Mobility LABs is a four-year initiative designed to learn what it takes to increase mobility from poverty—to provide a springboard up, rather than just a safety net. Mobility LABs will focus on three dimensions of mobility: economic success, power and autonomy, and being valued in community. One goal of the initiative is to identify new metrics, particularly for power and autonomy and being valued in community, which have been less explored in previous efforts. The initiative will also focus on promoting dynamic leaders who can change the national conversation around social and economic mobility.

Mobility LABS is a new partnership of major donors, including Tipping Point Community and Robin Hood, which serves as the managing partner for Mobility LABs.

Models proven to be effective in five regions—the Bay Area, New York City, Baltimore, suburban Chicago, and rural, northeastern Pennsylvania—will be lifted up as potential solutions for other regions across the country.

WATCH: Mobility LABs Launch at Robin Hood’s 2019 No City Limits Conference

Mobility LABs in the Bay Area

Mobility LABs in the Bay Area

Tipping Point’s $5 million investment in Mobility LABs will initially explore San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood, east Contra Costa County, and east San Jose. These communities were chosen based on data from Opportunity Insights, showing the stark block-by-block differences in economic mobility from poverty.

We are seeking local partners to develop solutions that are both data-driven (informed by the latest national and local data on mobility outcomes) and heart-led (informed by the perspectives of community residents who are experiencing poverty).

Three selected partners will each receive a $100,000 planning grant to develop targeted interventions to address gaps in mobility from poverty, and points during the life cycle where low-income children, youth, and their households experience obstacles to mobility. All interventions must be developed within the context of the community. Planning grant recipients will be responsible for developing plans and will not necessarily be the implementation partners. Up to $1.2M in total implementation funding will be awarded to organizations in each of the three communities (San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood, east Contra Costa County, and east San Jose).



STEP 1 – Submit a Letter of Inquiry

Tipping Point is seeking Letters of Inquiry from organizations or collaborations interested in serving as local anchor partners for this effort.  Please submit Letters of Inquiry to by 5pm PDT on May 3, 2019.

Letters of Inquiry should be no more than two pages (minimum 11-pt. font, one-inch margins) and include the following items:

  1. Organization information
    1. Name of applicant organization
    2. Website address of organization
    3. Executive Director/CEO’s name, title, phone number, and email
    4. Project director’s name, title, phone number, and email (this is the person who is responsible for overall project management of the proposed work)
  2. Additional background
    1. Why is your organization interested in serving as a local partner for Mobility LABs?
    2. Which geographic area would your organization plan to focus on: east Contra Costa County, Bayview, or east San Jose?  And, how does this geographic focus relate to your organization’s mission, history, and ongoing future commitments?
    3. Describe the demographics of the community where you would plan to focus, along with some of the preliminary opportunities and needs related to economic mobility, based on your initial assessment.
    4. Please provide a list of potential partners, a brief description of their roles, and a brief explanation of how partners will be held accountable for results.
  3. Organizational Capacity and Sustainability
    1. What is your track record of leading mobility-related efforts in the local community (e.g., jobs, education, early childhood, housing, health, or related fields)?
    2. How/why is the organization well-positioned to lead the effort to address the need outlined above?

Organizations submitting Letters of Inquiry need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be 501(c)(3) non-profit entities that are well-positioned to serve as the local anchor organization for a cross-sector effort (e.g., community foundations, community action agencies, or other community-based organizations).
  • Have significant cross-sector partnerships and infrastructure (i.e., existing collaborations and trusted relationships among nonprofits, government, business, academia, and philanthropy) in place to address issues impacting mobility from poverty.
  • Have a demonstrated track record of delivering results in their local community.
  • Plan to focus on families with children under age 18 (which may include services for both custodial and noncustodial parents, as well as guardians and other adults in the household who are responsible for raising children) or youth ages 14-24.
  • Be willing to focus on populations where there are large mobility gaps in their local community.
  • Have significant data capacity and/or a track record of establishing data sharing agreements (e.g., with school district and other data sets relevant for children and youth).
  • Be willing to work with the Opportunity Insights team during the planning grant period to use a combination of national and local data analysis to hone targeted interventions that are specific to mobility gaps and loss points in the local community.
  • Be willing to use a human-centered design or similar process during the planning grant period (e.g., must be willing to consult with Robin Hood’s Blue Ridge Labs Design Insight Group or another entity) to ensure perspectives of people experiencing poverty inform the design/improvement of the model.
  • Be willing to participate in and contribute to the Mobility LABs cohort of planning grantees, as well as share learning with other communities from across the country—e.g., philanthropic, nonprofit, public, and private sector organizations and leaders.
  • Have a clear interest in using both data and stories to change the narrative about and improve public understanding of the causes of and solutions to poverty.

STEP 2 – Planning Grant Selection

Tipping Point and Robin Hood will select two organizations/collaborations from each of the three Bay Area communities (six total) by May 31, 2019 to be invited to submit a full planning grant proposal.

STEP 3 – Submit Planning Grant Proposals

All organizations selected to submit a planning grant proposal must send proposals by July 12, 2019.

STEP 4 – Awarding Planning Grants

By September 6, 2019, Tipping Point and Robin Hood will select up to three organizations/collaborations (one in each community) to spend nine months developing pilot approaches to address gaps in economic mobility. A $100,000 grant will be awarded to each organization/collaboration for this planning phase.

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