Our First Foundation Grant
I can still remember the thrill of receiving that first foundation grant. I was the executive director of a fairly new nonprofit that was supported by a combination of corporate contributions and government funding. The board had decided it was time to expand our housing rehab program to include energy improvements and we had no funding for this. After much research, many conversations with program officers, and significant time in proposal preparation, we were delighted to receive a letter and a check from one of the foundations.
I thought about calling our Board Treasurer to share the news. I hesitated because he was the CEO of a large corporation and the check was for $10,000, less than half of what his corporation gave us annually. For some reason, I went ahead and made the call – and was amazed that his enthusiasm exceeded mine. Why did it? Because my Treasurer believed that recognition by this foundation added more credibility to the work of our nonprofit. He couldn’t wait to tell his colleagues who were also contributors to our nonprofit about the foundation grant and he encouraged me to use all our media contacts to get the word out.
That experience occurred nearly 30 years ago but I have never forgotten the lesson that it taught me: getting a foundation grant offers benefits that can go beyond the dollar value of the money received. Sharing the news about the grant can excite board members, yield positive press in the community and open the door to more opportunities.
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