Welcome to the Elevate Initiative

Elevating organizations advancing economic opportunity.

The launch of the Elevate Initiative supported 13 organizations doing on-the-ground work to remove structural barriers and accelerate economic mobility for communities of color.

About the Elevate Initiative

Frontline Solutions, on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, requested proposals from organizations engaged in addressing disparities within the American workforce. This process reflected a desire on the part of the foundation to expand relationships with organizations and communities.

Grants of between $100,000 and $300,000 were awarded to organizations nationwide. These organizations demonstrated a strong commitment to intersectional racial justice, and an ability to address economic disparities that affect Black and Brown workers as the result of structural racism.

The Elevate Initiative Guiding Principles

A Black-owned, national consulting firm, Frontline Solutions centers its work on intersectional equity, community-driven innovation, and activating broad networks for change. These are the tenets governing this process and the space for you to work within, from the release of this RFP, through the distribution of grants, and throughout our convening of a learning community. Specifically, Frontline approaches this process mindful of the following principles:


We will provide complete information regarding the grant requirements, selection process, evaluation criteria, and the expectations of awardees.


Frontline will endeavor to provide potential applicants with the fullest possible understanding of the context of this initiative in order to elicit the best possible proposals for achieving the goals of the project.


We want to respect your organization’s time and work. We will not require superfluous information or documentation upfront, but will clearly delineate what is required throughout the process in order to allow applicants the ability to determine whether this grant is appropriate for their work.


We are interested in securing applications from organizations that might not normally be in a position to apply to the Gates Foundation. As a result, we have developed a process that is designed to evaluate the quality of the proposals regardless of the resources applicants may have at their disposal to create a proposal.

Eligibility Requirements

Organizations applying for this grant opportunity must meet the following requirements: 

  • Focus on economic mobility and have experience working in partnership with communities of color and including the perspectives of those with that lived experience
  • Be willing to help build and engage in a community of practice with peer organizations for approximately 12 to 15 months
  • Demonstrate status as a 501(c)(3) operating or social sector-focused organization doing work within the Work and Opportunity portfolio’s target populations such as communities supporting Black and Brown workers, returning citizens, immigrants, those who are homeless or housing insecure, indigenous workers, rural workers, and women of color
  • Be in good financial standing
  • Be able to manage a grant of at least $100,000. If that amount would represent more than 50% of the organization’s total annual budget, be prepared to address the project’s sustainability after the grant period
  • Not solely engage in advocacy or any political lobbying efforts
  • Provide services in the United States
  • Have publicly committed to a set of racial equity goals or plans
  • Be committed internally to racial equity; preference for organizations with people of color leadership 
  • Have a demonstrable track record of workforce development programming