Booz Allen Foundation Awards $1M in Innovation Fund Grants to Support COVID-19 Solutions

Booz Allen Foundation Awards $1M in Innovation Fund Grants to Support COVID-19 Solutions

Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 8:30am

CONTENT: Article

Protecting frontline workers and vulnerable populations. Developing new solutions to solve critical problems. Supporting communities and the safe return to work. Announced today—21 nonprofits, university projects, entrepreneurs, and startups have been selected to receive nearly $1 million in grants from the Booz Allen Foundation Innovation Fund in order to solve critical issues caused by COVID-19.

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 Booz Allen Foundation Innovation Fund is part of a broader coordinated philanthropic response to the COVID-19 pandemic by Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. and the Booz Allen Foundation—an independent 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to convening diverse stakeholders to solve challenging social issues, including those stemming from the pandemic.

Over 150 people conducted a multi-tiered evaluation process of the nearly 3,000 applications—whittled down to 30 semi-finalists that virtually pitched an expert audience with backgrounds in innovation, grant-making, and entrepreneurship. Winners were 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.

“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.” 

Brief overviews follow of projects selected to receive funding from the Booz Allen Innovation Fund:

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 EnclosureTM 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 population
  • 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.

Learn more about the Booz Allen Foundation and Booz Allen’s COVID-19 response.