Civic Engagement, General

Call for Submissions: New Profit’s 2022 Civic Lab Cohort

New Profit to Make $800,000 Investment in Eight Democracy Organizations in 2022

January 11, 2022

Note: This application period has closed


Launched in 2019, New Profit’s Civic Lab is a leading nonpartisan initiative that invests in and grows innovative solutions building civic trust and an inclusive democracy in America. To date, Civic Lab has invested in 14 game-changing organizations

We are seeking to invest in eight innovative nonpartisan democracy-entrepreneur-led organizations in the United States. Due to the significant funding disparity for organizations led by leaders of color, particularly women of color, at least 50% of our investments will be in organizations led by Black, Latina/x and Indigenous women-led organizations. Please read our State of Democracy Entrepreneurship report to learn more about the funding disparities we uncovered in our review of the 117 applicants to our 2021 investment selection cycle. 


Civic Lab investments are guided by four principles:

  1. We believe democracy entrepreneurs who represent the diversity of our country should be at the helm of leading efforts to transform the civic destiny of our country.
  2. We invest in the long game. 
  3. We need to unlock the latent power of everyday Americans to create enduring local leadership that will drive and sustain civic participation. We need breakthrough solutions that target the underlying structural and systemic conditions creating disenfranchisement in our democracy.
  4. We are committed to diversity of demographics, thought, and geography to unleash the full ingenuity and innovation needed to move our country forward.


Our Model

Civic Lab offers a synergistic support model to work with and towards the needs of each organization, creating value across several dimensions. This includes a peer learning community, 1:1 adaptive leadership coaching, consultations with external content experts, New Profit’s tested capacity-building framework and tools, and $100,000 in unrestricted support.

While each cohort has different needs, the base of our capacity-building program consists of:

  • Refining a systems theory of change and connecting it to a compelling story of impact
  • Assessing organizational strengths, capabilities, and areas for improvement
  • Building effective boards of directors
  • Developing effective practices for managing teams/stakeholders
  • Identifying effective practices for operational excellence in order to execute against organizational strategy (fundraising, finance, talent, and communications) 
  • 1-2 additional topics identified by cohort members as areas of need

Eligibility Criteria

Organizations applying to the Civic Lab cohort must fit the following criteria to apply. If your organization does not meet the eligibility criteria at this time, we invite you to join the Democracy Entrepreneurs Directory by filling out a brief online form. We created the Directory to amplify the work of democracy organizations with the broader New Profit network and other philanthropists.

Civic Lab eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Organization or fiscal sponsor must be a 501(c)(3)
  • Organization is led by a democracy entrepreneur. We define a democracy entrepreneur (often the CEO, ED, or equivalent title) as both the leader and final decision-maker of an organization’s internal/external strategy, daily operations and financial decisions. Outside of your board, the buck stops with you.
  • Organization will have been in operation for at least two years as of May 1, 2022
  • Organization has an annual budget of less than $2 million
  • Democracy entrepreneur (CEO/ED) must work for or have a plan to work for the organization on a full-time basis (~30 hours/week) as of May 1, 2022
  • Organization uses one or more of the five levers below to create increased civic trust and build a civic culture in America: 
    • Grassroots organizing 
    • Building diverse pipelines for public office 
    • Policy advocacy 
    • Narrative to counteract polarization and misinformation 
    • Data systems and operations infrastructure
  • Democracy entrepreneur plans to stay at the organization through March 2023, when Civic Lab programming concludes
  • Organization is not a previous New Profit grantee-partner, defined as an organization who has received funding from New Profit’s Build or Catalyze initiatives
  • Democracy entrepreneur commits to engaging in: 
    • monthly 1:1 remote coaching, 
    • three convenings (typically spread out over 2-3 days), 
    • and three 2-3-hour virtual learning sessions over the course of one year

If or when it is safe to resume in-person gatherings, convenings will be held in Boston, MA. Ability to commit to and attend ALL programming is required for selection. All programming dates will be provided during the investment selection process.


Applications have now closed. To learn more and/or apply, please refer to the following resources. The deadline to submit your application was Wednesday, February 9, 2022 at 5:00pm ET. 

For any questions, please contact the Civic Lab team at Please state “Civic Lab 2022 Question” in the subject line of your email. Due to the volume of inquiries we expect to receive, and in the interest of ensuring equitable access for all applicants, we are not able to offer individual phone calls to prospective applicants.

We invite you to share this opportunity with anyone in your networks who may be interested. And please stay tuned to our social media, website, and this mailing list for more information on this cohort and others over the coming weeks!

About New Profit

New Profit is a venture philanthropy organization that backs social entrepreneurs who are advancing equity and opportunity in America. Our organization exists to build a bridge between these leaders and a community of philanthropists who are committed to catalyzing their impact. New Profit provides unrestricted grants and strategic support to a portfolio of organizations led by visionary social entrepreneurs to increase their impact, scale, and sustainability. It also partners with social entrepreneurs and other cross-sector leaders to shift how government and philanthropy pursue social change to ensure that all people can thrive. Since its founding in 1998, New Profit has invested over $350M in 130+ organizations and unlocked over $1.7B in government funding for social innovation through the America Forward Coalition’s collective advocacy efforts.