Innovative Project Support funds projects that seek to develop or expand the scope of models that improve the delivery of health care or respond to social factors that influence the health and quality of life of older adults residing in Philadelphia. Innovative Project Support grants are separate and distinct from our General Operating Support grants. 
The Innovative Project Support Committee considers requests for innovative project support grants typically between $25,000 and $125,000 annually for projects that serve vulnerable and underserved older adults residing in Philadelphia County. Innovative project support develops, extends, tests, and evaluates approaches to what sometimes seem to be intractable challenges. Innovative initiatives should be more effective than, and should ultimately displace, prevailing approaches.   

Examples include but are not limited to: 

  • Projects intended to discover new and better ways of solving pervasive problems that impact older adults. 
  • Seemingly small interventions that that when scaled, can have significant impact to addressing a big problem.  
  • Organizations and projects led by entrepreneurial leadership teams who are skilled at testing new ideas. 


It can be difficult for organizations to receive support for testing innovative models. The Sarah Ralston Foundation believes that older adult serving projects pursuing bold new approaches and opportunities could lead to significant change. 


Application Deadline September 1
Decision Notification November 15



  • Organizations and programs that align with the Foundation’s mission to support and enhance the quality of life of vulnerable and underserved older adults residing in Philadelphia County. 
  • Organizations that are based outside of Philadelphia County but provide services in Philadelphia County. In this case, grants would be restricted to the organization’s Philadelphia County-based program/s. 
  • Organizations and programs that reflect the guiding principles of the Foundation. 
  • Organizations, including newly established organizations, of the following types: 501(c)3 public charities, fiscally sponsored organizations or programs, supporting organizations, other 501(c) organizations (within legal limits). 
  • Organizations where older adults can go to receive services and socialization (examples: Senior Centers, Adult Day, and Behavioral and Mental Health Programs), organizations that provide in-home services (examples: Home Maintenance Programs, Food Programs, but excluding those services paid for by insurance), organizations that provide caregiver support and care coordination, and organizations that provide programs that support those older adults living in the community (examples: Information & Resources, Transportation, Food Programs, Housing Programs, Homelessness, Companionship Services, Virtual Programs, and other programs targeting loneliness and social isolation issues). 
  • There is no operating budget limit for innovative project funding. 
  • If an organization requests innovative project funding, the project focus must be serving older adults residing in Philadelphia County. Innovative project funding can be directed towards materials that are necessary for the project’s success.
  • The Foundation recognizes that innovative projects take time to develop and therefore provides multiyear support up to 3 years.


  • Programs of applicant organizations must serve older adults residing in Philadelphia County. 
  • The Foundation does not give grants to individuals or for-profit entities. 
  • Government entities are eligible for consideration as a non-lead applicant partnering with an eligible non-profit organization that is the lead applicant.
  • The Foundation does not fund outside of the following funding priorities: Access to affordable, equitable and high-quality care; Food insecurity; Behavioral and mental health issues; Caregiver support (family and significant others); Care coordination; Housing Programs; Homelessness; and Loneliness and Social isolation issues 
  • The Foundation will not purchase tickets, tables, ads, or sponsorships. 
  • The Foundation will not directly contribute to endowments outside of a capital campaign or expenses related to new construction of a building.

Funding Criteria

  • Fit with mission of the Sarah Ralston Foundation.
  • Significance or rationale: Why is the project important? What population is targeted?
  • Lead applicant: Does the lead applicant demonstrate past evidence of implementing quality programs for older adults? Does the lead applicant have experience conducting programs for older adults related to the proposed topic of the application?
  • Collaborative partners: If partners are described, is their role delineated and is there evidence of their commitment?
  • Project design: Are the goal and objectives clear? Are the proposed activities clear and meaningful (new idea, expansion of an old idea)? Is the implementation plan feasible as proposed?
  • Project impact: Is the likely impact substantial and sustainable? Is the project impact (results and outcomes) assessed in some manner?