Our Supporting Foundations
WHAT IS A SUPPORTING FOUNDATION?
Each Supporting Foundation through the Jewish Federation of St. Louis has its own mission and vision to provide funding to key areas of interest. They are set up by philanthropic individuals, families or groups who have a passion for a specific area of the Jewish community. There are currently four Supporting Foundations at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. These organizations provide a unique opportunity for funding in a number of specialized areas.
WHAT CAN NONPROFITS DO?
Do your homework. Foundations support programs that align with their mission and strategic view. The deeper that nonprofits can align with that mission, the better chance of getting it funded. It is best to know who the trustees are, their backgrounds and interests, and the foundation’s history of past funding before the application or Letter of Intent (LOI) is begun. Read the materials on the website and set up a call with a trustee or program officer.
Do not be intimidated. According to one prominent Foundation president, “Don’t be intimidated by the process. Good proposals are part of the process and help foundations meet their mission.” Staff are often open to answering questions and are appreciative of good programs and new ideas. Open conversation results in better applications and less wasted time and effort invested in proposals that will not be funded.
Be honest. Does your program fit the mission or is this an exercise in throwing things out there to see what sticks?
Take time with the LOI. Make sure that your answers are clear and answer the questions being asked. Engage Foundations. Rachel Monroe explains, “It is an essential step to contact the staff member that heads the area for which one is applying.” Speaking with staff members helps ensure that the application is on the right track and is aligned correctly.
Show impact and be specific. Foundations are often looking for proven results and that their funds will make things happen. It is important to know what questions to ask. Most foundations are looking to make a specific connection between the program, results and their impact in finding solutions.
Do not overlook that individual giving is the core to a fundraising plan. Giving by individuals still represents the most effective way for nonprofits to build a solid and growth-oriented base of support. Many times the path to a foundation is through a trustee, and relationship building. And foundation support represents only 10 to 15 percent of sources of philanthropic support for most nonprofits. Individuals are critical to the financial health of any nonprofit and need to be at the core of an organization’s fundraising activity.
Adapted from “Seeking Foundation Funds: Changing Environment for Foundations Requires Nonprofits to be Smarter in their Ask” by Avrum Lapin.