As a scientist, getting a research grant often feels like an odyssey. It involves a lot of red tape and can take years to be approved. While it is a nuisance to all researchers, the process is especially frustrating for environmental scientists, who rely on grants to perform their research in the face of global climate change and a biodiversity crisis, where there is no time to be wasted. To change that, FootPrint Coalition, an NGO founded by actor Robert Downey Jr., developed a Science Engine – a system that both retains the accountability of the traditional grant system while massively increasing the speed of the approval process. Rachel Kropa is a founder and the Managing Director of Nonprofit and Science at FootPrint Coalition. At Falling Walls, she talks about how the FootPrint Coalition came about, and how it has already provided funding to roughly 30 projects, in some cases in a process that was finalized in as little as two months, without sacrificing scientific rigor.
Rachel Kropa is a founder and the Managing Director of Nonprofit + Science at Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition. She is also a founder and Managing Partner at Range Media Partners. She has 18 years of experience at the intersection of the entertainment and nonprofit spheres. Previously, Kropa was the Co-Director of the Foundation at Creative Artists Agency, a global entertainment and sports agency headquartered in Los Angeles, where she led social impact programs and environmental initiatives for the company and its clients. Kropa holds a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Virginia and an Archaeology Certificate from UCLA, she chairs the Los Angeles board of Peer Health Exchange, she sits on the Board of Directors of the Environmental Media Association, and she is a member of Sierra Club’s Arts + Entertainment Council.