Project Grant

Call for application is temporarily suspended.

Applications for new projects have been suspended since July 2020 due to COVID-19. However, existing SPG awardees may apply to extend projects that have already made considerable contributions to resolving social issues but still require continued support.

To promote Sylff’s core mission and help fellows make a positive impact as leaders in addressing increasingly complex social problems in our interconnected world, the Sylff Association secretariat is offering Sylff Project Grants (SPG) of up to US$100,000 to fellows who are committed to bringing about positive social change over the long term and wish to undertake a large-scale social project.

SPG can be a powerful tool in enabling Sylff fellows to play the kind of dynamic leadership role envisioned by the Sylff Mission and Philosophy.

The Call for Applications is available in PDF and text versions (below), but the application form and related documents are available as text only. Download these documents from the links in section 3 (Application and Selection) on this page.

Applicants should read section 2 (Eligibility Requirements) carefully before submitting an application.

Call for Applications

1. About Sylff Project Grant

The Sylff Project Grant (SPG) supports long-term projects that can be expected to have significant social impact and make a tangible contribution to resolving a social problem. An SPG project should be initiated by a Sylff fellow and embody the Sylff Mission and Philosophy. As a rule, grants will be provided to projects whose feasibility and effectiveness have already been demonstrated and that are seeking scale-up, scale-out, and spin-out opportunities. Originality, creativity, and innovativeness are essential criteria for an award. The Sylff Association secretariat will provide a maximum of US$100,000 per successful project. Applicants are encouraged to combine an SPG award with other funding sources to enable projects to be undertaken on an even larger scale.


2. Eligibility Requirements

1. The applicant must be a Sylff fellow with leadership responsibilities for the proposed project.

(1) The applicant (Sylff fellow) is responsible for the overall project, including idea generation and conceptualization, design of the action plan, implementation, management, communication with the secretariat, and follow-up after the project period.
(2) Non-Sylff project members (paid or unpaid) may participate to undertake project planning, implementation, and management. The project may also include assistants, collaborators, sponsors, and advisors.

2. The project must directly address a social problem, employ original, creative, and innovative approaches, and demonstrate feasibility and sustainability.

3. The main purpose of SPG is to support “social action” that leads to significant change in society. Proposals focused on research are NOT eligible.

(1) Projects for theoretical or basic research will not be considered.
(2) Projects whose main outcomes are academic in nature (creating analytical reports, publishing papers and books, constructing databases and archives, etc.) will not be considered.
(3) Even if they are ultimately aimed at producing social benefits, proposals that do not include social contribution activities but are concerned with evaluating the effectiveness of methodologies, conducting experiments and surveys, collecting and analyzing data, etc. will not be regarded as “social action” projects.
(4) Projects whose implementation in society is essentially outsourced to a third party will not be considered.

4. As a rule, a proposal should be an outgrowth of the applicant’s current or past projects or be based on activities reflecting the applicant’s ability to successfully implement the proposed project. (If the proposal is for a new project without antecedents, the applicant should demonstrate in a convincing manner how the project can reasonably be expected to produce desired outcomes.)

(1) The applicant is required to have experience in the target field and a sufficient grasp of the project’s scale. A solid grounding in the subject and a reliable roadmap are required for the project to have a reasonable chance of effectively addressing a social problem.
(2) An SPG project should not aim simply to apply models and methodologies that have proven effective in one field to other fields.

5. A concrete plan should be drawn up to address the social problem in a sustainable manner after the SPG grant period.

(1) The applicant should remain committed to the target field on an ongoing basis.
(2) If the project is to be handed to a third party following completion, the applicant must obtain assurances that it will be continued in a sustainable manner.

6. Grants under this program cannot be made to for-profit corporations or to individuals seeking to conduct a commercial business.

7. While there is no prescribed project period, the Sylff Association secretariat reserves the right to suggest scheduling revisions upon reviewing the application.


3. Application and Selection

  • Applicants must submit an application form (downloadable as a Word file), two letters of reference (instructions included in the application form), budget (downloadable as an Excel file), and project schedule (downloadable as an Excel file).
  • The Association secretariat will screen proposed projects for initiative, innovativeness, originality, feasibility, social impact, and future sustainability. We may request interviews with applicants and/or referees on the phone, in person, or through other formats. The application will be assessed by the SPG review panel, and the secretariat will make a final decision on the grant.

4. Amount of Award

The maximum amount of a Sylff Project Grant is US$100,000. The actual amount disbursed will be reviewed and determined by the Sylff Association secretariat.


5. Project Budget

The purchase of office supplies and other required goods may be included in the budget, but the grant may not be used to construct buildings or purchase real estate.

When budgeting indirect costs, such as salary, professional fees, rent and utilities, and purchases of equipment, explanations must be given of how these items will be used in the proposed project. They should fall within the scope what an SPG grant can cover, and the secretariat may request that such costs be reexamined if it feels that items are too costly or account for an unreasonably high percentage to the total budget; it may also suggest that the applicant find other funding sources. Applicants may also be requested to revise the budget for direct costs before and during selection, or when an Agreement is signed. Applicants will be held accountable for all proposed budget items.


6. Grant Disbursement

  • The grant will be disbursed directly to successful applicants.
  • An Agreement will be signed between the successful applicant and the Tokyo Foundation (Association secretariat). In case the grant is to be disbursed in installments, the Foundation will discuss the number and timing of payments with the applicant and include this information in the Agreement.
  • A project report, including a narrative description of the results, and a financial report shall be submitted at the end of the grant period. The financial report must be accompanied by receipts. Should actual expenditures turn out to be significantly less than the disbursed amount, the Foundation may request a refund of the unexpended funds. The deadline(s) for the submission of reports will take the duration of the project into account.

7. Additional Funding Opportunities

If the Association secretariat determines that a project should continue to meet a social need, it may assist the grantee find other funding sources to further enlarge the scope of the project following the SPG grant period.


8. Schedule

Applications are accepted throughout the year. They should be submitted at least six months prior to the start of the proposed project. Please allow approximately four months to complete the screening process, after which the applicant will be notified of the decision.


9. Other Matters

  1. SPG recipients will be requested to share the results of their projects with the Sylff community in a variety of ways, including by writing articles for the Sylff website.
  2. Members of the Association secretariat may visit and observe SPG projects.
  3. All application documents and communications must be typed in English.
  4. Applicants may be asked to submit additional information during the selection process.

Awardees and Reports

Awardees and Reports

Sylff Association secretariat is pleased to announce the following recipient of SPG awards since fiscal 2017.



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Please be sure to read this page in the original language (English), not just as a translation using the “Translate” function. The Sylff Association does not guarantee the accuracy or appropriateness of the translation, which is offered through Google Translate for reference purposes only.

Inquiries should be directed to:
Sylff Association
Subject: Sylff Project Grant (SPG)
Email: sylff[a] *[a] must be replaced by @
The Sylff Association will accept inquiries related to this program via email ONLY.