We just wrapped up our second Crusade Engagement Grant cycle, and I could not be more excited by the submissions we received and the direction the program is moving in.
When we announced the grant last year, it was not only a new grant for a new organization - it was a new type of grant. We give money for building audiences, not for making work. We received a lot of applications, and a lot of strong applications, but it was clear that many of the people who submitted did not completely understand the purpose of the grant.
But this year it clicked. Maybe reading last year's finalists and winner ideas and having a full year to let ideas germinate allowed the collective lightbulb to go off. The ideas were creative and well thought out. There were so, so many solid ideas.
We made our decision based on which ideas were most suited to our mission – to connect people to photography. While many of the projects were very compelling and worthy of execution, their goal was to raise awareness about a different issue through the use of photography (instead of awareness of the art itself as the end-goal). While many others did fit our mission, ultimately we selected the ideas we felt were the most innovative, logistically feasible, and would have the most impact.