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What is the amount and duration of the grant?
The grant amounts vary depending on the Design Residency pathway. Each grant term is for one year. The purpose of the grants is to offset start-up costs for the participant.

  • The Design Residency: Ventures grant amount is $30,000 per team and intended for start-up expenses. The grant may be used to support the personal financial burden of being a “sidepreneur” (i.e., part-time entrepreneurs) as well as to cover miscellaneous expenses of the start-up venture. Participants in this pathway are not expected to work full-time on this project. The programming schedule is designed with full-time working individuals in mind.
  • The Design Residency: New Start Charters grant amount is up to $150,000 per participant. New Start Charters is the only full-time pathway. Our experience has taught us that the chartering process requires great flexibility in time and much more targeted resources. Participants in this pathway will be hired as independent contractors with CityBridge. As such, medical insurance is not included.
  • The Design Residency: School Transformations grant amount is $50,000-$75,000 and paid directly to the school where the participant currently works. This grant is intended to off-set the salary of the leader working part-time on the project, enabling the existing school to hire additional capacity if needed.

What is the application and selection process? 
The application for all of the Design Residency pathways will open on December 14, 2020, and it will close on February 1, 2021.

The application consists of a written submission which will include supporting documents and a virtual one-way recorded interview that should take no more than 30 minutes to prepare and complete. Once the application closes, our team completes early diligence and a thorough application review. All applicants who have met the criteria of our early diligence process will be invited to participate in a phone screen and a final interview. In each of these interviews, we will assess the candidate’s leadership, the viability, and the demand for the solution. We expect to inform candidates of our decision by mid-March.

When do we start?
Each program begins with asynchronous work and light coaching in the spring. The cohort experience for Design Residency: Ventures and Design Residency: New Start Charters begins in mid-July. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 program season was completely virtual. We anticipate that we will be able to move to an in-person format in fall 2021. We will pay close attention to local health guidance as we approach the start date.

How selective is Design Residency?
This stage of the CityBridge Incubator is highly selective. We use a comprehensive, externally-vetted set of criteria when choosing our participants.

Do I have to complete the other stages in the CityBridge Incubator or complete a pilot to apply for Design Residency?
We do not require that Design Residency applicants complete the two preceding stages of the CityBridge Incubator. However, the minimum expectation for entry into Design Residency requires teams to articulate the goals of their venture and engage in some level of local piloting efforts to refine their solution. The earlier CityBridge Incubator stages teach these expectations and come with targeted support.

Can individuals or teams outside of DC participate?
No. We expect that participants live in the DC area. Additionally, all proposed solutions must target students in the DC public education system.

Do I need a team to apply?
Having a team is not a requirement in any of our Design Residency pathways, but it is highly encouraged. Our experience has taught us the value of building a solution with at least one other committed adult. We do not help participants find team members, but participants are invited to attend our events and other incubation programs to meet other equity-minded innovators.

What is the curriculum?
There are four key modules within each Design Residency pathway. Across all pathways, we teach a set of equitable design methods, how to build a theory of change, how to pilot, and how to build a guiding coalition or network. Within each pathway, we deepen the content knowledge and exposure to venture-specific material such as revenue models and instructional design.

Which programs are full-time? Do I need to quit my job?

  • Design Residency: Ventures is part-time. Participants in this pathway may choose to continue full-time work alongside this program. The Ventures pathway is designed for “sidepreneurs,” (i.e., part-time entrepreneurs) though we have had participants commit to their venture full-time. The decision to work on the venture full-time will not change the grant amount.
  • Design Residency: New Start Charters is the only full-time pathway. If accepted to the New Start Charters pathway, entrepreneurs are expected to commit full-time to this effort. Approximately 15-20 hours a week are dedicated to synchronous programming and coaching. Another 15-20 hours per week are dedicated to entrepreneurs engaging in external meetings and deliverable creation.
  • Design Residency: School Transformations requires that the participants remain as a team member in their current school. The funding is intended to directly offset the cost of one leader working on the early implementation of an equitable solution.

Can I participate in Design Residency if I am in another non-CityBridge program?
We encourage our participants to seek aligned opportunities to grow their skills, network, and financial resources. However, we are also acutely aware of the time commitment required of each of our pathways. If you are wondering whether Design Residency could complement another program commitment, please reach out to for guidance.

What happens after one year in Design Residency?
The support following the first year within Design Residency varies depending on the pathway.

  • Participants within Design Residency: Ventures will have access to up to a total of $100,000 to support their venture across two additional years.
  • Participants within Design Residency: New Start Charters who receive conditional approval from the DC Public Charter School Board will have access to up to an additional $250,000 to offset the costs of the pre-launch or launch year. These costs typically include facilities acquisition, executive coaching, and personal expenses.
  • Participants within Design Residency: School Transformations will have access to up to $75,000 to fully implement the new program model.

What business models do you support in Design Residency: Ventures?
The CityBridge Incubator prioritizes solutions that address an unmet need and could potentially have a positive impact on the DC education ecosystem. We will support the creation of ventures designed to rely on different types of revenue (e.g., fees, fundraising) and the business model that is most promising for an entrepreneur’s chosen goals.