23 Feb How a CoFo Fund Becomes a Grant
I grew up on Schoolhouse Rock. Those quippy tunes like Interjections taught me: “Interjections (Hey!) show excitement (Yow!) or emotion (Ouch!). They’re generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point or by a comma when the feeling’s not as strong. Mmhmm…” 🎶
I learned how a bill becomes law after I’m Just a Bill sang: “When I started, I wasn’t even a bill, I was just an idea … so they called their local Congressman and he said, “You’re right, there oughta be a law.” Then he sat down and wrote me out and introduced me to Congress. And I became a bill, and I’ll remain a bill until they decide to make me a law.” 🎶
They’re silly songs, but the information has stayed with me all these years—And I’ve gotta say, if I could write a Schoolhouse Rock tune, I would write about how a fund at the Community Foundation becomes a grant and how you can be involved (Hurray!).
We all work hard for our money, so investing it wisely is important—even when it comes to charitable giving. As a donor, you might even wonder how a donation to your fund can help your favorite nonprofit impact their most pressing needs, while also supporting their longevity for generations. “How does it work?”, you ask. Great question! It’s as simple as this:
- The process first started after a generous donor establishes an unrestricted fund (Yay!).
- These funds generate earnings (Woo-Hoo!).
- We join those earnings with others to create the Give to Grant Collaborative which awards larger grants than any one fund could on their own (Wow!).
- These grants support local nonprofit causes (Alright!).
- The nonprofits do amazing work meeting community needs (Huzzah!).
- Every donation made to this fund stays in the endowment and generates even more earnings (Hip-Hip!).
- Those earnings support local nonprofit causes in our community. FOREVER. (Yow!)
Take a look at this Grants Rubric. We provide this rubric to every grant applicant for clarity and transparency. We also wanted to share the process with you for clarity. You can see in the first column on the left side we list all the application questions. The middle column lists the questions our Board uses to evaluate each application. The right column lists all the reasons why a proposal could be denied. In the event an application is denied, we’ll share the reasoning with the applicant so they can improve their next application with us or another funder.
We also have an advanced due diligence process to make sure each organization is in good standing with the IRS and that the organization’s tax form 990 has been filed within the past two years. We also review their financial statements to ensure it conveys all financial information pertinent to the proposal.
Additionally, every year we must notify organizations to let them know that we couldn’t fund their proposal because we didn’t have the funds to make it happen. So, more of these funds are needed to go a long way in meeting these requests and helping our community thrive. And by growing this fund, it generates more earnings so together we can award more funding to worthwhile causes.
Many of our donors are choosing to take advantage of the Universal Charitable Deduction which has been extended through 2021, allowing individual cash contributions of up to $300, ($600 for married filers) to be deducted above-the-line for cash contributions to qualified charitable organizations. This is a great incentive for growing your very own Give To Grant Fund today!