Don't assume, for example, that there are any hard and fast rules about what kind of
organizations can solicit certain foundations. Small nonprofits succeed in getting grants from
large foundations, and vice a versa. Research here is key. In order to better understand the
research process, we're going to look at some hypothetical organizations and talk about the best
way to plead their cases to various funding sources.
We’ll also examine the Web sites of organizations that deal with foundations and look together at
the Foundation Center, the Council on Foundations, the National Council on Family Philanthropy,
and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. I don’t want to make this endless, but I do want to give you a
very general overview of the kinds of resources available to you.
Basic Research Tools
Let's begin with the major sources for foundation
information. As we discussed in the last lesson, the daddy
of them all is The Foundation Center. This is the best place
to begin your research. The Center has major libraries in
Atlanta, Cleveland, New York, San Francisco, and
Washington, D.C. If you are in one of these cities, their
library should be your first stop in connection with preparing
grant proposals. They have complete information on some
70,000 foundations of every kind—more than you'll ever
want. They also have some very helpful librarians. And, of
course, their Web site will make your life much easier! It
includes information on every kind of foundation you'll be
interested in approaching.
Charitable foundations fall into various categories, but
they're defined by their sources of funding. There are
corporate foundations (which we've touched on briefly) and
we'll discuss them again in the next lesson. There are
also, so named because the funding
comes from a single family. These foundations award
grants to whomever they feel is worthy.
house various funding sources
under one administrative roof. Donors who supply the funds for a foundation, the
, are the
ones who set the guidelines for how the proceeds from their foundation can be spent. They can
give to whomever they want, whenever they want, and that is the beauty of their independence.
The Foundation Center also has Cooperating Collections in all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and
Mexico. In this lesson's Supplementary Material section, you'll find the URL for the Foundation
Library Cooperating Collections. They have many of the resources of the main Foundation
Center, and all the tools that will be useful to you for preparing grant proposals.
The Foundation Center Web Site
When I went to the Foundation Center site to see what I could find for you in this course, I was
disappointed to find that many of their services are available only by subscription. Their most
useful tool, The Foundation Directory Online Subscription Service, is about $10 a month—but that
does not give you very much. The top of the line subscription service, aptly named the