Request for Proposal: Higher Ground Labs Progressive AI Lab

About the HGL Progressive AI Lab

Generative AI has become a powerful force driving transformation across industries, and its impact on politics cannot be underestimated. The recent utilization of AI by Republicans to generate and disseminate strategic content underscores the urgency for Democrats and progressive organizations to embrace this technology effectively. To centralize efforts, attract top talent, secure funding, and provide vital support, Higher Ground Labs has launched the Progressive AI Lab, serving as the hub for AI innovation within the Democratic and progressive landscape during the 2023-24 cycle.

Are you innovating with generative AI? Thinking about building something transformative for Democratic campaigns and progressive causes using generative AI? Looking for the resources and support to bring your vision to life? At Higher Ground Labs, we believe in the power of AI-driven solutions to help campaigns and causes win. We are excited to fund these new ideas. Read on to learn about the opportunity and how to apply.

The Opportunity

Since OpenAI’s launch of GPT-4 this past spring, the progressive tech community has seen a massive surge of interest in the application of this new transformative technology in our work. Generative AI can help us run better campaigns more efficiently and ultimately help us win. Specifically, it can save valuable staff time by automating mundane tasks, analyzing qualitative data into actionable insights, and optimizing our tactics. There is seemingly endless possibility — we have just scratched the surface. 

The Higher Ground Labs Progressive AI Lab is seeking proposals for applications of this technology that will directly contribute to winning 2024 programs. 

The Lab will offer grants to individuals and organizations to research, innovate, and incorporate AI in their work. These grants will be awarded by the Lab and can be made to any type of organization, regardless of structure or for-profit/non-profit status. 

Evaluation Criteria

Grant funds will be used to incubate ideas that originate from any type of organization or individual/team. We are excited to fund any idea that has the potential to shape how we use generative AI in the progressive space. The following guidelines will inform our selection process. 

  • Leverage What Exists: The tech industry is heavily investing in AI. Let’s not reinvent the wheel. Instead, we should utilize the tools already developed by giants like Meta, Google, and OpenAI, customizing them to our specific needs and only building what we must due to factors like restrictions around their usage in politics. 
  • Offensive vs Defensive AI Tech: Many people are focused on AI’s role in debunking misinformation. Defensive technology is vital and important and will be a piece of the strategy.  But we are also investing in ‘offensive’ AI that boosts campaigns, enhancing voter reach, donor engagement, and volunteer recruitment
  • Address Current Challenges: While generative AI holds a future promise, we’re interested in solutions that address today’s challenges for campaigns and aligned organizations. We’ll prioritize teams targeting actual challenges facing campaigns and organizations in this cycle over hypothetical ones.
  • Ideas That Are Possible Now: We’re eager to see AI’s power now, in time to have an impact in 2024. We’re scouting for teams that are leveraging the current state of AI technology, without waiting for the next big thing.
  • Tech + Practitioners: Our ideal teams combine technological expertise with practical application. We’re looking for collaborations that can deliver results for 2024.

About the Program

Our program will happen in three phases over the course of this fall.

Phase 1: RFP Response

Due Date: October 25, 2023
Deliverable: Completion of this form, including a short description of the problem you’re trying to solve, the team you have assembled (or will assemble) to solve it, and your high-level thoughts as to how AI can solve the problem.
Timing: We expect that this should take no more than an hour or two to complete.
Next Steps: A subset of RFP respondents will be selected to move on to Phase 2. 

Phase 2: Formal Proposal Creation

Due Date: December 4, 2023
Deliverable: A clear and actionable plan to solve the problem outlined in your RFP response. This should take the form of a formal proposal/memo that clearly outlines the i) problem, ii) how technology will solve the problem, and iii) how you’ll deploy the solution in 2024.
Timing: We expect that this work should take up to 80 hours to complete and we will provide $20,000 in grant funding to complete this work.
Next Steps: A subset of teams who participate in Phase 2 will be selected to receive further funding for Phase 3. 

Phase 3: MVP Creation

Due Date: Varies
Deliverable: A minimum viable product or usable proof of concept that you believe solves the problem laid out in your formal proposal.
Timing + Next Steps: Funding for this phase and the due date for the MVP will vary greatly depending on the specific details of each project. 

How to Submit Your Response

To submit a response to this RFP, please complete the form here:

As outlined above, we expect that this should take around one hour to complete. 

If you have any questions, reach out to us. We hope you will apply and look forward to learning more about your important work. Thank you for your commitment to improving our democracy through tech.

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