Innovation Grants

Innovation Grants

SHRM Foundation Innovation Grants support SHRM state councils and chapters working to improve their communities and build inclusive organizations.

"If I can make a difference in my community, so can you"


The South Central Minnesota SHRM Chapter, led by Chapter President Cassie Kohn, developed Operation Employment: an initiative to connect service members and employers in their community. This program was made possible through an Innovation Grant from the SHRM Foundation, which the chapter won in the fall of 2018. This video, captured during an Operation Employment Boss Lift in May of 2019, shares more about the program and the efforts from the local chapter to make a difference in their community

About Innovation Grants

In 2020, the SHRM Foundation will award five grants of up to $10,000 each for programs or services that have practical and measurable effects on building awareness of the value veterans bring to the workforce or building the skills and abilities of HR professionals to attract, hire and retain veterans. 

Awards may be granted to an existing program that is ready for expansion, or for new projects that will be implemented within six months of the award date. 

Submission and Notification Timelin



January 15 
  April 15
May 15

Grant Distribution

SHRM Foundation will distribute the grants in two installments: 50 percent upon award and 50 percent at the program’s mid-point, as defined in the awardee’s timeline. The second installment will be released after a successful review of a progress report.

SHRM Foundation may request one or more grantees to travel to a SHRM Foundation event to present their program and preliminary or final results. 

How to Apply 
All applicants are required to submit a proposal including the following:

Complete an online application, including contact information, and: 

  1. Program/event description
    • Impact
    • Applicability and scalability
  1. Audience: What is the program's primary audience?

  2. Implementation timeline: When will you begin development and launch your program?

  3. Detailed budget ($10,000 maximum)

  4. Marketing and promotion


  • SHRM chapter or state council in good standing
  • Those who submit an application must be a SHRM member
  • Designated a SHRM Foundation chapter or state council champion in 2019
  • Conducting or planning a local program or community service event within the next six months that focuses on the SHRM Foundation Veterans Initiative 

By submitting this application, you agree to the Innovation Grant Terms and Conditions.  In addition, you agree that your application and any other information you submit is subject to the SHRM Foundation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.  The individual submitting this application on behalf of the SHRM Chapter or State Council represents that they have the authority to bind such Chapter or State council to these terms.  

The SHRM Foundation does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, disability, age, veteran status, ancestry, national origin or citizenship in the administration of its grant and scholarship programs.

Employees or national board members of SHRM or the SHRM Foundation and members of their immediate family are not eligible to apply for SHRM Foundation grants, awards or scholarships.

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Innovation Grant Winners

2019 Innovation Grant Recipients:

    • Program: Workforce Inclusion Strategies for Military-connected Individuals and Employers
  • Montana State Council
    • Program: Montana's Military Works
  • Sheboygan Area SHRM
    • Program: Connecting Military with Employers
  • SC SHRM State Council
    • Program: S.C. Veterans Employment Summit
    • Program: Bridging Relationships to Serve Veterans

2018 Innovation Grant Recipients:

  • South Central Minnesota SHRM
    • Program: educating employers on how to support employees serving in the National Guard and Reserves
  • Northwest Arkansas Human Resource Association
    • Program: coaching retiring officers on translating their military experience to civilian leadership positions 
  • HR Management Association of Palm Beach County, Fla.
    • Program: helping HR professionals write job descriptions for veterans and read veteran resumes
  • Illinois SHRM
    • Program: donating professional services to veterans as they prepare to re-enter the workforce 
  • Washington State SHRM
    • Program: formally recognizing employers committed to veteran hiring 
  • San Diego SHRM
    • Program: providing courses and mentorship to transitioning service members as they search and interview for jobs in the civilian workplace

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