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Applications to this fund are closed. 

The results of the Call for applications can be found here.

See application criteria below. 


Applications can be made to the ESCF for support to develop plans to scale social service innovations that meet the criteria.

    Click here to read the criteria 


Applications can be made by a) collaborations involving public and private agencies (lead applicant must be a non-profit); b) public agencies; or c) private non-profit agencies, in EU Member States, that aim to scale proven innovations that can effectively contribute to reducing, or overcoming, social challenges within or across countries.


The application must address social challenges within at least one of the listed focus areas below drawn from the Sustainable Development Goals and align with the three main categories of the European Pillar of Social Rights: equal opportunities and access to the labour market; fair working conditions; social protection and inclusion.

  • ageing

  • poverty and marginalisation

  • homelessness

  • disability

  • mental health

  • migration

  • promoting gender equality

  • dementia

  • digital inclusiveness

  • employment and job creation

  • inequalities

  • education, training, skills

  • community development

  • the role and place of young people in society

  • inter-generational solidarity

  • ecological and social transition


Applications must relate to evidence-based models of intervention that have been tried and tested. Preference will be given to innovations that have the most robust evidence of success (see Appendix 1 of the call and criteria document).


At least one member of the organisation(s) applying must have prior involvement in implementing the innovative model under proposal (See Appendix 2 of the call and criteria document setting out levels of implementation).


Plans also must be relevant to the social and implementation challenges in at least five EU Member States, two of which will be Central and Eastern European Countries - acknowledging the need for tailoring to meet the specific requirements determined by varying cultural and operational environments.


After the initial assessment of applications, shortlisted organisations or lead organisations of shortlisted consortia applying shall:

  • Provide audited financial statements (or equivalent available documentation in-line with the financial regulations of the lead applicant’s country) for the previous 2 years and shall complete a declaration that they do not have any ‘going concern’ issues.

  • Provide evidence of adequate management and financial systems.

  • Be GDPR compliant.

  • Ensure processes are compliant with EU ethical standards.

  • Demonstrate a commitment to gender equality.


Funding from the project is intended to support the planning process and will not be given for capital costs. The lead applicant receiving funding must be a non-profit public purpose organisation.


Each criterion below is weighted. Applications will be shortlisted for consideration based on an overall minimum threshold score of 60% and the thresholds indicated below. Genio will be responsible for the initial shortlisting of applications that meet the eligibility criteria. Decisions regarding the allocation of grants will be made by the consortium of philanthropic organisations contributing to the ESCF. During the assessment process, the ESCF may revert to applicants for clarification purposes. 

Preference will be given to innovations that have the most robust evidence of success and that aim to reach the most significant scale. Successful applicants will receive a planning grant of up to €100,000 along with capacity building support. A minimum of €600,000 will be allocated to support at least 6 plans. It is anticipated that the successful applicants will represent a range of social challenge and geographic areas.

    Click here to read the criteria and scoring


Potential impact

(Minimum threshold 42%)

a) Relevance and extent of the specific social challenge
What is the scale of the social challenge in the geographic area where the planning will take place?


b) Potential impact on the challenge
What is the extent of the potential impact of this innovation on this social challenge in this geographic area?



c) Evidence

What robust national and international evidence exists to support the model or innovation
in terms of its effectiveness? What is the evidence on the cost implications of the model compared to
alternative approaches?



d) Scope of potential impact geographically

What is the evidence that the innovation is relevant across EU Member States? What evidence is there that the approach is relevant in Central and Eastern European Countries? To what extent has the innovation been applied in other countries in Europe?

e) Promotion of citizen-centred approaches

Does the innovation support service users and end beneficiaries to be self-directed and to be involved in plans to scale social service innovations?




(minimum threshold 12%)


a) Capacities of the applicants

Do the organisation(s) applying have the capacities to produce the plan for scaling the innovation?


b) Networks and linkages

What is the evidence that key partners (public, private, non-profit, philanthropic) are open to collaborating on developing the plan in the geographic area where the planning will take place and what are the current linkages between the proposers and these organisations? Do the applicants have strong international linkages that could assist with this planning?



Quality of the application to develop the plan

(minimum threshold 6%


a) Activities

Description of activities, timeframe, methodology, risk management.



b) Budget

Are expenditures associated with the proposed planning activities reasonable and well substantiated?


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