by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, March 2015) The City of Cleveland is fortunate to serve as a location for one of only five Foundation Centers in the United States says Cleveland Foundation Center’s Director John Patrick Bailey.
The Cleveland Foundation Center offers a number of unique tools for non-profit organizations seeking funding, individuals looking for grants as well as for grant makers.
Bailey says at the Cleveland Foundation Center visitors can access an online Foundation Directory with information on over 100,000 philanthropies. The national database is updated regularly.
Foundation Center (FC) Maps – a data visualization tool- is another resource available to both grant seekers and grant makers that is available to visitors at the Cleveland Foundation Center. Bailey explains some possible uses for FC Maps. He says, for example, you could use FC Maps to seek who is funding Education in Cleveland; you could find the relationship of Cleveland Foundation to grants made in Cleveland and also get information on who is funding Cleveland Foundation. FC Maps can also be used as a demographic tool to look at a target area to see its demographics or to determine demographic trends within a given area.
Bailey said the Cleveland Foundation Center offers training courses to the staffs of area non-profit organizations and individuals wishing to learn about how to use the Foundation Center’s resources and how to seek funding. A sampling of courses offered include: Grant-seeking Basics, How to Approach a Foundation, Is Starting a Nonprofit Right for You? Introduction to Finding Funders, Getting Started with Foundation Grants to Individuals online, Grant-seeking Basics for Individuals in the Arts and Finding Foundation Support for Your Education. Most of the courses offered are free although some all day workshops have a fee, he said.
The Foundation Center, 1422 Euclid Avenue, Suite 1600, also provides access to its library, computers and special resources such as the Foundation Directory and FC Maps five days a week during library hours (M-W-F, Noon to 4:30 p.m., and T-TH from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). Librarians and tutorials are available to assist visitors. There is a computer lab available for your use.
The Foundation Directory and FC Maps can only be accessed by subscription or on location at the Cleveland Foundation Center or at the location of a Philanthropy Information Network member. In addition to the Cleveland Foundation Center, local network members include: the Cleveland Public Library’s main branch at 325 Superior Ave, NE and the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Independence Branch at 6361 Selig Drive.
Bailey says while the research in the Foundation Directory or MC Maps must be done at Foundation Center or a network location, you can email a PDF to yourself of the results of your search. For example your search may have found information on a foundation that includes who should apply, the range of grants they give, and what grants they have given in the past to organizations similar to yours – you can send this profile to yourself in the form of a PDF.
The Foundation Center also has an online resource called Grant Space, which includes samples of materials needed for submitting a grant proposal, and the ability to interact with peers and experts about your fundraising efforts. This resource can be accessed from a computer or mobile devise at: grantspace.org.
Editor’s Note: For more information about the Cleveland Foundation Center, or to sign up for classes, you can call 216-861-1933, email: foundationcenter.org/cleveland, or visit the Foundation Center during library hours.