Disaster Relief Doesn’t End When the News Moves On

Can you name all the hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires of the past season? Thank G-d, many barely reach our radars – or the hurricane storm tracker radar – but others are remembered, with relief efforts continuing, for many years to come. 

When disasters make the news and are fresh in our memories, the collective conscious and conscience, donations pour in, but often don't reach all those in need, and are just a start of all the funds required to rebuild towns, cities and countries, long after the reporters and most volunteers have packed up and gone home.

Grants for disaster relief can be found on GrantWatch.com. Here are three of them:

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, Tribes, and IHEs to 
Support Volunteer Staff Providing Community Services, 1/30/19

Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, government agencies, tribes, and IHEs to support volunteer staff members carrying out a broad range of community services. National applicants must consult with state commissions prior to applying. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take at least three to four weeks to complete. 

Grants to New York Nonprofits and Agencies in Eligible Counties 
to Assist Individuals Affected by Hurricane Maria, 12/28/18.

Grants to New York nonprofit community organizations and government agencies in eligible communities to assist individuals who have migrated from Puerto Rico or are unemployed or underemployed due to Hurricane Maria. Funding is intended to provide job readiness and career development services, outreach and enrollment activities, employment access, follow-up services, and supportive services to the target population.

Grants to USA School Libraries in Multiple States to Recover from Natural Disasters, Ongoing

Grants ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 to USA public school libraries in multiple states that have been affected by a natural disaster. Funding is available to help libraries in PreK-12 schools replace and restore collections, equipment, and media. In addition to the regular grants program, a limited number of catastrophic grants of $50,000 will be issued to schools that have experienced significant damage or loss of library materials.

For over a year, Arkansas Pass citizens have been hard at work rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey destroyed their homes, businesses and public buildings. Harvey wasn’t expected to cause such devastation to this coastal bend Texas town, over 20 miles from Corpus Christi. Nevertheless, Landmark Apostolic Pentecostal Church lost their building, which housed the sanctuary, offices, a day care center and gymnasium. They canceled church the Sunday the hurricane hit but were back to preach and commune together the next Sunday, just six days later. Pastor William Riley said, “We were getting ready to add on to the building, so we had some money saved dedicated for that, but instead, it’s been used to clean up the site, demolish the building, and rent a tent, so we could continue to meet right away.”

“It was amazing to see the military presence, army, troopers, police and national guard came. There was no power for two to three weeks. We had to drive 20 to 30 miles to Corpus Christi to get any provisions we needed like food and gas." 

"We just pushed forward. Singing, playing music, preaching, when we’re in that tent you can hear us for a country mile.”

“The office was blown apart. Paper work was all gone. The storm surge came in and around from the back side of the property and destroyed it all.”

They’ve had church in a tent for over a year now, in makeshift accommodations. The gymnasium, 'phase one' in their recovery efforts, is due to be completed. “We’re putting in 10 to 18 hours a day to finish phase one. We still need light fixtures, electrical, framing, sheetrock, metal studs, insulation and such.”

Next, they’ll get to work on the Lighthouse Learning Center Day Care and finally on a new sanctuary and offices, but the money’s already run out. They’ve gotten some donations, but most of their community was so hard hit their members need help themselves.

Apparently, since Hurricane Rita, all the big insurance companies dropped wind and storm damage coverage. The policy they got through the state, only covered half the value of the property plus all the repairs, when the insurance payment finally came through. They got a loan from SBA and met with 5-6 FEMA representatives. "They didn’t give us anything, even though we had a day care.  I’d have to hire a full-time staff just to get through the re-tape and requirements they set. It was just not workable.  We paid for everything out of our savings and the associate pastor, my family and I have been doing all the work ourselves.”  People were out of work, many businesses were destroyed including Riley’s own, supplying dump-trucks, back hoes, tools and heavy equipment. It all got salt water damage. 

The day care, which should be back up and running in January, should generate some income and bring a few jobs back to the community, but they don’t know where the rest of the funding will come from, so they’ve started looking for grants.   

In the past the Florida Irma Emergency Flood Relief Fund raised money on YouHelp.com. Let's Build 100 Homes in Puerto Rico and the citizens of  South West Georgia have current crowdfunding campaigns on YouHelp. There communities were some of the hardest hit by hurricanes. Many have lost everything, but all have been dramatically affected by lack of access to food, water, and power. Donations help provide much needed supplies to children and families to their fulfill basic needs. 

Find grants on GrantWatch.com for disaster relief and a host of other categories, or  Donate to Disaster  Assistance campaigns on YouHelp.com.

About the Author: The author is a staff writer at GrantWatch.

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Home Depot Foundation Committing $500 Million to Veteran Causes by 2025

The booming construction industry could be bursting through the roof if we had enough skilled laborers to fill all the positions available. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there's a chronic shortage of skilled laborers in this sector in the U.S. made acute by the need to rebuild or build new homes due to natural disasters over the past few years.  

The Home Depot Foundation recently committed to increase their 2018 natural disaster relief aid for hurricane, flood and wildfire recovery to $4.8 million, with up to $500,000 going towards California wildfire relief, and $50 million towards training 20,000 tradespeople over the next 10 years to relieve the chronic shortage of skilled laborers in the construction sector.

Thousands of skilled laborers are still needed in Houston, Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and as the smoke settles, the need will be great in California and Arizona as well.  

The chronic shortage is not only due to natural disasters. Fewer and fewer young people have been choosing to go into traditional construction industry and skilled labor positions or into new technological versions of them. According to the BLS, as of March 2018, 158,000 jobs were unfilled in the sector. They project the total employment number of construction laborers will increase 10.5% by 2026. 

The problem is not just a shortage, but that workers don’t live in the areas where the jobs are, and many can’t afford to travel back and forth or relocate to fill the jobs available.

Right now, by some estimations, the U.S. is losing billions of dollars-worth of revenue opportunities a year in this sector due to the lack of skilled workers, according to a Fox News report. 

The Home Depot Foundation, has already begun training newly released members of the military, veterans, at-risk youth and residents of the Atlanta Westside community through programs with the Home Builders Institute.  

Shannon Gerber, executive director of The Home Depot Foundation said in a statement, "We're thrilled to train 20,000 next-generation plumbers, electricians, carpenters and beyond. It's a true honor to welcome our first classes of separating soldiers as they transition to civilian life and into successful careers in the trades."

“The Home Depot Foundation has been supporting veteran causes since 2011 and recently completed its commitment to invest $250 million, but we’re not stopping there,” said Home Depot chairman, CEO and president Craig Menear. “We’re committing another $250 million by 2025 bringing our total investment to half a billion.”

Through partnerships with national and local nonprofits, the foundation completed its quarter billion- dollar commitment two years early, resulting in improvements to more than 40,000 veterans’ homes and facilities since the original pledge was made. The organization will continue to work with nonprofits including Volunteers of America, Semper Fi Fund and Gary Sinise Foundation and many others, to end veteran homelessness, perform critical home repairs for senior veterans and serve critically wounded veterans.

“Giving back to our nation’s heroes is a part of our DNA at The Home Depot,” said Gerber. “We’re proud to partner with the best nonprofits in the nation to solve veteran issues and serve our servicemen and women who dedicated their lives to our country and sacrificed so much.”

The foundation has expanded on a pilot trades program successfully launched in Ft. Stewart, Georgia and Ft. Bragg, North Carolina in 2017, for newly released military personnel in partnership with HBI – a nonprofit dedicated to providing education, career development, and training which also offers job placement services for the building industry. 

Their free 12-week pre-apprenticeship certification program, recognized by the Labor Department, has a job placement rate of more than 90% and is expanding to more military bases nationwide, according to Home Depot.

"HBI has a 50-year history of training individuals with the skills they need to succeed in the building industry. Our program prepares men and women for high-growth careers in the industry after leaving military service," HBI CEO John Courson said in a statement. "With 200,000 service members separating from the military every year, our partnership with The Home Depot Foundation enables us to serve more veterans across the country."

Home Depot also said the foundation is establishing an advanced level trades training program in partnership with the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia for residents of Atlanta’s Westside, which will expand training support to the broader veteran community and underserved high schools across America.

Fox Business reported, even many six figure jobs in the construction sector are going unfilled. However, 50% of companies reported having a difficult time filling both craft and salaried worker positions. Over the coming year, 53% of companies told the AGC that they expect to continue struggling to find qualified applicants. These challenges come despite the fact that 60% of firms reported increasing base pay to retain or recruit professionals and 36% provided incentives and bonuses toward the same end.

“The general population doesn’t know how rewarding and profitable [construction jobs can be],” Stephen Mulva, director of the Construction Industry Institute (CII), told Fox Business. 

Some of the positions that can lead to six figure salaries include welders, foremen and even some craft professionals, like instrument techs and crane operators, Mulva said.

Steve Green, vice president of the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER), agreed that craft professionals are earning six-figure incomes once you add in per diem, overtime, bonuses and incentives. 

Another one of the big problems, Mulva pointed out, is the nature of construction jobs, which often require regular travel. “The workers are almost like nomads right now … that’s a real deterrent to people getting into it,” he said.

Mulva also feels that the need for frequent travel could be changing in the near future. The sector will be undergoing a “revolution” in order to overcome industry-wide challenges. This could involve shifting more work to prefabricated parts, with more sections of projects built in advance in one location and then shipped to the final destination, eliminating the need for workers to travel or live for long period far from home. Mulva predicts only one-sixth of workers will eventually work on the actual job site. 

"We want to bring shop class back, from coast-to-coast,” said Gerber, and train students in elementary school through high school.

The new era of training will focus on more technologically based construction and skilled labor jobs in automation, logistics, and digitizing the construction industry. 

Veterans, nonprofit organizations, school districts, and community-based groups frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for vocational training and workforce development grants in all sectors can identify funding opportunities that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at GrantWatch.comSign-up to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities. 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantNews.

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Bullying Prevention Programs Reduce Bullying and Future Mental Health Issues

Bullying is not a harmless rite of passage, it is a public health issue which has far-reaching effects on adult health, wealth, criminality and social relationships,” says Professor Dieter Wolke, of the University of Warwick.  

First lady, Melania Trump brought the issue to national headlines this August when she attended a national summit on cyberbullying outside the nation's capital. She launched the "Be Best" initiative with the mission of  focusing on some of the major issues facing children today. The goal of the initiative is to encourage children to BE BEST in their individual paths, while also teaching them the importance of social, emotional, and physical health.

BE BEST champions the many successful well-being programs that provide children with the tools and skills required for emotional, social, and physical health.  The campaign also promotes established organizations, programs, and people who are helping children overcome some of the issues they face growing up in the modern world.

More than one out of every five students (20.8%) report being bullied, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics in 2016, but it's believed that one third or more of those bullied never tell any adults about their victimization or only discuss it years after it's ended. 

Bullies and victims are separated into three categories: Those who are pure bullies, pure victims, and bullying-victims. Two thirds of students who are bullied go on to bully other students.  These students who are both targets of bullying and engage in bullying behavior are at greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems than students who only bully or are only bullied, according to the Center for Disease Control, 2017

Both bullying and being bullied have long-lasting effects on both victims and perpetrators, and a number of recent studies show that there are also lasting effects for those who merely witness bullying. Being bullied or witnessing bullying can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. People often carry the negative effects of bullying with them through to adulthood.  

Witnessing bullying without acting, the bystander effect, is disempowering and can lead to feelings of fear, guilt for not acting, powerlessness, helplessness, shame, anxiety, trust issues, and sometimes bystanders even wind up joining in the act of bullying.  

It’s been found 57% of bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied, according to a study by Hawkins, Pepler, & Craig, 2001. 

“Being the repetitive target of bullying damages your ability to view yourself as a desirable, capable and effective individual,” explained Mark Dumbeck, PhD. 

Those who are “pure victims” are 4.3 percent more likely than those not involved in bullying to suffer from anxiety. Those who are victims and also sometimes bully others in childhood are 4.8 percent more likely than those not involved in bullying to suffer from depression, with male “bully victims” 18.5 times more likely than those not involved in bullying to commit suicide.  

Effects of Bullying:

Mental Health effects include: feeling left out, anxious, afraid, insecure, low self-esteem, depressed, withdrawn, isolated, aggressive, angry, vengeful, despairing and rejected. 

Physical effects include: health complaints including stomach aches, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, changes in sleep patterns, headaches, grades drop, drug or alcohol use, sexual activity, cutting, dropping out of school or decreased academic achievement and school participation, social issues, avoiding friends and activities, difficulty making friends, quietness, post-traumatic stress, anti-social behaviors, assaultive, suicidal thoughts or actions, homicidal.  

School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25 percent, according to a study by McCallion & Feder, 2013.  

There are grants available that address issues related to bullying in the US, Canada and internationally. Here are two. 

Grants to California K-12 Local Education Agencies for Truancy 
and Dropout Prevention Programs for High-Risk Students
, Deadline: 1/23/2019

Grants to California K-12 school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education for programs to reduce school absenteeisim and dropout rates. An Intent to Submit must be submitted prior to the full proposal. Funding is intended to support initiatives that keep at-risk students in school such as social-emotional teaching strategies, culturally responsive approaches, extracurricular activities, bullying prevention education, and community-based family, health, and developmental services rendered on school premises.

Grants to USA, Canada, and International Nonprofits for Education,
Social Service, Economic Development, and Environmental Programs
:
Deadline: Ongoing

Grants to USA, Canada, and International nonprofit organizations and educational institutions for charitable programs and projects that focus on the areas of education, social services, community and economic development, and the environment. The funding source considers requests for operating, program, capital, or endowment support.

 

When bystanders defend victims of bullying, they feel empowered and better about themselves, and their beliefs in their “social self-efficacy” were negatively associated with passive behavior from bystanders – i.e. if students believe they can make a difference, they’re more likely to act, according to an NIH study by Thornberg et al, 2012.  

Students who experience bullying report that allying and supportive actions from their peers (such as spending time with the student, talking to him/her, helping him/her get away, or giving advice) were the most helpful actions from bystanders, researchers Davis & Nixon found in 2010. 

They also found that students who experience bullying are more likely to find peer actions helpful than actions by educators or their own.

What can you do about bullying?

  • Make it clear to children and teens that they are allowed to intervene. This can be speaking to the bully directly or telling someone in a position of authority. They should make sure they are safe, but do what they can to help someone in need.
  • Children, teens and even adults need to know that telling someone is not tattling. It’s important to tell someone: If you are bullied or see someone being bullied, ask a teacher, parent, the principal, or even a friend for help in stopping the bully.
  • Don’t ignore it: It’s been found that the worst thing to do when faced with a bully is to ignore the problem.
  • Don’t shame or blame the victim, minimize the bullying behavior, or tell the victim to just ignore the bullying.
  • Spend time with them.
  • Talk to them.
  • Help them get away.
  • Call them.
  • Offer them advice.
  • Help them tell someone about the bullying.
  • Distract them to get their mind off it.
  • Let them talk about it.
  • Tell an adult
  • Confront the bully
  • Ask the bully to stop.

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantWatch.

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Collaborations Yield Results Leading to Advances in Sustainability

How do we lower our carbon footprint and make the most of our resources? Every day, farmers, ranchers, educators, researchers and innovators around the world, are working together to answer these questions, developing new strategies to produce and distribute food, fuel, and fiber in a sustainable manner. 

Sustainability experts look for projects that embrace:

  1. Profitability over the long term
  2. Stewardship of our nation’s land, air and water
  3. Quality of Life for farmers, ranchers and their communities. 

Sustainable agriculture grants found on GrantWatch and MWBEzone include grants for research and education, professional development programs, farmer and rancher on-farm experiments, community development, and the environment

Since its inception in 1988, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Nationwide (SARE), has funded more than 6,700 projects, with the mission to advance innovations that improve profitability, stewardship and quality of life.  SARE, a brainchild of the University of Maryland invests in groundbreaking research and education that will benefit the entire country.

Grant recipient, farmer Dan Forgey, manager of the Cronin Farms in Gettysburg South Dakota, worked together with South Dakota State University researcher Dwayne Beck, to find ways to improve soil quality. 

Forgey was awarded a grant to improve soil health through no-till rotation. This increased crop yields-sustainably, with less fertilizers and herbicides. In addition to the no-till rotations, he diversified, increasing from six crops to 12.

No-till not only makes farming more efficient—it saves time and uses less on labor, equipment and fuel—it has created better yields, even in years of below-average rainfall. “It’s all about soil health,” Forgey says. “With no-till we make use of the carbon to help make organic matter.”

With the grant he received, he conducted trials with cover crop mixes and identified a formula that would work with his system in his region. He is now using cover crops on hundreds of acres, grows grains, oilseed crops and forages for his 750-head-cow-calf operation, and is teaching his neighbors how to do the same. “The longer we are in no-till, the more benefits we see,” Forgey says. Crop production is up 30% using less fertilizer and herbicide.

Forgey’s overall goal is to build soil health naturally and rely less on manmade inputs. “This is what the country needs,” he says. “Between cover crops and no-till we are doing things to better the soil nature’s way.” No-till not only decreases erosion, it has increased the land’s organic matter 1.3 percent in 10 years. Cover crops are beginning to increase the biological diversity of the soil and help keep nutrients out of local waterways.

As a result of using these methods, Forgey has increased profitability, decreased the use of additional resources such as water, decreased the use of pesticides and herbicides, increased production on the farm he manages and has helped professor Beck and the South Dakota State University and organizations such as the USDA, SARE, NRCS, and the Soil Health Institute to better understand and educate the public on sustainability and how to achieve the best outcomes in the field. 

Some innovative new practices, and some return to old ways, have been made possible by collaborative grants in sustainable agriculture: no-till rotations and cover crops, higher yields for organic farms using less pesticides and herbicides, season extension through the use of solar energy and other innovations, new water conservation methods, and energy independent farms.

 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer at GrantWatch.

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Organizations Can Apply for Grants and Donations Prior to 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status Through a Fiscal Sponsor

According to the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors (NNFS), fiscal sponsorship has evolved as an effective and efficient method of applying for grants, starting new nonprofits, seeding social movements, and delivering public services. 

Fiscal sponsorship refers to a legal arrangement in which a nonprofit organization agrees to accept and administer funds for another entity with a parallel mission. That entity can be another nonprofit, but often doesn’t yet have the legal tax-exempt status. By partnering with a fiscal sponsor, a charitable project can seek and receive tax-exempt contributions right away without having to establish a new independent organizational infrastructure or apply for 501(c)3 status. The fiscal sponsor provides fiduciary services including governance, funds management and other necessary administrative supports to projects with social impact missions in alignment with their own.

In 2012,  an advisory committee to the IRS Tax-Exempt Organizations office recommended fiscal sponsorship as an alternative to the increasing number of nonprofit corporations being formed and seeking 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. And in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, as it had after Katrina, the IRS recommended use of existing organizations for community relief efforts, rather than forming new organizations. 

Any nonprofit agency deemed an exempt public charity by the IRS can be a fiscal sponsor for a nonexempt community project. The fiscal sponsor must have been awarded its tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and have a legally binding agreement with the project. With that agreement, charitable contributions are given to the fiscal sponsor, which then grants them to support the cause. Being able to claim these contributions as tax-deductions encourages potential donors to support these valuable community projects.

Fiscal sponsors "have the ability to receive charitable contributions for specific projects, the infrastructure to ensure compliance with applicable federal and state laws and adequate internal controls to ensure that the funds will be used for the intended charitable purposes,"  according to a recent IRS report. Only nonprofits whose executive leadership and boards of directors are fully aware of the obligations and liabilities they legally assume should agree to be fiscal sponsors. 

This is an example of a fiscal sponsorship grant organized by a faith based fiscal sponsor group.

Other fiscal sponsors can be found on the Fiscal Sponsorship Directory.

Fiscal sponsors generally charge an administrative fee based on a percentage of the budget of the sponsored organization or program.  These fees can range based on the services that are provided and the complexity of grants to be administered.

According to attorney Gregory L. Colvin in his transformational book, Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways to Do It Right, there are several models of fiscal sponsorship.  Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways to Do It Right

 Models of Fiscal Sponsorship

Fiscal sponsorship can be practiced under various models approved by the IRS. The two most-frequently used models are comprehensive fiscal sponsorship and pre-approved grant relationship fiscal sponsorship.

Comprehensive Fiscal Sponsorship

In a comprehensive fiscal sponsorship relationship, the fiscally-sponsored project becomes a program of the fiscal sponsor, and is a fully integrated part of the fiscal sponsor that maintains all legal and fiduciary responsibility for the sponsored project, including its employees and activities. This model of fiscal sponsorship is particularly valuable when a project has employees.

Pre-Approved Grant Relationship Fiscal Sponsorship

In a Pre-Approved Grant Relationship Sponsorship, the fiscally-sponsored project does not become a program belonging to the sponsor but is a separate entity responsible for managing its own tax reporting and liability issues.  In addition, the sponsor does not necessarily maintain ownership of any part of the results of the project’s work—ownership rights may be addressed in the fiscal sponsor agreement and could potentially result in some form of joint ownership.  The sponsor simply assures that the project will use the grant funds received to accomplish the ends described in the grant proposal. This is the model of fiscal sponsorship primarily used in the arts.

Using a fiscal sponsor satisfies IRS requirements as long as the fiscal sponsor maintains the right to decide how it will use contributions. Programs seeking sponsorship should be aware of this and be sure that the fiscal sponsor they choose is truly solid and in a position to take them on.

Since most grantmakers give to organizations, not individuals, fiscal sponsorship may help you qualify for more funding opportunities, enabling you to fund and start your project sooner. 

Please take all necessary precautions because there have been cases where fiscal sponsors have gone into deficit or gone bankrupt, bringing the projects down with them. Fiscal sponsors should have insurance in place that will ensure that they are able to pay the funds due to those they sponsor should something happen to them.  

Fiscal sponsorships allow programs to be eligible for foundation grants and other grants they need . Find grants on GrantWatch.com. For more information contact support@grantwatch.com. 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer at GrantWatch.

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Find Fantastic Foundation Grants

Due to recent bouts of hurricanes and other natural disasters, so many people and organizations are in need of assistance, and are often at a loss as to where to find it.

Some of this assistance may come through FEMA, the US government agency tasked with providing help to survivors of natural disasters throughout the United States. There are other local governmental agencies and local community based organizations, that step in to help.

Another path worthy of exploration are foundation grants. Here are 2 samples of foundation grants.

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Libraries, and Schools for Environment, Human Services, Disaster Relief, Education, Health, and Arts Deadline Date: 11/01/18

Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, public schools, and libraries to support a wide range of community and environmental causes. Funding is intended for, but not limited to the focus areas of education, human services, disaster relief, health, arts, and culture. The Foundation makes both program and operating grants and does not have any geographic restrictions. Activities may be carried out anywhere in the world.

Grants to USA, Canada, and International Organizations and Individuals to Promote Financial Stability  Deadline Date: 11/01/18

The next application deadline is November 1st, but grants are ongoing depending on timing, urgency, and the volume of applications. Grant awards could be made more frequently if deemed necessary by the foundation's board of directors.

Grants to USA, Canada, and International organizations and individuals to enhance quality of life and improve financial positions. The Foundation seeks to provide personal financial assistance, as well as coaching, to help financially prudent and hardworking individuals recover from unanticipated life events, and to promote financial stability through education. 

They are committed to empowering individuals through financial coaching and providing opportunities for job training, small business, and home ownership. With a focus on personal pride and dignity, the foundation aims to transform sudden and unexpected economic hardships into financially sustainable outcomes for individuals and families.

In addition, their grants can go towards scholarship funds, providing funds to meet the financial obligations of parents, by providing funds to meet the health requirements of needy children and adults, and by providing funds to individuals facing financial emergencies caused by health, weather, storm, fire, earthquake, or other catastrophic events; and to contribute to organizations or causes which enhance the quality of life.

People and community organizations need to be resourceful and advocate for themselves.  Before taking out a loan, why not look into alternative funding that’s out there in the form of foundation grants.   

Foundation grants provide funding to meet specific needs that are related to the mission and vision of the foundation. Each foundation has its own eligibility requirement, such as: individuals, small businesses, nonprofits, federal, state or local government agencies. Unlike loans, these are gifts and do not need to be repaid. 

There are thousands of charitable foundations with trillions of dollars to give in the United States alone.  The question is, how to receive it. Most foundations give their most substantial gifts to nonprofits, so it's possible to ask a community nonprofit that is a recipient of a grant award for assistance.

Foundations can be private or public grant making charities. The vast majority of foundations were founded for a specific purpose, whether it’s to fund medical research, programs for the homeless, provide educational funding, or aid victims of domestic violence. They exist for the purpose of giving out money in the form of grants, to unrelated organizations, institutions, or individuals for charitable purposes, in order to bring about positive change according to their own mandate. 

In addition to a particular focus, most foundations have their own board of directors, a staff (some small, others large) and may undertake their own fundraising to help fund their grants.

Many foundations have been set up by individuals (both living and deceased) to promote the causes of the grantor. Some have been set up as charitable memorials to great people. Others have been set up by companies and other institutions to promote different areas of interest.

Whatever the foundation makeup, grant-making foundations are required to grant specific percentages of their assets each year to maintain their nonprofit status.

GrantWatch currently has thousands of active foundation grants, and adds new grants daily (GrantWatch archives grants when the deadline passes to maintain a current and fresh website).

 As long as you can demonstrate need and meet the requirements of the program, you can apply to the grant program. Apply to as many programs as possible and don't get discouraged if you are turned down. Proposals should align with the values and mission of the foundation you’re looking for a grant from.  Persistence and patience are recommended to see the best results.

So, if you’re looking for funding and meet the criterion, get in touch with these foundations. Find out eligibility requirements and apply for grants!

If you do not see a viable grant that meets your needs, another venue to explore is starting your very own free fundraising campaign on YouHelp.com.

Individuals, municipalities, nonprofits, religious institutions, and community-based groups searching for grants can identify funding opportunities in support of disaster relief and other financial needs initiatives at GrantWatch.com and MWBEzone.com. Sign-up to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities.  

 

 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer at GrantWatch

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Maximize Donations from Volunteers through Corporate Volunteer Matching Programs

Are you and your organization doing all you can to do to get available funding from corporate sponsors or are you leaving money on the table? You could be losing out on much needed money you're already eligible for because you and your volunteers don't know about some of the programs offered by companies of all sizes where your volunteers work. 

In this socially conscious age, more and more businesses are providing support for the good work being done by nonprofits like yours. What do the corporate sponsors get in return? They're rewarded for these donations with an enhanced public image, greater employee loyalty, higher self-esteem and greater job satisfaction.  

Volunteer grant programs represent a huge opportunity for smart nonprofits to deepen their relationships with their volunteers and with these generous companies. Sometimes called "Dollars for Doers” programs, volunteer grants are corporate giving programs created to encourage volunteerism in communities where employees live and work. These programs have a variety of names: "Good Hands" or "The Giving Campaign" by Allstate and Individual and Team VIP (Volunteer Involvement Programs) at ExxonMobil. These volunteer programs are a major opportunity with surprisingly low awareness, both among nonprofits and volunteers.

According to Libby Hikind, CEO of GrantWatch, "By making use of volunteer grant programs, nonprofits can benefit from the support of socially minded businesses, while attracting a broader base of volunteers for future projects."  Approximately forty percent of Fortune 500 Companies provide grants to nonprofits where employees regularly volunteer. Companies such as New York Life,and ExxonMobil, Apple, Disney, Google, JP Morgan, Amgen and Dell are some of the top companies to offer volunteer grants.

Companies and organizations where your members and volunteers work might already have programs to donate to the charity of their choice through service hours.  It's estimated by Double the Donation, that over fifteen million individuals work for the over 20,000 companies that match their employee's donations of time with money when the employees submit the necessary documentation. A large percentage of those employees are not aware that their donations of time and money would be matched by the companies they work for. It literally pays to find out if yours is one of them and submit the paperwork.

How it Works

Different companies have different eligibility requirements for employee volunteers at nonprofits.   

For instance, ExxonMobil's matching rate for volunteer hours is $500 for every 20 hours, (with a maximum of $2000). In 2015 alone, close to 10,000 ExxonMobil employees, retirees and their family members in the United States volunteered more than 435,000 hours of their personal time in 2015, in recognition of which ExxonMobil contributed more than $6.9 million to more than 3,400 non-profit organizations where they volunteered through their Education Matching Gifts Program, their Cultural Matching Gifts Program, Individual Volunteer Involvement Program, and Team Volunteer Involvement Program.

New York Life Volunteers for Good focuses on volunteering for causes related to their mission: educational and bereavement support-oriented nonprofits, though they will provide volunteer matches to other nonprofits as well. They have a dedicated site where employees, agents, retirees and eligible (accredited) educational institutions can register their matching gift requests electronically (nyl.yourcause.com)  Their minimum for individual volunteer grants is 30 hours to one eligible charity. They'll contribute $1,000.00 for 60 hours or more of community service. Individuals can submit matching donation requests up to six months from the donation date. In addition, they offer team grants for their employees and agents to volunteer collectively. When they volunteer collectively for 40 hours total, New York Life provides volunteer grants of between $500-$10,000. Individuals can donate monetarily or through volunteering to several institutions per year and will be matched up to $5,000. The maximum for gifts to a single institution from the foundation is capped at $50,000 a year.  For additional information see https://newyorklifefoundation.org. 

If you already have volunteers at your nonprofit, let them know that they can request a matching gift or volunteer grant through the human resources or community giving department at their company, or check on the company's intranet or online to see if their employer already has a program in place. Companies will recommend charities they are already involved in, but they are often also open to give to the charity of the employee's choice when presented with the information and proof of the hours volunteered. It's normally a five-minute process which must be initiated by the donor/ volunteer. They just submit a match form provided by their employer or through an electronic submission process.  

Nonprofits should reach out to local subsidiaries of large corporations and inquire if they have a volunteer program and ask to be included in the corporate volunteer program. The nonprofit leadership should advise their Board and staff of their inclusion in the volunteer program and how best to use these services.

Corporate volunteer matching grants are a great way to help your nonprofit increase revenue, boost engagement, improve community relationships, and affirm relationships with volunteers. 

What else can you do?

Nonprofits can also sign up to find corporate foundational grants with GrantWatch, or create a free fundraising campaign on YouHelp.com for their charity. For more information contact 561-249-4129 or write to support@grantwatch.com. 

About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantNews

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Grants on Tap: Infrastructure Funds Address America’s Drinking Water Crisis, Aging Pipelines

Nobody – not even the dogs – can drink the tap water.

Resident Linda Allen says Marshall County has been waiting to whet its whistle for a decade now, or at least until improvements are made to drinking water in parts of the Southwest Kentucky town.

Safe drinking water may be on the way. Allen was thrilled to learn that the county was awarded a grant to construct waterlines that will eventually bring residents safe drinking water.

Right now, Marshall County Mayor Joe Liggett says the local water smells like rotten eggs. While unpleasant, high levels of sulfur in the drinking water is not harmful to health. However, Liggett said the “sulfur water” ruins household appliances.

Water issues extend beyond Marshall County. Aging infrastructure continues to challenge Americans in their search for safe water to drink. Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, said funds are available to cash-strapped municipalities charged with oversight of these water systems. Some of the funding opportunities on GrantWatch are targeted for expanding and maintaining public water systems. Others are designed to protect drinking water resources including the replacement of fixtures to reduce lead levels in school districts.

By funding the extension of water lines, the $525,000 Community Development Block Grant will help 40 different households in Marshall County and impact the drinking water of 115 residents. Until then, residents will have to make due.

Across the state in Martin County, Hope Workman doesn’t trust the water in her tap. For the past two decades, she travels up a dirt road to fill jugs with drinking water from a small plastic PVC tapped into a well on the side of a mountain. Workman is one of many residents who wake up without any water at all or with extremely low pressure. Other times, the water is unsafe to drink.

Water emergencies are becoming commonplace in Kentucky, where aging water and sewer systems need billions of dollars in investment to prevent failures that impact public health and the environment. Ensuring safe drinking water has become a challenge for communities across the nation. Low-income areas disproportionately bear the brunt of these threats.

About 1 million miles of pipes dot the nation’s landscape to connect Americans to drinking water. The American Society of Civil Engineers claims stretches of these underground pipes have reached the end of their lifespans and need repair.

Some families in California, where hundreds of communities still lack access to safe drinking water in their homes, schools, parks and businesses, spend 10 percent of their income on bottled water. And, that’s on top of their monthly bills.

In Sacramento, drinking fountains and faucets were shut off at Grant Union High School after district officials found "elevated levels" of lead and copper in the drinking water. Until county officials could isolate the problem, students were given bottled water and food was prepared off-site.

Some $9.5 million in grants are available to California schools and districts across the nation. The Drinking Water for Schools Program funds the installation or replacement of water bottle filling stations, drinking fountains, and plumbing fixtures that may cause contamination. Lawmakers believe it’s going to take infrastructure investments like this piece of federal legislation to protect the public from serious health dangers.

Despite what state officials say, residents of Flint believe their water crisis is far from over. The city made national headlines in 2015 when the Environmental Protection Agency detected hazardous levels of lead and other toxins in the drinking water of residents’ homes. Discovery of the lead-tainted water, experts believe, could impact the city for generations to come

Local municipalities, schools, nonprofits, utilities, community-based groups and concerned citizens frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants can identify funding opportunities in support of safe drinking water initiatives at GrantWatch.comSign-up to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities.

About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch

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What Do Nonprofits Do With An Unfunded Grant Proposal?

A rejected grant proposal is a real bummer, but it happens.  Competition is steep and even great proposals can be rejected.  You did all that work: the planning, the budget, the research, and your entire board is onboard for the new project.  So what do you do?

Well, you have two options, and you can do both.

The most immediate solution is YouHelp.com, the crowdfunding site where you keep 100% of the funds you raise.

It is quick and easy to put up a campaign – takes about 5 minutes, and you have a fundraiser page. You already have the passion, program, and budget – so it will be easy for you to explain the need for funds.

Personalize your page by adding a video or pictures regarding your project or nonprofit, and don’t forget to add all your social media pages, so that all your friends, family, and potential funders can see all the excellent work you are doing.   

Setting up your page is easy, the harder part is getting the word out about your fundraiser. Here’s where your social media network will come into play. From your fundraising page, you can actually share it on all your social media profiles. So share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ for maximum exposure. Make sure to also personally reach out to potential funders about your project, because sometimes people who are not very active on social media may be interested in helping you with funding.

Now, onto the second option for your grant proposal. Since your grant writer did such a good job writing the proposal, this writing may be able to be recycled. And since you are already a GrantWatch MemberPlus+ you have access to thousands of other grants that you may be eligible for. So here’s what you can do: search for grants that have similar criteria to the one you already applied to, and then tweak your proposal to fit the new grant application into an award winning proposal. GrantWatch has more than 50 grant categories, and your project may fall into multiple categories, so keep searching! And if you have any issues while looking around the site, you can always reach out to the GrantWatch customer service team!

So, don’t be discouraged if you didn’t get the grant funding this time, there are still resources to utilize. And one last thing that may help. When you sign up for a campaign on YouHelp, you have access to a crowdfunding mentor to help walk you through the entire process. Mentorship is a real rarity in the crowdfunding world and can help increase your chances of funding success. You will have access by email and phone, and this mentor can help guide you through all the steps from setting up your page and personalizing it, to social media tips.  

 

Happy Funding!

 

About the Author: Lianne Hikind is a staff writer for GrantWatch and a Copywriter at ABC Purple.

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Native American Heritage Grants Remove Decades of Indian Discrimination

Reversing decades of disrespect toward American Indians who have repeatedly been employed as symbols of nationhood, culture and business comes with a price tag. And now, a public corporation is determined to make sure city buildings, schools and monuments across Michigan start out with a clean slate.

The Native American Heritage Fund Board will foot the bill for Belding Area Schools to remove Redskin imagery from what had long served as the district’s mascot. Brent Noskey, the superintendent of schools, expects the $35,000 grant to stir the pot again. But, that’s ok, he said, because the school will no longer face charges of “racism.”

After a contentious debate over the name change, a move was made a year ago to the Belding Black Knights. The school had dropped the Redskins name in 2016 after distancing from the Native American imagery over the years. Noskey said the grant will cover the costs for changing sports uniforms and band outfits.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, said Native American serving nonprofits and owners of small businesses are eligible for many government and private grants. But she said identifying these grants can be complex and confusing without narrowing a search. By applying categories to the keyword search today on GrantWatch for Native American we found 51 listings.  And when we used the complete search filter and clicked California for the geographic location (together with the keyword Native American), we found 26 today. Using the geographic focus for Michigan we found 24. 

Use the Advanced Search to Find a Grant

GrantWatch adds new grants daily; including funding opportunities that address education, such as teacher training and curriculum development, and health and well-being, economic development and infrastructure, and culture and heritage.

American Indians represent only 1 percent of the U.S. population, but as many as three-quarters believe they have faced discrimination, according to a survey conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. And more than one-third say they have been personally subjected to racial or ethnic slurs, or insensitive or offensive comments about their race/ethnicity.

Michigan schools with American Indian mascots learned in January they could receive funds to change identities under a new agreement between the state and Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi. The fund board, including members from several Native American groups and representatives in Michigan, was created in 2016 as part of the Tribal-State Gaming Compact.

Since then, $76,765 has been designated for the removal of the Fountain of the Pioneers and site improvements at Bronson Park, in Kalamazoo. And, in Battle Creek, a Native American Heritage Fund Board grant will replace a century-old stained-glass window in city hall. The grant will cover $3,400 – about half – of the cost to remove a mosaic medallion depicting what is believed to be a white settler clubbing a Native American on the city seal.

Both Jamie Stuck, tribal chairman for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, and City Manager Rebecca Fleury believe the window is an inaccurate depiction of history. After its removal, the window may be preserved at the Regional History Museum in Battle Creek.

Nonprofits, community-based groups, municipalities and concerned citizens frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants to provide services for Native Americans and government tribes in need can identify funding opportunities at GrantWatch.comSign-up to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities.

About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch

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