The Philanthropy of George & Gladys Abell

Abell Innovation Award

Purpose: The purpose of the Abell Innovation Award is to think bigger and think differently about what is possible.

Abell-Hanger Foundation awards the Abell Innovation Award in the form of a grant supporting great ideas and the people who power them coming together to solve the community’s challenges. This is your chance to develop and test ideas, to solve problems and create opportunities for the people of our community to realize their full potential.

This grant can be used to develop new ideas, test ones you have already imagined or spread proven ideas with the goal of transformative impact. We are interested in ideas that inspire, equip, and connect people to lead change.

Why is Abell-Hanger providing this opportunity?

An opportunity to innovate is often the next step in organizational growth and advancement. The experiences provided by the global COVID-19 pandemic have required the for-profit sector to redesign themselves simply to survive and through that innovation, many have found ways to thrive. The same has been true for nonprofits, but perhaps they have been able to implement innovation only partially. This grant provides the additional capital to grow and continue forward momentum.

William S. Burroughs is credited with the quote, “When you stop growing you start dying.”

The goal of the Abell Innovation Award is to continue to enhance the quality, service, programming, and capacity needed in our local nonprofit sector to serve the people of our community.

What does innovation look like for a non-profit?

Organizational innovation is the action of the organization’s leadership to think bigger- think transformational!

One of the greatest examples of thinking bigger is the creation of the blood donation mobile unit. Over 70% of all blood donations are procured in a mobile unit. Going to the donors, instead of the donors coming to them was a game changer for the United Health Blood Services centers all over the U.S.

Thinking bigger enhanced the process for the supply of blood, the experience for blood donors, and transformed the organization to better meet its mission.

Potential categories – may include but not limited to:

    • Serving the needs of people where they are
    • Increasing the level of efficiency and effectiveness within the organization
    • Enhancing the level of service or speed of client applications or processes
    • Increasing communication with volunteers or staff members
    • A shift from to a model in which successes provide funding for future ventures and long-term sustainability.

How much should I request?

We will consider a grant request amount that is congruous to success of the scale of the project.

    • Applications are accepted year-round for the Abell Innovation Award.
    • Applying does not preclude you from applying for general operating support.
    • Selection occurs once a year.
    • Applications are to be submitted by March 31, 2022 to be considered.

How to Apply: All potential applicants will be required to schedule a call with our team before applying.

Please come to the initial meeting prepared to share your plan in a 30-45-minute presentation with a question-and-answer period to follow. Once you have met with our team and are ready to begin your application, we will request additional information about your organization. This may include audits, IRS Form 990s and internal financial statements. We collect these documents to understand the health and capacity of your organization and to provide better support to our applicants and grantees. We aim to be a resource and provide an “open door” to talk if there are financial challenges or areas where your organization struggles. Financial health is one of many factors in our decision making.

Selection Process:

Abell-Hanger Foundation staff will evaluate applications and select semi-finalists. Our Board of Trustees will select the finalists for the Abell Innovation Award on an annual basis (June of each year). We will communicate our decision via email with all applicants.

The Foundation hopes to build a supportive relationship with the Abell Innovation Award grant recipients. If you are selected, we will work together to create a grant agreement based on the scale of your project and use of funds.

You will be asked to share key lessons learned and outcomes. With your permission, portions of your lessons learned, and outcomes will be shared publicly within the nonprofit community network.  Lessons learned and outcomes are an important part of creating new solutions.


Congratulations to the Hospice of Midland winner of the 2022 Abell Innovation Award. 

Congratulations to the I-20 Wildlife Preserve winner of the 2021 Abell Innovation Award.