Madison-based Forward Community Investments (FCI) has extended the deadline to apply for the first round of its new Game Changer Grant program to Monday, December 9.

The program will give monthly $3,000 grants to support programs and projects that work toward racial justice and racial equity. The real innovation is the application process: one five-minute cell phone video and one short form.

“There is so much red tape in the nonprofit sector, especially when it comes to asking for relatively small amounts of money,” said FCI president Salli Martyniak. “Smart, talented, dedicated people are out in communities, in the trenches, and they see what needs to get done. They have great ideas. They are doing the ‘heavy lifting” and they are committed to their communities but they need the resources. That initial grant application process can be a real hurdle. The stacks of forms can be very daunting for a small group or a nonprofit startup, not to mention the reporting requirements. We’re taking that hurdle down. We’d rather have you tackling the issues in your community than doing paperwork for money. If you can tell your story in five minutes, you can be in the running for a $3,000 grant. That’s the bottom line, and that’s the Game Changer.”

Applicants do not need to be a registered nonprofit, but do need to be a group of at least three unrelated individuals. Registered nonprofits are welcome to apply, but only if their overall annual budgets are $2.5 million or lower. To qualify, applicants must demonstrate that they’re working to reduce racial disparities in one or more Wisconsin communities.

Video production quality will not be a factor in deciding which applications are funded.

“We don’t want you chasing down top of the line equipment or hiring a video editor,” Martyniak said. “We just want to hear your story. We want to learn how the work you are doing is addressing racial inequities in your community.”

Videos must be uploaded to the Forward Community Investments YouTube or Vimeo accounts. Detailed instructions and login information are available at the FCI Website:

More detailed information about the application process is available here.

The first round of applications is due Friday, December 9. FCI staff will select ten finalists, and a diverse committee of community leaders from around the state will select three winners each quarter. The first winner will be announced in January 2017, and another will be announced each month thereafter.