The MEL team in the Open Society Foundations’ Economic Justice Program created a special fund to support structured learning and collaboration between its existing grantees. This resource is the learning fund application form developed for grantee MEL partners.
This resource is part of the MEL toolkit for grantmakers and grantees resource collection.
Authors and their affiliation
Jay Locke and Megan Colnar (Economic Justice Program MEL Team, Open Society Foundations)
Key features of the Learning Exchange Fund application form
Learning exchanges are a great way for people and organizations facing similar challenges to share ideas and generate solutions. But, in the words of one Open Society Foundations grantee, “There is never space and never money … to do this type of work.”
Given this challenge, the MEL Team in the Open Society Foundations’ Economic Justice Program created a special fund to support structured learning and collaboration between its existing grantees.
The fund provided the opportunity for two or more grantees tackling similar MEL-related issues—like which indicators to use—to set up and pursue a learning exchange. The MEL Team helped to connect grantees and made them aware of the fund.
This resource is the learning fund application form, developed by the EJP MEL Team for grantee MEL partners. It provides a brief overview of the fund structure, value, and requirements, along with a set of questions for applicants.
“I would absolutely recommend that other organizations do learning exchanges. … There is no need to reinvent the wheel with MEL issues: if I know another organization has done something interesting, I have no need to recreate that. But unless you are fortunate enough to have a contact at another organization and know what they are doing, you don’t have that opportunity. Funders need to create spaces for this to happen.” — Learning Exchange Fund grantee.
How have you used or intend on using this resource?
Donors and organizations that are seeking to support creative approaches that provide direct support for learning and engagement among MEL partners can use this Call for Proposals example as a template for their own learning exchanges.
Why would you recommend it to other people?
This resource can be used as a template to guide or inspire other donors or organizations that want to support creative approaches to learning and engagement among MEL partners.
This resource has been designed and revised based on feedback from grantees to ensure that the learning exchange approach was responsive to the needs and interests of organizations working on economic and social justice and that the parameters such as funding and criteria were appropriate for this peer learning mechanism. The example provides a proven template for others seeking to undertake similar activities.
Locke, J. & Colnar, M. (2019). Learning Exchange Fund overview and application form. Retrieved from https://www.betterevaluation.org/tools-resources/learning-exchange-fund-overview-application-form
These resources are part of the Seeding innovation, evidence, and grantee-led learning in the economic justice field series of the MEL toolkit for grantmakers and grantees resource collection.