Booz Allen Foundation Awards $1M in Innovation Fund Grants to Support COVID-19 Solutions
21 winning teams selected to receive funding for innovative solutions to most pressing issues caused by pandemic
WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Booz Allen Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to convening diverse stakeholders to solve challenging social issues, today announced the recipients of nearly $1 million in grants from the Booz Allen Foundation Innovation Fund.
Established to support the development of creative solutions that address the wide-ranging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Booz Allen Foundation Innovation Fund was open to individuals, nonprofit organizations and eligible small businesses to apply from April 30 to June 5, 2020. Nearly 3,000 applications were submitted, coming from all 50 states, four U.S. territories and Washington, D.C.
The 21 winners selected to receive grant funding—ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 per project—are working to develop new solutions, systems, technologies and approaches that help build lasting community resilience by protecting vulnerable populations and frontline workers or support the safe return to work. Projects selected to receive grant funding include innovative methods to scale production of and sanitize personal protective equipment (PPE), new methods of contact tracing, the creation of mobile health units to serve at-risk communities, and advancements in providing mental health services, among other pioneering solutions to pressing issues caused by the pandemic.
“Our diverse set of winning teams displayed creativity, innovative thought and best-in-class ability to create impact for our most vulnerable populations affected by the pandemic,” said John M. Murdock, President and co-founding board member of the Booz Allen Foundation. “We asked applicants to provide their best and brightest ideas in an unprecedented time, and these award recipients delivered a wide range of solutions that will not only change the world, but also provide hope.”
Innovation Fund grant applications were reviewed by more than 150 individuals during a multi-stage evaluation process. From nearly 3,000 applications, 30 semi-finalists were selected to virtually pitch their projects to a team of external evaluators with backgrounds in innovation, grant making and entrepreneurship. The 21 winning teams were then evaluated and approved by the Booz Allen Foundation Board.
In addition to grant funding, award recipients also have access to ongoing support provided by Booz Allen Foundation partners, including: priority review for potential pro bono services for the nonprofit winners from Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., such as strategic planning, data science and analytics, cybersecurity, financial modeling, war gaming simulations and more; a virtual Seed Spot Boot Camp that includes business-building workshops, coaching and mentorship; and a complimentary copy of “IMPACT: Reshaping capitalism to drive real change” by Sir Ronald Cohen.
The Innovation Fund continues the Booz Allen Foundation’s ongoing support for communities impacted by COVID-19. On April 1, 2020, the Booz Allen Foundation and Booz Allen Hamilton launched a coordinated philanthropic initiative to address pandemic-related issues, including initial giving to address the immediate needs of vulnerable local populations through the Feeding America® network of food banks and community-based agencies, the CDC Foundation and the COVID-19 Military Support Initiative.
Booz Allen Foundation Innovation Fund Winners:
Nonprofit category: $100,000 each
Advance Peace; California and Texas
On the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Advance Peace Health and Safety Initiative supports formerly incarcerated community leaders who are going beyond their mission of preventing shootings by filling gaps in the social safety net for more than 25,000 of our most vulnerable neighbors.
Becky’s Fund; Washington D.C.
Through safe and silent technology, the ENDOVI mobile app will offer those affected by domestic violence immediate access to critical resources by location and a pathway to escaping abuse. ENDOVI will help save lives, turning victims into survivors.
MasksOn; Boston, Massachusetts
MasksOn is a nonprofit initiative to produce durable, reusable, and sanitizable medical PPE for healthcare workers at the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the grant funding, this project will produce and distribute emergency PPE mask kits to frontline health workers.
Minority Psychology Network; Santa Clarita, California
The Minority Psychology Network’s Mobile Mental Health Unit and app will bring culturally competent mental health care directly to essential workers in the neighborhoods they live in, connecting them to services, helping them navigate a complex system, and helping build resilience amid COVID-19.
Stanford University, School of Medicine; San Francisco, California
SPARK at Stanford, a translational medicine program at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, develops egg yolk-derived anti-SARS CoV-2 antibodies (IgY) as nose drops to inhibit viral infection. Unlike vaccines, IgYs are cheap and fast to produce for the world’s population, including for immunocompromised and older patients. When added to masks and handwashing, IgY will help slow down and potentially even stop the pandemic.
University of Chicago, Energy & Environment Lab; Chicago, Illinois
The RECOVER study uses experimentally assigned financial incentives and novel statistical methods to accurately estimate antibody prevalence in the general population. This will inform government decisions, improve epidemiological models, and provide a scalable blueprint for improved disease surveillance.
Non-profit category: $40,000 each
Coleman A. Young II Educational Foundation; Detroit, Michigan
The Coding Lab Accelerator: COVID-19 Challenge will challenge youth to use a series of innovative design solutions to use technology to address a crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Using the incubator model, high school students will form start-ups that utilize technology to solve a real-world problem.
Met Cares Foundation; Tulsa, Oklahoma
The Art of Us is an innovative, community-centered project blending art and social and emotional learning (SEL) to allow middle school students throughout North Tulsa the opportunity to be agents of change within their community.
Non-profit category: $25,000 each
Abaton; Washington D.C.
Abaton is a nonprofit dedicated to protecting frontline workers in low-resource settings by building and donating PPE disinfection devices. Shortages of personal protective equipment are endangering frontline staff across the globe. Abaton’s mission is to fill this critical supply gap and protect vulnerable populations.
Educational Alliance, Inc.; New York, New York
Educational Alliance is launching Community P.A.C.T. (Public Advisors Contact Tracing), an initiative to train and place at least 50 out-of-work New York City residents as public health advisors to support COVID-19 contact tracing efforts in New York City and state.
Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO); Carson City, Nevada
The Caretaker Project fills in the gaps in services to the most vulnerable in the Filipino community. It is a virtual help desk service that will: connect Filipinos to vital services (legal, wellness), debunk misinformation and warn against fraud and scams, and improve collection of community data.
For-profit category: $10,000 each
CNA Simulations VR; Baltimore, Maryland
CNA Simulations VR is building the first suite of clinical simulations dedicated exclusively to the certified nursing assistants (CNA) who help our nation’s older adults to age with grace. We are democratizing access to cutting-edge, virtual reality clinical simulations to grow the graduate pipeline for this essential workforce whose clinical training has been interrupted by the pandemic.
Copia; San Francisco, California
Copia is Solving the World’s Dumbest Problem by dramatically reducing food waste to end hunger. Copia’s technology platform helps businesses measure and prevent food waste; donate edible excess food to those in need; and reap significant financial benefits from reducing waste and feeding the community.
Olifant Medical Inc.; San Antonio, Texas
Olifant Medical responded to the call to protect vulnerable frontline healthcare workers at risk of infection when treating COVID-19 patients. Their STAT Enclosure™ aims to provide an additional protective barrier between clinicians and infectious droplets produced during high-risk airway procedures.
OmniVis; Indianapolis, Indiana
There is a need to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 pathogen) rapidly and accurately at the point of care. OmniVis is developing a low-cost, portable SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic on a smartphone-based platform. By rapidly detecting SARS-CoV-2 in patient saliva samples, frontline workers will benefit from a reduction in testing burden.
SciK9; Bear, Delaware
Canines are a rapid and mobile platform for detecting emerging threats and a variety of diseases. SciK9’s device allows safe training of canines without exposure to potentially harmful samples, aiming to demonstrate dogs’ ability to detect unique odors from humans infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Strike Labs LLC; Fairfield, Connecticut
The PPE Exchange, a Strike Labs LLC project, is a national clearinghouse of vetted buyers and sellers of personal protective equipment. It is a radically transparent financial platform for institutional entities that decreases PPE transaction friction and increases the fair market value of these PPE goods.
Individual startup category: $10,000 each
Masks & Robots; Boston, Massachusetts
Masks & Robots teaches digital fabrication skills to ten tailors/seamstresses in the Boston area through the design and production of face masks, addressing a local supply need while equipping small entrepreneurs with 21st century technical skills that can elevate their business and communities.
Ryde; Atlanta, Georgia
Ryde is a contactless method of calling an elevator. The platform will help the general public and at-risk population safely adjust to the new normal while optimizing elevator efficiency. Ryde is specifically designed to be accessible and useful for the elderly, frontline workers, and other at-risk populations.
Shield the Bay; Oakland, California
Shield the Bay provides face shields for Bay Area healthcare workers passed over by large-scale sourcing. Our human-centered designs improved the face shield product, but to build lasting community resilience we are aiming to meet growing demand by helping health systems procure high-quality alternative personal protective equipment in a way that supports local business.
Urinall; Clemson, South Carolina
The Urinall COVID Wastewater Detection System is a sensor platform that targets Sars-CoV-2 in wastewater streams closer to the source. A portable platform that provides rapid results, it is frontline protection for our most vulnerable populations in places such as hospitals and nursing homes.
About The Booz Allen Foundation
The Booz Allen Foundation was formed in 2017 as an independent 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. It serves as a convener of diverse stakeholders from the private, public, academic, and social sectors to solve challenging social issues through innovation and technology and build community resilience from the ground up. For more information visit https://boozallenfoundation.org.
Amanda Allison: [email protected]