July 2005 Featured Article
Funding Options for Municipalities (Part One)
This article is meant to be the first of a two part series in which I will explore other funding options municipalities should look at to secure funds, goods, and/or services for special projects in your community. In particular, this article will cover foundations.
Foundations are non-governmental, nonprofit organizations that have resources which they either give away or manage themselves with the approval and guidance of their own board of directors. Foundations are usually started to help social, educational, charitable and religious organizations. A new treat is that some foundations are taking a more active role by either funding special projects or by partnering with local government agencies to make a difference in the community; especially if the foundation is either located in or does business in that community.
The following are the different types of foundations that you should explore:
1. Corporate Foundations: Corporate foundations are foundations that may be endowed or receive a
designated percentage of corporate profits each year to give away. It is required that corporations
give away at least five percent or more of their profits. It is important when researching corporate
foundations that you go to their corporate Web site and look under links such as community
relations, social responsibilities, local initiatives, grants, or corporate giving to find their guidelines.
Examples of corporate foundations include: AT&T Foundation, Campbell Soup Foundation and
2. Operating Foundations: These foundations operate their own programs and generally do not
accept unsolicited proposals, although they may offer occasional RFP’s (request for proposals).
Examples of operating foundations include: Robert Wood Johnson and Annie E. Casey.
3. Community Foundations: Technically, these foundations are fundraisers themselves; they raise
money through contributions from individuals and organizations which they disperse as grants to
local nonprofits, and in some cases municipalities. The Community Foundation of New Jersey is
the largest community foundation in New Jersey.
4. Private/Family Foundations: These foundations get their monies from a single source; such as
an individual, a family, or a corporation. They can give their money for general and/or special
projects to local, statewide or regional/national causes. These types of foundations make up their
own rules and regulations on what they will fund. They are hard to find but if you do your research
and develop a relationship with them it can be very beneficial.
Writing proposals to foundations is very different then writing for a government grant. Foundation proposals are short and to the point (ten pages plus attachments). The key to success with foundations is that when you find a match to develop a personal relationship with the foundation.
If you cannot develop a personal relationship, writing a letter of inquiry to the foundation would be the next step. It should be no more then two pages briefly describing the history, impact and needs of the agency.
If there is interest in your project then you should submit a full proposal. The format includes a cover letter, a narrative with a description of the agency and details on the project that you are requesting money for, and a budget.
Funding Options for Municipalities (Part Two)
Full version of July Article in Adobe PDF format for printing