundations; corporations and business partners; religious groups; local charities; coalition member organizations; from city, county, state funds, and federal funds, including block grants; or from individuals. Matching funds from multiple groups may be combined to meet the requirement.

Our Action Coalition receives ongoing support in a general fund from different organizations. Can we use these funds as part of the match for the Innovations Fund?

Yes. However, applications that receive funding or pledges of funding that are specific to this Innovation Fund will be reviewed as stronger applications than those with pre-existing general funds.

What if we cannot get matching funds or show a letter of commitment by the time we apply?

You must obtain and include with your application a letter(s) of commitment for the matching funds. But if there are circumstances that will delay receiving the match funds, please explain that on the application.

Would a previously planned project be considered for the Innovation Fund? 

However, the Action Coalition would need to demonstrate how this prior plan relates to at least one IOM Future of Nursing recommendation and the Culture of Health framework.

Would funding from a non-RWJF source received for a project already underway and unrelated to the Innovations Fund be considered as matching funds? 

However, the proposed project for the Innovations Fund should align with at least one IOM Future of Nursing recommendation while connecting to the Culture of Health framework.

Can an Action Coalition apply for funding less than $25,000?

However, applications with a $25,000 match or more will be stronger than those with a match of less than $25,000. Therefore, you might consider seeking funds from more than one prospective or other funder.

Can two or more states apply for an Innovations Fund as a team?

Two Action Coalitions could each apply separately for $25,000 award, and combine funds towards one project. Two Action Coalitions could also apply together for a $50,000 award.If two Action Coalitions apply together for $50,000, they would:

  • Need to raise a total of $50,000 of non-RWJF matching funds.
  • Decide which organization would be the primary applicant. The contract for this shared fund would be between CCNA and one organization representing the multiple Action Coalitions.

If more than two Action Coalitions are considering applying together, we are open to this innovative action. An application like this would need to follow the guidance of two Action Coalitions submitting together. Please email the noting your question so the team can reply to you.

Is the project start date and funding period flexible or we must adhere to the listed timelines?

Winning applicants will be notified in May 2018. We will disburse awarded funds by June and expect that the projects start by this time.

Do we have to include a Diversity Plan? What if our Action Coalition has not developed or completed one?

Applicants must include a copy of the Action Coalition’s diversity plan as it relates to the project for which you are seeking funds. If the Action Coalition does not have a diversity plan and wants to apply for the Innovations Fund, please contact CCNA at the We will provide assistance to help you complete it.

What are the reporting requirements?

Awardees must provide a progress report by the end of 2018 and a final report at the end of the Innovation Fund period in December 2019.

What font and size should we use on our grant application?

Please use Arial 11 font.

Technical Assistance

What technical assistance is being offered to the awardees?

Awardees will receive a social media toolkit with materials to announce the award across multiple platforms.

Are unsuccessful applicants eligible to receive any technical assistance?

All applicants, regardless of funding, may receive technical assistance for stakeholder engagement/coalition building and funding.

Will there be another future Innovations Fund Opportunity?

CCNA will evaluate the success of this round and may consider another round in 2019.