For Grant Writers At Municipalities, Identifying Foundation Funds Can Help Close Budget Gaps

New Philadelphia leaders didn’t need to search far and wide for a grant. The funding source lives and works in town.

A local connection helped the city’s fire department secure a $9,000 grant from the Westfield Insurance Foundation, which will be applied toward the purchase of new thermal imaging cameras. Joel B. Day, the mayor of New Philadelphia, learned about the grant through a relationship the city has with Bill Weisgarber, owner of Tuscarawas Insurance Agency, a local small business.

As a member of the New Philadelphia community, Weisgarber said his small business has a civic responsibility to support local services, especially projects that will help save lives. Due to budget restrictions, Mayor Day said singling out grants that can be used toward the purchase of new equipment is an important assignment for any municipal government. And that role involves research.

GrantWatch.com is a valuable resource for local nonprofit and government agencies to identify funding opportunities from foundations and the full details a grant writer will need to construct a compelling proposal. In some circumstances, grant writing requires assistance. GrantWriterTeam, a service of GrantWatch, matches grant seekers with grant writers for submitting winning proposals.

Foundations are nongovernmental trusts or corporations. As nonprofit charities, foundations are established for the prime purpose of making donations. Hundreds of billions of dollars are available from thousands of foundations each year. Most foundations grants, like the one from Westfield Insurance, are designated to improve the standard of living within a community. Grants are typically targeted to a specific subject.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch, said the odds of winning a grant from a foundation are very good. For one, they are generally not publicized and do not receive as many applicants as other governmental funding sources. And, in good times or bad, foundations are required to offer at least 5 percent of their assets, averaged over five years, in charitable grants.

Although foundation grants may help establish a new program or strengthen an existing one, state and federal grants are the lifeblood of local municipalities. Foundation grants are usually not large enough to sustain an organization or department over a long stretch of time.

In addition to the grant money, New Philadelphia also had to use $3,000 from the fire’ department’s new equipment fund to supplement the purchase of the cameras, which cost $6,000 each. Fire Chief Jim Parrish said the new units are smaller, easier to carry and represent a technological advance over the four 12-year-old cameras in the department’s inventory.

The Westfield Foundation has awarded nearly $1.8 million in grant money in the past four years. Tuscarawas, which has been affiliated with the Westfield Foundation for the past 75 years, was one of 88 insurance agencies in 17 states this year to distribute grants to 95 nonprofits totaling more than $500,000 in the Westfield Legacy of Caring grant program.

Grant writers from all backgrounds who have the talent to craft a compelling proposal for funds are encouraged to sign-up on GrantWriterTeam.com, a service of GrantWatch.com. Joining GrantWriterTeam is easy. Create a profile, fill out the application and begin to bid on grant writing jobs.

About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch

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