Request for Proposals




July 14 Due Date for Letters of Intent
September 1 UCI Requests Full Proposals from Selected Applicants
October 2 Due Date for Full Proposals
Early October UCI Conducts Applicant Interviews
October 25 Board Meeting
November 1 Grant Applicants Notified of Award Status
February 1 Due Date for Letters of Intent
March 1 UCI Requests Full Proposals from Selected Applicants
April 2 Due Date for Full Proposals
April 25 UCI Conducts Applicant Interviews
May 1 Grant Applicants Notified of Award Status


UCI Grant Review Process

The instructions for completing a Letter of Intent and Full Grant Proposal are given below.

Please do not submit a Grant Proposal until you have been asked to do so by UCI.

If you have any questions at all about the process or the Grant Proposal, please call Katy Spurlock at 901-385-4233.

Grantees will be required to submit Progress Reports twice each year, in October and April.


The Urban Child Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the health of the Mid-South population, particularly children. We pursue this goal through providing grants for innovative initiatives focusing primarily on prevention and wellness, as well as associated educational and scientific research activities.

Our primary focus areas are kindergarten readiness and 3rd grade literacy. The Urban Child Institute has a history of promoting awareness of the importance of the early years in a child's life. By supporting programs, policies and systems that serve under-resourced families with young children, the Urban Child Institute seeks to advance the vision of Shelby County as a place where all children are kindergarten ready and are reading at or beyond grade level by 3rd grade.

The Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit registered to operate as a 509(a)(3)—an organization that carries out its exempt purposes by supporting other exempt organizations. UCI was formed through its charter to specifically support three entities: Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital (Le Bonheur), the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and the University of Memphis (U of M). The charter also allows support of other 501(c)(3) organizations with missions that align with the goals of the Institute.


Certain types of requests will not be considered by UCI.

These include:

  • appeals for annual operating expenses
  • grants to individuals
  • assistance for “crisis management”
  • travel grants
  • endowments
  • debt reduction
  • financial aid
  • capital projects
  • indirect costs
  • projects outside the Mid-South region


The application process for UCI grants is designed to gather clear and concise information to support the applicant's request. Applicants will receive notification of the status of their request at the completion of each stage of the application process.

UCI has a two-step grant request and review process. 

Letter of Intent:

The first step is submission of a two-page Letter of Intent. It should briefly outline the key elements of the project: 

  1. Project title 
  2. Need
  3. Population to be served
  4. Goals and objectives
  5. Methodology or scope of work
  6. Estimate of grant request amount

The Letter of Intent must be on the applicant agency's letterhead in 12-point font with one-inch margins, and signed by the agency’s director or other authorized person. Letters of Intent may be submitted as a hard copy or as a PDF to the designated UCI contact listed below.

Katy Spurlock, Project Officer
The Urban Child Institute
600 Jefferson Avenue
Memphis, TN 38105 

UCI will respond by email to Letters of Intent within 30 days with either an invitation to submit a full proposal or by declining the request. Instructions on submitting a full proposal are provided below. If the Letter of Intent is declined, no substantially similar request(s) made by the same agency will be considered for a period of 12 months. 

Full Proposal:

UCI staff and board members review and conduct interviews for prioritization before submission to the entire board. The Board of Directors must approve all grants to be funded. 

Please review the guidelines and requirements below before completing the application.

All proposals should be written in a 12-point font with 1-inch margins. Proposals must be submitted online via email to Katy Spurlock. Proposals will include an abstract of no more than 150 words, a not-to-exceed 5-page narrative, and a budget. The recommended format is as follows:

1.     Abstract 

Identify the name of the project, the principal participants involved, plan for measuring results, the deliverables, the significance or impact of the work, and total funding request.

2.     Proposal Narrative (5 pages)

  1. Overview: Your organization’s background and mission

  2. Problem/Opportunity/Need: The need the project seeks to address

  3. Project Description: The goals, objectives, and work plan for the project

  4. Target Population: The target population and the anticipated impact on the targeted population

  5. Evaluation: Your organization’s strategy for evaluating the project

  6. Past Successes and Experiences: Previous efforts related to this project, and highlight how this project will build upon past work

  7. Collaboration: Project partners and describe how you will establish collaborative efforts. Special consideration may be given to proposals that reflect substantive collaboration with one or more of UCI's support organizations (Le Bonheur, UTHSC and the U of M).

  8. Projected Timeline: Expected completion dates for key steps, events, and deliverables related to the project

  9. Credentials of the project personnel: The qualifications, experiences, and credentials of the primary staff involved and why your organization is uniquely equipped to be successful. Applicant organizations are strongly encouraged to participate in the Stewards of Children training offered by the Child Advocacy Center. See this link for details:

  10. Long-term plan for sustainability of the project: The plan for extending the project into the future beyond funding provided by UCI. Your future funding section should include a specific blueprint for raising the money to continue operating your project.

3.     Budget: Budget summary with attached narrative and amounts requested and committed by other funders

4.     Audited Financial Statements: Most recent, or if not included, a reason for this omission

5.     Organization’s Current Annual Budget: The annual budget for project year(s) if significantly different

6.     Organization’s Current Board of Directors

7.     Proof of Non-Profit Status

8.     Additional relevant supplemental materials (not to exceed 10 pages)


Grantees are required to submit progress reports twice each year. UCI may ask to set up a site visit and/or request additional information about Grantee progress.