Thank you for participating in the Lone Star Prize. 

Before you begin, we recommend reading all requirements for this application, reviewing the Scoring Rubric that will be used to evaluate all valid applications, and assessing data from Texas 2036 in case there are ways to leverage their tools as part of your strategy and approach.

Applications must be submitted in English. Portions of your applications may be published online and will be shared with others during the evaluation process. These include, but are not limited to, Organization Name, Proposal Title, Project Description, Executive Summary, and Video Presentation

Be sure to review your application as it will appear after it’s been submitted (link at the bottom of the page) and confirm your changes have been saved. When you have completed all of the requirements, a message will be displayed on the screen. At that point, you can submit your final application. Once you have submitted the application, you will no longer be able to make changes.

You must submit your application no later than Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 5:00 PM Central.


This is your opportunity to make a strong first impression. Offer a brief and compelling overview of your proposal. Avoid using jargon, abbreviations or language that a layperson may not understand. The information in this section is likely to be made publicly available in a variety of online settings.

Project Title (10 words)

Provide the title of your project. Choose a name which easily identifies your solution and distinguishes it from any other projects. 

Project Description (25 words)

Provide a short description for your project in one sentence. 

Executive Summary (150 words)

Write a one-paragraph overview of your project that answers the following three questions:

  • What is a brief description of the problem that you are trying to solve?
  • How will you solve it?
  • What are your intended outcomes? How will your solution address the lives of the people you wish to serve, including historically marginalized people within that population, as well as result in systemic change?

Your Executive Summary should be a stand-alone statement of the problem and solution. It should not require any other context to clearly explain what you are seeking to accomplish.


You are required to submit a video that captures your project and describes why it should be funded. The video is an opportunity to showcase your passion and to pitch your story in a succinct format. We want you to share your vision with the judges in a way that is different from the written proposal format. This DOES NOT need to be a professionally-produced video.

In order to complete this part of your application, your team will upload a short digital film using YouTube. Set the Privacy Settings on your video to Public or Unlisted – do not set them to Private. 

Your video may be extracted from your submission and made available to the public and other donors. Appeal to a broad audience. Video submissions should follow these guidelines or else it will render the application ineligible: 

  • A length of no more than 90 seconds.
  • Your pitch must be in English, or if in another language, subtitled in English.
  • Your video must be captioned. See these instructions on how to use You Tube automatic captioning.
  • Your video should not contain identifiable children without written parental consent. If identifiable children have been included with parental consent, documentation of such will be required should you move forward in the competition.

Here are general suggestions for delivering a high-quality video pitch: 

  • Introduce yourself and your organization(s) and/or team.
  • Describe the problem that you are committed to solving.
  • Explain your solution.
  • Explain what is unique about your solution.
  • Describe how you would measure success and achieve broad but meaningful impact. 

Now that you’ve provided a brief overview of your project, focus on the talent and management of your team.

Principal Organization

During registration, you identified the Principal Organization responsible for receiving and taking accountability for any grant funds, as well as providing the direction, control, and supervision for the project. If the Principal Organization has changed, please Edit Registration Form from the Profile menu to update this information. Please note: All teams must be led by an organization that has an existing operating presence in Texas, and is in good standing within the relevant jurisdiction(s). 

Principal Organization Website or Social Media Page

What is the URL of the website or social media page of choice for the Principal Organization? If your Principal Organization does not have a website or social media page, insert “Not Applicable.”

Project Website or Social Media Page

Provide us with a URL to your project website or social media page of choice if one exists. Having a project website or preferred social media page is not a requirement for the competition and will not impact your eligibility. If you have not created a project website or a social media page, insert “Not Applicable.“

Primary Area of Expertise for the Principal Organization

Please select the primary area of expertise for the Principal Organization.

Team Collaboration

Does your team consist of two or more organizations with an executed memorandum of understanding (MOU) (signed and dated by all parties, including the principal organization submitting this proposal)? 

  • Team consists of two or more organizations but there is not an executed (signed and dated) MOU
  • Team consists of two or more organizations and has an executed (signed and dated) MOU
  • Team does not consist of two or more organizations

Memorandum of Understanding

If your team consists of two or more organizations, all the partners working within a formal collaboration must execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which the principal organization clearly has control and discretion over the use of the grant funds. For additional guidance read the Requirements Regarding Any Proposed Collaboration.

A fully-executed MOU that controls the relationships among the parties must be uploaded. You must upload a PDF file that does not exceed 10MB.

If your team does not consist of two or more organizations, then check “Not Applicable.”


If your team consists of two or more organizations, please list them using the legal name of each partner. If your team does not consist of two or more partners, please enter “Not Applicable.”

Why Your Team (250 words)

Describe your team’s leadership, its members, and its collaborators or partners. If relevant, include details about how and why the collaboration was formed. Explain how your team is uniquely positioned to deliver results and why you are the best choice to solve this problem. Emphasize that you have the right capabilities, experience, and commitment to execute your project. Lone Star Prize is open to teams and ideas that may emerge from outside of Texas, but proposals must focus on Texas-specific needs and context.

Biographies of Key Staff

For each of the top three managers responsible for the success of the project, please provide a name (First/Last), name of the organization the manager is affiliated with, and a brief biographical statement (no more than 100 words). The biographical statement should include the title for the manager and emphasize those credentials and experiences which are most relevant to the project.


This section provides the opportunity for you to more fully explain the challenge you intend to solve and show that you understand the nuances of the challenge that have informed your strategy.

Challenge Statement (250 words)

Describe the specific challenges that your solution will address, using non-expert language. Focus on setting the stage for your solution (versus describing how you intend to solve it) and discuss who is impacted by the problem and why the problem exists. If applicable, please reference and/ or incorporate Texas 2036 data and County profile information.

  • Who is impacted by the problem or challenges identified?
  • Why does the problem exist in the current environment?
  • What are the most influential ways to affect the necessary change, and where are the leverage points where the smallest change can have the biggest impact?

This section provides the opportunity for you to more fully explain how you to intend to solve the challenge you have outlined above.

Solution Category

Proposed initiatives will focus on the following three key issue areas fundamental to improving the quality of life for Texans: (1) Improving Health Outcomes; (2) Protecting the Environment; and (3) Boosting the Workforce.

Confirm that the primary Solution Category you selected in your Registration Form best describes your proposed solution for the Lone Star Prize. Go to Profile then Edit Registration Form to make any changes prior to submission – once you submit your application, you will not be able to make changes to these forms.

Solution Overview (250 words) 

Describe what your solution is or does, how it meaningfully contributes to solving the problem, and the short and long-term impact that your solution will have. If applicable, please share how your proposed solution strategically incorporates and/or builds on Texas 2036 data, County profiles and other tools.

  • Describe who will benefit from your intervention and the benefits or outcomes of your intervention. 
  • How does your solution meaningfully contribute to resolving the chosen problem across one or more of the Solution Categories listed above? 
  • How will you know that you are making progress?
  • Describe the impact that your solution will have on the chosen problem over a five-year grant period. Will it result in systemic change, have broad impact on a large population or geography, and/or have deep and intense impact on a small population or geography?

Theory of Change (150 words)

Describe the logic of how your solution will lead to the desired outcome. Your Theory of Change should read as a narrative explanation of both the projected and desired outcomes. Emphasize the methodologies that you intend to employ and how they create a causal link to your shorter-term, intermediate, and longer-term goals. As you develop your response, consider this Practical Guide for Creating a Theory of Change.

Innovation (150 words)

Share how your approach will more efficiently and/or more effectively lead to the intended outcomes for your target beneficiaries, and how it differs from, improves upon, and/or bolsters existing methods/practices. Highlight the ways in which your solution is bold and ambitious, any unique features, and any other information demonstrating creativity and innovation in your approach and proposed solution.

Priority Populations

Select your priority population(s) as the primary beneficiaries for your solution. You must select at least one priority population, and you are welcome to provide up to three.

Stakeholder Engagement (150 words)

Describe which stakeholders you have engaged in the design of your solution and how you will continue to engage relevant decision makers, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders at different levels—whether local, state, or federal—to ensure your solution successfully achieves your goals. Please identify any relevant stakeholders that you do not plan to engage and the rationale behind your decision.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (150 words)

Compelling proposals will fully demonstrate a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Not only do we expect teams to be thoughtful about working with a range of beneficiaries, but we also expect teams to think carefully about how to actively plan for and include the most marginalized and/or vulnerable from within those populations in solutions design, program planning, and ongoing work. Explain how you will ensure, or have ensured, that the design and implementation of your solution authentically embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion across all aspects, including persons with disabilities, religious or ethnic minorities, people of color, native/Indigenous peoples, women, gender identity and sexual orientation. Provide additional details on how you will provide opportunities and reasonable accommodations for those populations to either engage with and/or benefit from your solution, including as staff, advisors, partners, et al.


We will use primary subject area, locations of current work, and key words to tag your project in a searchable database, making it possible for other funders to identify projects they might find interesting to support.

Primary Subject Area

Select the primary subject area of the solution that you and your team are proposing.

Key Words and Phrases

Provide a list of up to 5 key words or phrases that can best be used to describe your project [ex. Social-enterprise, vocation, internship, training]. Choose key words that capture the essence of your project and its intended outcomes. The key words should be different from the selected “primary subject area.” 

Location of Current Work

Where are you currently implementing your solution? Select up to five locations that apply. If you are not currently implementing your project, you may not be eligible for this competition.

Location of Future Work

Where do you plan to implement your solution if awarded this grant? Select up to five locations that apply. These locations may or may not be the same as the locations where you are currently implementing your solution.


This section provides the opportunity for you to provide evidence that supports your solution. 

Evidence of Effectiveness (250 words)

What evidence do you have or why do you believe that the solution you propose will work? Present any internal or formal academic evidence you may have, including any results from complementary or previous work. If necessary, you may cite academic literature or papers. Use brackets and numbers to indicate relevant citations [#], which you can later clarify in a separate Bibliography section. The purpose of providing citations throughout the application is to affirm that any claims have been investigated and/or verified by a credible source or authority.

Ability to Scale (250 words)

Describe your plan for scaling your solution and its benefits. Scale may mean expanding to new populations or geographies, or it may mean how you intend to amplify your impact more deeply in one geography or population or context. If appropriate, explain whether and how you will need to tailor and adapt your solution for scaling and/or amplifying impact. What is the evidence, or why do you believe your results can be replicated? As you prepare your response, read MSI's Scaling-Up: Tools & Techniques for Practitioners and Scaling-Up: Management Framework for Practitioners.

Timeline and Milestones (200 words)

What is your expected timeline for project completion and what outcomes or milestones will you track to know if you are successful or on track to be successful? 

Measurement of Results (200 words)

How do you plan to measure the effectiveness of your proposed project? 

Barrier Assessment and Risk Mitigation (150 words)

How will you ensure your initiative is feasible and will work? Describe any barriers to success of the initiative, as well as any unintended consequences, and your plan to address those barriers. Discuss your experience and capacity to manage technical or logistical barriers. 

Bibliography (200 words)

If you included citations [#s] in the Evidence of Effectiveness section of your application, provide your bibliography with a corresponding bracketed number [#] for each citation. If you did not insert citations, offer a list of resources that may be used to validate general claims made in your application. Please link to any articles that may be accessed online, even if behind a paywall. We recognize there are many standards for writing a bibliography, and we do not enforce any particular format. It is your responsibility to make those citations easy-to-understand. If not applicable, please insert “Not Applicable.” 

Other Considerations (150 words)

This is your final opportunity to raise any other considerations. Here, you may emphasize or expand upon a previous point or provide new information, as necessary.


Indicate and describe the financial resources required to successfully implement your project.

Budget Narrative (200 words)

Offer a general overview for how your team would use the $10 million grant (USD), including the projected needs by category. You may include any explanations of existing resources you have already secured. Please explain what portion of the budget, if any, is expected to be spent on capacity building (a perfectly acceptable use of funds) to ensure effective execution on the project. Please also specify what portion of the budget is expected to be spent on measurement and evaluation of results.


Provide specific line items from the budget narrative (above) for your work. To help us understand your priorities, please provide a detailed budget for how the $10 million grant (USD) would be spent. Please make sure that any funds identified in this table reflect and clarify your general explanations provided in the budget narrative above. Budget should follow these guidelines or risk ineligibility:

  • Your budget must total to $10 million (USD).
  • Your budget should not allocate more than $1 million (USD) to a contingency fund or budget buffer.
  • Your budget must allocate funds to support Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning activities. Typically costs for these activities require anywhere from 5-20% of the total projected costs. Review our Guidance for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning for more context.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Indirect Cost Policy and represent how you intend to address any indirect cost categories. Indirect costs cannot exceed 15% of the budget.
  • Your budget must afford reasonable accommodations to make your project accessible to people with disabilities, as implementors, participants, and beneficiaries. Estimates frequently used for an inclusive (i.e. non-disability-specific) project are 1-3% of administrative costs and 5-7% of program costs. Review this Guidance on Budgeting for Inclusion for more context.                        

Total Resource Requirements (100 words)

Proposed solutions that rely on additional unsecured funding may not be eligible for the Lone Star Prize. If your total projected costs exceed $10 million (USD), explain how you have secured (or plan to secure) the balance of any necessary funds and provide an overview of how those funds will be used.

If your total projected costs do not exceed $10 million (USD), insert “Not Applicable.”


The following information is required to ensure your compliance with specific legal conditions, which are further explained in the RULES.

Charitable Purpose (100 words)

What is the charitable purpose of your project? Describe how the public or a subset, which is a charitable class, will benefit from your project. A charitable class must generally be an indefinite number of individuals who are the subject of the charitable purpose and not a limited number of specified individuals. For example, the class can be needy persons within a disadvantaged community but not a specified person in the community, even if the person is disadvantaged. There can be a comparatively small number of individuals, if the individuals are not identified and the class is open ended. Learn more about Charitable Purpose by watching this webinar on Common Legal Challenges for applicants.

Private Benefit (100 words)

Will private interests (such as shareholders, for-profit companies, contractors, consultants, or other individuals) benefit more than incidentally from the project as compared to the public or charitable benefit?

If your project will trigger any private benefit to one or more individuals, provide an explanation of how the public benefit cannot be achieved without necessarily benefiting those individuals and to what degree any private benefit compares to public benefit. It is insufficient to say that benefits gained will be due to all of humanity benefitting. Learn more about private benefits by watching this webinar on Common Legal Challenges for applicants and by reading our Private Benefit Rules.

If your project will not benefit any private interests, provide an explanation of your response.

Lobbying Activities (100 words)

Does your project involve any efforts to affect public policy through changes in existing legislation or the enactment of new legislation, and does your project require lobbying activities with respect to a specific legislative proposal? Refer to our Lobbying Policy for clarification.

If your project does involve any lobbying activities, then explain how the project involves any lobbying activities (as defined in the Lobbying Policy).  

If your project does not involve any lobbying activities, then simply enter “Not Applicable.”

Intellectual Property

Should your application be selected as a Finalist, you will be asked describe how you intend to treat such intellectual property to comply with the RULES. If your project relies on existing specific technology, products, ideas, or processes on which there are existing claims of copyright or patent right, review our Intellectual Property Policy, which describes the treatment of Grant Work Product (as defined therein) funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

Does your project involve the creation or use of any technology or other products, ideas, or processes on which copyright will be asserted or patents claimed?

  • Yes
  • No

In this section, please provide additional information about the Principal Organization. Before answering, use the Organizational Readiness Tool to understand your ability to be competitive according to the size of your annual operating budget.

Annual Operating Budget

What is the annual operating budget in United States Dollars (USD) of the Principal Organization? 

  • Less than $1.0 Million
  • $1.0 to 5.0 Million
  • $5.1 to 10 Million
  • $10.1 to 25 Million
  • $25.1 to 50 Million
  • $50.1 to 100 Million
  • $100.1 to 500 Million
  • $500.1 Million to $1 Billion
  • $1 Billion +

Number of Employees

How many full-time employees does the Principal Organization employ?

  • Fewer than 10 Full-time Employees
  • 10 to 25 Full-time Employees
  • 26 to 50 Full-time Employees
  • 51 to 100 Full-time Employees
  • 101 to 300 Full-time Employees
  • 301 to 500 Full-time Employees
  • 501 to 1,000 Full-time Employees
  • 1,000+ Full-time Employees

If your team is invited to participate in any future phases of this competition, you may be required to provide additional information (refer to the RULES and Timeline), including but not limited to:

  • A Tax Determination Letter
  • Audited Financial Statements
  • Articles of Incorporation, Charter, or similar documentation.
  • A more comprehensive Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan for the project.
  • Existing policies, if any, addressing conflicts of interest, whistleblower, internal controls, anti-money laundering, intellectual property, code of conduct, ethics, gifts, and any similar policies governing the organization

Lever for Change and/or Lyda Hill Philanthropies reserves the right to perform background checks on key individuals associated with the project, and the refusal by the key individuals to provide necessary authorizations will give reason to reject any application for further consideration. Background information and the results of any background checks will be kept confidential.

Lyda Hill Philanthropies®, founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Lyda Hill, is proud to be the Competition Sponsor of the Lone Star Prize to creatively invest in game-changing solutions and further our commitment to improve the quality of life for Texas communities.

Awarding $10 million to a transformative solution that improves the quality of life for Texans. Submissions have closed.

Lyda Hill Philanthropies logo

Lyda Hill Philanthropies®, founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Lyda Hill, is proud to be the Competition Sponsor of the Lone Star Prize to creatively invest in game-changing solutions and further our commitment to improve the quality of life for Texas communities.