Monday, November 24, 2014

Smarter grantmaking benefits nonprofits

By Sarah Todd Clark
Savannah Morning News

A study released yesterday by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) contained some good news for nonprofits. Funders are increasing the amounts they allot to unrestricted grants, doing more multi-year funding and seeking more dialogue with nonprofits about their needs.

The study, “Is Grantmaking Getting Smarter?” surveyed 637 funders with assets ranging from under $10 million to more than $400 million. The largest group (36 percent) had assets between $10 million and $50 million. Of all the participants, 69 percent were independent foundations, 19 percent were community foundations, 5 percent were corporate foundations and 8 percent were other foundation types.

The study found that grants devoted to general operating support rose to 25 percent in 2014, up five percent in each earlier year that similar studies were conducted by GEO.

Fifty-eight percent of foundations surveyed said they made multiyear grants, doubling the number that reported giving operating support grants in 2011. With these figures, one can project that annual operating support grants have increased from 2011 by as much as $2.7 billion.

For decades nonprofits have tried to make the case to foundations that to succeed at their missions they need help with operating costs that underpin their programs. They got help making their case from several studies that examined the issue.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Bayview Hunters Point Community Fund was a small, private grantmaking fund focused on supporting youth development programs in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point area.

Spanning from 2001 to 2014, the Bayview Hunters Point Community Fund was a grantmaking and capacity building initiative that provided an unprecedented investment of private dollars to youth-serving organizations in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. The Bayview Fund forged new relationships, strengthened nonprofit organizations and leaders, and funded programming for thousands of youth.

This resource shares our reflections on capacity building for small community-based organizations. Throughout our 13 years, we found that many lessons and best practices around capacity building that are based on supporting larger agencies with a regional or national reach are not as effective when working with smaller, less established organizations. To be effective, our capacity building activities needed to be individualized, iterative, and responsive, focusing on healing and trust for individuals and organizations.

The Bayview Fund found that effective capacity building for small organizations working in under-resourced communities like Bayview Hunters Point requires a long-term commitment, flexible funding, and a willingness of both grantee and grantor to be vulnerable and open to change and input. We consider these factors to be a part of responsive capacity building, an intensive, individually tailored response to each organization’s needs, coupled with flexible funding, in the context of a trusting and honest relationship between funder and grantee.

In addition to strengthening our grantee organizations, our responsive capacity building approach helped to cultivate collaboration between organizations in the community. Through our responsive capacity building approach, we learned that effective leadership development for our grantees had to address the need for healing and increased well-being. Providing opportunities for grieving, reflection, and renewal helped to sustain our leaders and their organizations.

What follows are some highlights of our iterative grantmaking journey, including key elements of success for each of our responsive capacity building activities, and quotes from grantees gathered from 13 years of informal evaluations and feedback.

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Building Capacity by Transforming Grantor/Grantee Relationships

a service of The Foundation Center

We often hear that nonprofits desire a closer and more open relationshipwith their funders. And while many grantmakers support this idea, it’s not always clear what it actually means in practice.

The Bayview Hunters Point Community Fund offers one example of what it looks like when traditional grantor/grantee relationships are changed to foster mutual trust and a more personal relationship. We recently released a final report to share what we learned about capacity building over our 13 year initiative, during which we provided an unprecedented level of funding to 30 small youth development organizations within the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco.

We didn’t set out to transform the way we worked with grantee partners. Our original goal was to help build the organizational and programmatic capacity of youth-serving organizations in this low-income, traditionally African American neighborhood. But we quickly realized that to be effective, our capacity building activities needed to be individualized and responsive.

What did this really mean in practice?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Local nonprofit focused on single-parent families holding first gala fundraiser Friday

By Rachel Ham, Columbia, SC

Kids are discovering a love of reading with extra tutoring, middle schoolers are being kept off the streets in the summer, and parents are being given tools to better communicate and advocate for their children at a housing project in Columbia. The change to the complex is not the work of multiple agencies, but rather the programs are the work of a single nonprofit powered by volunteers.
The Center for Community and Family Transitions, which was established in 2010, is housed in and supported by Zion Canaan Baptist Church on Farrow Road. Board chairman and volunteer Jessie Chandler said the vision of helping families transition into stability and success was given to the church’s pastor. People from Zion Canaan Baptist and other parts of the city soon jumped on board to form the independent nonprofit.
Students put together beds for the CCFT garden plots. (photo provided)
Students put together beds for the center’s garden plots. (photo provided)
The center did a needs assessment of the community and found that working in the Latimer Manor Housing Complex would allow the nonprofit to meet a variety of needs for a large contingent of families. Volunteers did not just arrive at the apartments with a pre-ordained list of programs, but instead spoke to parents about how the center could help them specifically.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Charleston Association of Grant Professionals to meet Nov. 18

The Charleston Association of Grant Professionals (CAGP) will meet Tuesday night, Nov. 18, from 5:45-7:30 pm in the auditorium of the Charleston County Public Library, 68 Calhoun St. in Charleston.

The presenters will be grant professionals Phyllis Young of PY Consulting Services, and Mary Jo Thomas-Delaney of Grant Services LLC.

This is your chance to act as a reviewer for a grant proposal.   Phyllis and Mary Jo will give you the basics and guide you through the process of rating a proposal.  We will work in groupa, followed by a large group discussion about each proposal.

Membership for 2015:  CAGP will use Eventbrite for collecting memberships for the coming year.  You will receive an email with the link to go online to renew your membership or sign up as a new member.  Memberships are $36 a year (January-December).  If you have questions, please see Susie Goss, membership chair.

On Tuesday, Dec. 2, CAGP will celebrate the 16th anniversary of the group.  Richard Hendry from the Coastal Community Foundation will be the special guest.  Richard has been with CAGP at its December meeting for many years and this will be his last "official" CAGP visit.  Please join in for this special presentation.

On Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015, Tom Keith, president of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, will present the program.

Monday, November 17, 2014

South Carolina Historical Society's collection moving to College of Charleston

By Robert Behre
The Post and Courier

When the Fireproof Building opened in 1827, its construction was considered state of the art - a perfect place to store important government records.
But two centuries have a way of changing things.
The Fireproof Building at 100 Meeting St. is the longtime home of the S.C. Historical Society.
 Enlarge The Fireproof Building at 100 Meeting St. is the longtime home of the S.C. Historical Society. Robert Behre/Staff
And that is why the S.C. Historical Society - a statewide nonprofit archive that has called the building home for almost half a century - is moving its collection of approximately 2 million documents about a mile way.

John Tucker, the society's assistant director, said the nonprofit has felt it has two important obligations: to preserve and protect its maps, books and photographs, and to care for its historic building at 100 Meeting St.

"The thing that brought on this move has been plaguing us for years," he said. "We have two important collections ... and they've really been competing with each other."

So Friday was the last day for researchers to visit the society's records in their longtime home. These documents are being boxed up and won't be available until Jan. 12, by which time all of them are scheduled to be moved to the College of Charleston's Addlestone Library. An opening ceremony is set for late February.

The Fireproof Building was designed by Robert Mills, who also designed the Washington Monument and the U.S. Treasury Building. At the time, it was considered ideal for storing records because its brick, brownstone and stucco weren't flammable, and its ample windows provided natural light that lessened the need for candles. The society began leasing the building in 1955 and moved there fully in 1968.

But Tucker said the Addlestone Library is much better suited to house historical documents because it has modern temperature and climate controls.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

New way for nonprofits to raise money

Editor-Birmingham Business Journal

"Revenue at Birmingham's top 25 nonprofits on the BBJ's largest nonprofits List this week hasn't budged in four years. And some say it isn't going to if fundraising organizations don't change the way they do business.

"There is a movement across the country to make that change – and much of it includes changing the mindsets of those running the nonprofits and those giving to the nonprofits, said Shannon Ammons, CEO of the Alabama Association of Nonprofits

"Nonprofits need to ask the question, 'So what?' So you taught a class about birth control. But who cares? How did that help make Birmingham better?" Ammons said.

"In the cover story this week, Ammons talks about how nonprofits need to have measurable outcomes, but to move the needle, they have to move to a more "collective impact" model, she said.

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