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PSVF Seed Grant applications are due on Friday, January 12, 2024 by 5:00 PM EST.

Application Requirements

3Ls are invited to submit an optional letter of intent to Deborah Valero-Montijano by November 29, 2023, at 5:00 PM to express interest and receive feedback. The optional letter of intent does not apply to alumni applicants.

Submit a completed application via CARAT, which includes:

  1. Resume/CV
  2. Law school transcript: official or unofficial transcripts accepted
  3. Required application essays: Note that the word limits are maximums, but you are free to write shorter essays. All essays must be submitted via CARAT as PDFs.
    1. Essay #1: The Problem – What social problem do you plan to tackle? Where possible, please provide evidence to support that the identified problem is significant and not already sufficiently addressed. (800 words)
    2. Essay #2: The Solution – Introduce us to your organization and describe your organization’s solution. (600 words)
      1. Why did you create it?
      2. Who is the target population and why will the world be better because of it?
      3. Please lay out in clear detail the mission, vision, theory of change, and logic model of the organization. (See sample mission doc.)
    3. Essay #3: Status – Tell us how far along you are. (400 words)
      1. What does the organization look like today (e.g., fiscal sponsor, incorporation, full accounting of money raised and expected, etc.)? 
      2. How many hours per day are you currently working on your organization? Please provide details regarding the nature of your daily work on the organization.
      3. Do you have a partner or multiple partners? If so, how is work split? How did you decide to do this together? 
      4. Do you have a board? If so, please include their names and bios.
    4. Essay #4: Landscape Analysis/Innovation – Describe 3-5 organizations that share a client base and/or issue focus with yours. (400 words)
      1. Explain how your organization would differ from, collaborate with, complement, or enhance the organizations already working in your field.
      2. How does your organization address a significant, unmet, need in your target community or issue area? 
    5. Essay #5: Sustainment and Growth – Tell us how you will sustain your organization and implement its objectives. (300 words)
      1. How will you build relationships in your community or field?
      2. How will you deepen your impact over time? Is scaling part of your vision?
      3. If your organization is unsuccessful, or you decide to leave your organization at the end of the grant period, what alternative career paths might you take? 
    6. Essay #6: Measure of Success – Tell us what short and long-term success would look like. (600 words)
      1. What methods will you use to measure your success, and how will you collect this information?
      2. What difficulties do you expect to encounter and how are you equipped to address those obstacles?
    7. Essay #7: Organization Origin Story – Tell us about where the idea for the organization came from. (1000 words)
      1. What was the vision for creating the organization?
  4. Two-year budget.
  5. Prepare benchmarks for years one and two using the PSVF Benchmarking Handbook.
  6. Three letters of recommendation: at least one recommendation must be from a Harvard Law School faculty member; at least one recommendation must be from an employer; the third required letter may be from a source of your own choice. Each letter must include the applicant’s name, recommender’s name, recommender’s email, recommender’s phone, and recommender’s relationship to the applicant. In CARAT, these will be uploaded as Recommendations #1, #2, and #3 under the Recommendations tab. Letters must answer the following questions:
    1. Why should we invest in this person?
    2. How will they be a future leader in this field?
    3. Why should we invest in this idea?
    4. Why do you think this is the right person to carry out this idea?
  7. Letter of support from a community leader or expert in the field. The letter must include the applicant’s name, sponsor’s name, sponsor’s organization, sponsor’s email, sponsor’s phone. In CARAT, this will be uploaded as Recommendation #4 under the Recommendations tab.
  8. Two references: you must provide two references in addition to the people who will write your letters of recommendation and support. These people must be able to speak to your ability to carry out your proposed work. In CARAT, these will be uploaded in the Additional Questions tab.

Application Instructions

  1. Tell your recommenders and letter of support writer how to submit their letters, informing them of our guidelines above before writing the letter, and to expect an email from CARAT asking them to upload their letter.
  2. Prepare all application materials.
  3. Complete the online application via CARAT
    1. Upload the required application materials in CARAT.
    2. To continue a previously started application, select the “in progress” tab on the homepage. This is crucial so that the correct letters of recommendation are attached to the correct application.
    3. Save your application frequently. CARAT is connected to your Harvard Key and may log-out due to inactivity and your work may be lost.

Questions about the PSVF Seed Grant application process should be directed to Deborah Valero-Montijano. For advice about the application process, feedback on application materials, interview preparation, and additional funding sources, contact Judy Murciano.