Behind-the-Scenes of grant seeking

In our LLC, we volunteer with many non-profits but we do not get an understanding of how they actually work and what is going on behind the scenes. I had the opportunity to go to the DC Foundation Center which allows you to research and use their resources to understand or create a non-profit. If you donate money to any non-profit organization, you can also gain information about they use their money and what they have accomplished. I personally was looking at grants to apply for and what foundations’ criteria were.
On September 15, 2015, I went to the Foundation Research Center in DC. I was welcomed by an older woman at the front desk. She asked me what my inquiry was and asked me to sign in. I was surprised to see computers in the room and even more surprised to see people actually doing research. I chose a computer and the woman who welcomed me proposed to give me a tour of the research center. She showed me the magazines and books, but also let me know about the tools I could use to find an internship or a job into a non-profit. I was shocked at all the tools that were actually offered. From the workshops to the websites, it was astonishing to see how resourceful it was. I then sat down at the computer and the same woman instructed me onto how to make my research and gave me helpful tips.
I was very interested into the environmental field so I decided to take a look at what was being more frequently being granted funded and I wanted to get informed about environmental non-profit that the organizations I am part of could partner with. In class, it was mentioned that it was rather recommended to reach out to a local foundation. However, in my research, most of the foundations were in another state than the organization they gave grants to. It was also interesting to see what were their focus and limitations. Also, The National Wildlife Federation got a grant from the Cleveland Foundation in 2012 to organize a conference. I looked at the current limitations of the Cleveland Foundation and they were limited to Ohio so it made me realize that the limitations were changeable, meaning that it was important to look at them again when applying for a grant.
Looking at the executive board of each foundation was also interesting. I did not really know who would be holding a position into a non-profit organization or a foundation. I saw that there were professors but also people without a title and I appreciated the diversity. I accomplished my goal since I found several organizations located in Virginia that have been doing interesting work such as the Galapagos Conservancy in Fairfax, VA that has been educating the public about the importance of preserving the ecosystem in the Galapagos Island. It had gotten a grant from the Tinker Foundation Inc. in New York to do so.
This visit educated me about the process of grant seeking. I was not knowledgeable about the resources available for fundraising and I learned a skill that I can apply not only to non-profit work but in my life in general.

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2 comments

  1. andrewwingfield · December 5, 2015

    I would like to hear more about how this relates with your learning about sustainability.

    Like

    • cbagmu · December 5, 2015

      Well, a lot of non-profits are sustainability-related but I think this is more connected to what we do in the class and I wanted to inform the LLC students that if they wanted to inform themselves about non-profits or if they were looking to get founding for a project outside of GMU, there was an additional resource for them.

      Like

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