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- Tips and Good Practices
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Grant Seeker Guidelines
The Community Foundation is a non-profit community fund. It is a creative, cost-effective and tax-efficient way for people to invest in their community. The Community Foundation 's resources come from gifts made by individuals, companies, foundations, and charitable organizations. These gifts are used to create charitable Funds, which provide resources for grant making and help make a positive difference in the community.
Unrestricted gifts from donors to The Community Foundation are distributed through the annual Unrestricted Grants Program, a competitive process designed to help nonprofit organizations meet changing needs in the CSRA Region. Following an evaluation process, The Community Foundation awards grants based on identified community issues and the relative merit of the proposals received.
1. WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?
The Community Foundation considers grant applications from organizations that:
- Are determined as charitable under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, public entities or other charitable, educational or cultural organizations.
- Provide programs and services to the Greater Augusta area, including one or more of the following counties : Richmond, Columbia, McDuffie, Burke, Aiken and Edgefield .
- The Foundation will accept only one application per organization per year.
2. WHAT IS THE RANGE OF GRANTS?
The Community Foundation does not set a minimum amount for grant awards. The Community Foundation requires that application requests do not exceed $15,000.00 .
3. IS THERE A MATCH REQUIREMENT FOR FUNDS RECEIVED?
It is preferred that funds granted by The Community Foundation are to be matched by funding from other sources. Organizations are to submit only one (1) grant application to The Community Foundation per calendar year.
4. WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FUND?
Currently, The Community Foundation considers and funds applications in the following eight major program areas:
- Children/Family Services
- Civic Affairs
- Community Development
- Human Services
5. WHAT CRITERIA SHOULD APPLICATIONS EMPHASIZE?
The Community Foundation looks for proposals which:
- Has a program/project that will positively impact persons and/or the community.
- Develop competencies and skills enabling individuals to live fuller, more productive lives;
- Addresses a significant need affecting a broad segment of the region's population or special populations;
- The ability to leverage other funding through the use of matching grants;
- Promote the cooperation of two or more agencies to avoid duplication of services and to coordinate resources and programs;
- Demonstrate the capacity to provide the necessary services using good administrative and financial management;
- Demonstrate support from outside the organization to sustain programs with volunteers and in-kind resources;
- Promote systems or approaches which can prevent individual, family or community problems.
When evaluating requests, The Community Foundation also considers the balance of geography, needs and resources in the community.
6. WHAT ACTIVITIES TYPICALLY DO NOT RECEIVE FUNDING?
The Community Foundation discourages applicants from submitting applications in support of the following:
- Grants for individuals;
- Capital campaigns;
- Deficit financing and debt retirement;
- Political organization or campaigns;
- Lobbying legislators or influencing elections;
- Special fundraising events/celebration functions;
- Marketing endeavors and personal research;
- Core operating expenses for public and private elementary and secondary schools and public and private colleges and universities;
- Projects that are typically the funding responsibility of federal, state or local governments;
- Scholarship programs;
- Programs that have already taken place or will be completed in the current calendar year;
7. ARE NEW ORGANIZATIONS AND OPERATING SUPPORT ELIGIBLE?
The Community Foundation will consider the funding of new organizations for start-up or operating support, and smaller organizations for operating support. However, because The Community Foundation is interested in funding work that continues to address community needs long after the grant funds are depleted, these requests are reviewed carefully on a case-by-case basis and must make a convincing case that:
- The condition the proposal addresses is significant and can be measured;
- The applicant has the organizational ability to address the problem, is aware of other organizations that are working in the same area, and is the best organization to do this work;
- The organization and its program are likely to achieve the outcomes described in the proposal; and
- The organization has plans in place to ensure that its programs will continue to operate once grants funds are expended.
8. CAN ORGANIZATIONS APPLY FOR CONTINUED FUNDING?
Normally, The Community Foundation does not support organizations on an on-going basis, preferring to distribute its currently limited funds among many organizations. When The Community Foundation receives a request for repeat funding, decision-makers carefully review proposals for other sources of funding and evidence of long-term financial strength. Generally, a project receives funding for one year. If an organization has received funding from The Community Foundation for the past two consecutive years, the organization 's request may be denied. However, organizations are encouraged to apply for grants the following year.
9. HOW DOES AN ORGANIZATION APPLY FOR A GRANT?
Any 501(c)(3) organization interested in seeking grant support should follow these steps:
- Review the Guidelines for Unrestricted Grants and determine if your organization is eligible to compete for funds. You can contact The Community Foundation at 706-724-1314 to help you make that decision;
- Click application link, create a user account, record your login user name and password for future logins.
- Once your account has been created you will be asked a few pre-qualifying questions. You may then proceed with your application.
- You will not be able to make changes to your application once you submit.
- Applications must be submitted by 12:00 pm, Friday, August 18th.
If your proposal is approved, The Community Foundation will schedule a meeting with you to determine if the program identified in the application remains unchanged. It will also be a time to determine the appropriate distribution of the grant.
10. HOW DO I DEVELOP OUTCOMES FOR PROGRAM EVALUATION?
Through outcome measures The Community Foundation wants to know how it's funding is stimulating positive concrete change, as well as identify promising practices. Outcome evaluation also helps organizations assess their programs as a step toward greater effectiveness. The Community Foundation asks organizations to identify target outcomes in their grant proposal, and if funded, to report on those target outcomes in their final report.
In the Grant Application form, each applicant must:
- identify a minimum of three (3) outcomes that will result from the proposed project, and
- indicate the method(s) the organization will use to measure the outcomes.
Outcomes are the benefits and/or changes that occur in individuals or groups as a result of their participation in a program or activity. Outcomes can involve knowledge, skills, attitudes, behavior, performance, status or condition.
Do not confuse outcomes with broad or vague statements or with counting program activities. Statements such as "Young people will feel more empowered," are not adequate outcomes because they are vague and too broad. Similarly, counting program activities (like the number of people attending a training session, or the number of meals served to families who are homeless) only describes the amount of services delivered. It does not indicate whether participants benefited from the program.
Remember that each outcome should have two parts (1) a prediction of results and (2) a measurement method to determine whether each outcome has been achieved. The outcomes presented by applicants will vary because they depend on the specific goals and activities of the particular program.
Here is the difference between a goal and an outcome/objective.
- GOAL: To help children read better.
- OUTCOME/OBJECTIVE: Creation of a remedial education program to assist 50 children to improve reading scores by at least one grade level as seen on standardized tests given after six months of participation.
- The creation of what? (A remedial education program.)
- To assist who and how many of who? (50 children)
- To do what? (Improve reading scores)
- By how much? (By at least one grade level.)
- Using this tool? (As seen on standardization tests.)
- When? (After six months participation.)
12. APPLICATION REVIEW PROCESS
Once your application has been submitted it is reviewed by The Community Foundation staff before it is assigned to a Grants Panel made up of community leaders. The Panels may conduct site visits or telephone interviews for proposals selected for a more extensive evaluation. Grants Panel recommendations are then presented to the Grants Committee.
- Following its review, the Grants Committee makes funding recommendations to The Community Foundation 's Board of Directors at the December Board meeting.
- The Community Foundation's Board of Directors makes the final decision on grant awards at the December Board meeting. Written notification of grant decisions are sent to applicants within one week following the board meeting.
- A grant recipient has up to 12 months following the award notification date to request the funds. If funds are not requested within 12 months of the award date the grant will be rescinded.
13. WHAT ARE THE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS?
After receipt of the grant funds, grant recipients are required to submit a six (6) month interim report, and a final year-end report within 30 days of the anniversary of the final distribution of funds. The final report should detail how the funds were used along with the results of the outcomes submitted in the proposal.
14. WHERE DO I CALL IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?
The Community Foundation welcomes your questions and comments. Please call the Foundation's office at 706-724-1314.