Who is eligible for the OSV Innovation Challenge?

Applicants must be:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • A U.S. Citizen, legal resident, or visa holder; OR a non-U.S. Citizen with a valid passport, should the applicant become a finalist and need to travel to the 2020 Catholic Creatives Summit in Dallas, TX
  • Able to devote significant time to their project from May 2020 - April 2021.

You may only apply with one project per contest year.

Can I be a full-time student or have a full-time job?

Definitely. Be aware that these rounds will require more time and energy as they progress, but they should be manageable for working people. Should you enter the semifinal and final rounds, you will need to make a case for how you’ll devote an adequate portion of your time and energy to continuing the project and completing agreed-upon objectives with the OSV Challenge Staff within a year, from May 2020 to April 2021, should you be selected as one of the three $100,000 grantees. This can definitely be accomplished as a working person or student, but may require some personal adjustment.

Can a group apply?

Yes. Any number of people may submit an idea together; however, there will be one central applicant from the group. This person will be the point of contact for the contest, and the person who will travel to the 2020 Summit for the Finals. The group should create a team name for their application.

Ideally, your group will be a team with a history of collaboration. One-time or new teams will need to make a very strong case for why they are working together, and exemplify that they have the foundation to support their work throughout the project year.

If granted an award, all parties in the collaboration will be required to sign a letter of agreement stating their intention to finish the project together. Disbursement of the funding will be discussed on a case-to-case basis, and will likely be distributed through the central applicant.

A “collaborator” is a co-owner of the project and pivotal, essential part of the team, not someone who provides services on a work for hire basis.

If you apply as part of a group, you cannot apply with any other project.

Can an institution (LLCs, non-profits, businesses, etc.) apply?

Small businesses and nonprofits in startup phase will be considered. We define “startup phase” as a business or organization with less than 10 employees and at most $500,000 in annual revenue OR in its first 3 years of operation. There will still be one central applicant and point of contact for small businesses.

Groups within larger institutions (e.g., a committee within a parish) can apply as a team, but not through their institution. We will work with special cases like this to determine disbursement models.

What sort of projects are acceptable?

In broadest categories, we expect submissions to be artistic endeavors, business ventures, ministry models, physical products, and community or charity initiatives. We are open to new categories and genre-crossing ideas. The projects do not need to have an explicitly Catholic or religious purpose, but should positively further the central values of the OSV Innovation Challenge.

The intention of this contest is to find new ideas that can be incubated; as such, projects need not be operational or fully developed. The first application only requires a short description of the idea. This is sufficient for entry into the contest.

We do not fund documentation of past work, promotional projects, or implementations of projects from outside sources (e.g., bringing a pre-existing youth ministry model to a new parish).

Can I get funding for an ongoing project?

Yes. You’ll need to make a case that the grant will revitalize or expand the scope of the project. Institutions will need to demonstrate how the grant will accelerate an innovative business model.

Experience of the applicant, proof of impact, and thoughtful design will be necessary regardless of the project, so successful, in-progress projects will have that advantage. However, you will need to demonstrate how the funding and development opportunities will add a new expanse to the project. This grant expands projects into a different sphere and adds another level of impact.

What is the grant amount, and what is it used for?

The $100,000 grant will be used as direct funding (i.e., to pay for salary, raw materials, research, etc.) as well as personal development services like consulting, mentorship, and resources. We will work directly with awardees to determine the disbursement and budgeting for each project’s needs.

The $100,000 prize does not constitute an equity stake from OSV or Catholic Creatives; rather, it will act as philanthropic seed capital in both for-profit and non-profit project ideas.

Is this a scholarship or a research grant?

A tangible project must be the main aim of applying. This is not a scholarship for school, nor is it a grant to support academic research. However, we will work with awardees to determine if some education (such as a short online course, paid for using the grant funding) would be helpful in the accomplishment of the project.

Does my project have to generate profit or have a revenue model?

Not necessarily. Projects should be viable (i.e., be able to come to fruition within a year of funding) and have a measurable impact. Profit is only one way to measure this impact. Still, self-sustaining models that can move beyond the project funding are more likely to have a greater impact.

Consider whether your project idea will make meaningful use of your time and resources, be able to generate funding beyond the OSV Innovation Challenge grant, and have an impact in your life and community beyond the project year.

What if I need less or more than $100,000?

This year, we will be offering only three grants in this amount, and will not scale grants to match the project scope. Our Sunday Visitor offers scaled grants to Catholic institutions. Please visit their website to learn more.

Do I have to be Catholic to apply?

This grant is specifically for Catholic innovators. We welcome many expressions of the Catholic faith. We will work with applicants and ask necessary follow-up questions throughout the process should any discrepancies arise, especially in regards to the scope of the projects. Projects do not need to be explicitly or implicitly religious, but should represent Catholicism positively and accurately.

Do I need to come to the 2020 Catholic Creatives Summit if I’m a finalist?

The Catholic Creatives Summit will be in Dallas, Texas, from April 30 - May 3, 2020.

Attending the 2020 Summit is highly preferable. Travel will be funded. If selected as a finalist, your live presentation will constitute a significant evaluation factor in this final round.

We know this time may still be prohibitive. We will make accommodations necessary for pre-existing commitments and family limitations.



The sky’s the limit

because Heaven’s the goal.

Applications open on August 5 and close on December 1, 2019 at 11:59pm PST. The earlier you submit, the sooner you can gain acceptance to the next round.