Although there are over 60,000 foundations and countless corporations and individuals ready and willing to contribute to every cause, there is today tremendous competition for winning grants. The growth of the nonprofit sector is a major cause of this intense grant competition. Now, more than ever, it is important grant-seekers to be educated in the fundamentals of grant writing and research. With foundation grant funding, specifically, it is imperative that you are aware of the correct foundations that you should be submitting your proposal to.
There are 4 types of foundations: private, corporate, operating, and community. The correct foundation from which to request funding depends on your organization’s specific situation and needs.
Private foundations are most often set up by wealthy individuals or families. These foundations are typically set up to benefit a particular cause or causes. The Bylaws stipulate the types of causes it will support and the types of agencies it will fund. In general, foundations do not provide multi-year funding. Amounts of funding vary depending on the assets of the foundation. It is important that your organization submit proposals only to those private foundations whose guidelines your programs are well aligned with.
This type of foundation must have the approval of its corporate board and shareholders. Corporate foundations will typically fund programs within their geographical service area that will be of benefit to their employees or their community.
Operating foundations are organized to operate research, social welfare, or other charitable programs deemed worthwhile by the donor or governing body. These foundations do not usually fund other organizations’ programs and thus state “applications not accepted” in their guidelines.
Community Foundations are set up within geographic locations and generally will only make grant awards within a specifically targeted geographic area. Awards are typically small and not for multi-year awards. A community foundation accepts contributions from various sources and combines them in order to have sufficient assets to run the foundation, invest for growth, and award grants.
The bottom line is if you’re considering seeking foundation grant funding for your organization, you’ll need to be quite diligent and informed in your research. Not only will you need to choose the correct foundations, but also be aware of application forms, deadlines, award ranges, etc. Luckily, we’re here to help.