SPECIAL GRANTS

BACKGROUND

The Wyomissing Foundation (TWF) has established a pool of funds in 2012 to be available for grants to local nonprofit organizations to support programs that address significant critical community issues. The Foundation has established a contractual relationship with United Way of Berks County (UW) to provide administrative support to the Foundation’s staff and Board in awarding these grants. Full responsibility for final grant decisions and payment of grants, however, will remain with the Foundation.

PURPOSE

Many individuals and families in Berks County continue to face challenging economic-related circumstances, as unemployment remains high, safety net programs are stretched thin, access to health care remains limited and costly and basic living costs and expenses continue to rise. Additionally, many nonprofit health and human service organizations are finding that traditional and reliable revenue sources are shrinking, with public funding at all levels significantly jeopardized. Given that many of these changing conditions may be long-term and structural in nature, nonprofit organizations are facing the need to redesign or develop new programs, as well as make organizational changes to increase their capacity to operate efficiently and effectively.

The Wyomissing Foundation intends to provide grants that assist nonprofit organizations in fulfilling their missions and responding to critical community issues, even under these challenging circumstances. Because the nature of those challenges is so diverse, the following is not a definitive list of potential grant uses, but illustrative of the variety of grants that might be considered under this program in 2012:

  • Funding to sustain a current program to meet increased or changing community needs;
  • Funding to expand a current program only if it directly impacts individuals suffering from the results of the recession;
  • Funding to stabilize or restructure an organization that has experienced significant government funding reductions or loss;
  • Funding to implement organizational development strategies to increase revenue, reduce operating expenses or increase effectiveness;
  • Funding to support organizational capacity issues of two or more organizations, through joint ventures, shared services, collaborations or mergers.

Any grants provided under this program, however, must demonstrate their ability to create sustainable improvement and not simply respond to a short-term gap in funding availability.

Please Note: All Special Grants must adhere to the Foundation’s general grant guidelines.

PROCEDURES

The following will guide the grant-making process in 2012:

  • An organization interested in seeking a grant through this program should first discuss their interest with United Way staff to determine availability of funds and appropriateness of the request;
  • Any initial contacts with Foundation staff will be referred to United Way;
  • If requested, the interested organization must submit a two-page Letter of Intent that describes the community issue to be addressed, the proposed programmatic or organizational response, and the amount of funding being requested from the Foundation;
  • All Letters of Intent received will be reviewed by United Way staff for consistency with the Foundation’s general grant-making guidelines and the parameters of this Special Grant Program;
  • After review by United Way staff, and in consultation with Foundation staff, the request may be approved for further consideration. If so, a detailed grant proposal must be submitted. The specific information to be provided and the specific format for the proposal will be communicated, and United Way staff will assist the applying organization to ensure the proposal’s completeness;
  • Submitted grant proposals will be fully evaluated by United Way staff, with final recommendations for funding to be reviewed with Foundation staff before submission to the Foundation Board for action.

To contact United Way of Berks County, contact Patricia Giles, senior vice president of community impact, at 610-685-4567 or patgiles@uwberks.org.