Our five-phase grant application process

We're looking for partners who can help us make fashion a force for good. If you have the expertise, experience and networks to make our industry more sustaining, we'd like to find out more.

We focus our work on the four areas where we believe we can have the biggest impact: accelerating sustainable cotton, improving working conditions, eradicating forced labour and enabling circular fashion. Each of these signature programmes has its own Theory of Change, which informs what we do and do not fund.

We know that applying for grants takes a lot of time and energy, and so we aim to make our process as constructive, transparent and efficient as possible.

On this page, we describe the five phases we use to develop and approve new partnerships. The duration of each phase depends on how complex your initiative is and how much funding you're asking for. The whole process can take from just a few weeks to several months.


Phase one: Concept Note

We first ask you to summarise your initiative in a four-page concept note (download the template). This gives us a good initial understanding of how your initiative fits with our strategy and signature programmes.

Every concept note we receive goes to one of our programme managers. It's their job to begin the due diligence process: they'll look at whether your idea and our programme complement each other, how it contributes to our key performance indicators (KPIs) and if it's in line with our programmatic theory of change, while considering your organisation's capacity to deliver on your concept.

If you're applying for less than EUR 100,000, the head of programme and the programme manager will then work together to decide whether to approve your application. If positive, your application will move straight to phase five – grant agreement.

If you're applying for EUR 100,000 or above, the head of programme and programme manager will decide whether to request a full proposal.

Phase two: Proposal

We then request a ten-page proposal (download the template) with a detailed description of your initiative. The document includes an activity-based budget, Gantt chart, log frame and a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plan. The programme manager will provide feedback on your first draft, including input from the M&E team on your log frame.

When you submit your final proposal, the head of programme and the programme manager will decide together whether to present it to our Investment Committee. They will mainly base their decision on the strategic fit of your proposal. Will it deliver on our programme KPIs? Will it help us meet our mission to bring about deep systemic change in the fashion industry?


Phase three: Investment Committee

The Investment Committee is our global advisory body and consists of four senior internal stakeholders and four external experts. It meets four times a year (February, May, October and December) to review all grant proposals of EUR 100,000 and above.

If the Investment Committee approves your proposal, the programme manager will work with you to address any questions and/or integrate any recommended changes from the Investment Committee. If your application is for less EUR 500,000, you'll go straight to phase five – grant agreement.

Phase four: Board of Directors

The C&A Foundation Board of Directors meets twice a year (June and December) and reviews those grant proposals of over EUR 500,000 that the Investment Committee has recommended for funding.

Please note that the Board may also review proposals below this threshold at the discretion of the head of programme and/or the executive director.

Phase five: Grant Agreement

Once your concept note or proposal is approved, we'll create a legally binding contract between your organisation and C&A Foundation. This will include intended results, targets, milestones or reporting deliverables, and a payment schedule.