When we think of nonprofits, most of us picture the great work they do in our community—providing food and shelter, promoting the arts, protecting the environment, and ensuring everyone has access to healthcare and education. What we sometimes forget is the effort that goes into helping organizations build their capacity to do this important work and sustain their operations.
Nonprofits have many of the same organizational needs as for-profit businesses—they must develop the policies and practices that guide their work, and they need the marketing, legal resources, professional development, and information technology that make the work possible.
“Our hope is to support nonprofit organizations serving Linn County in the broadest sense possible,” said Casey Baustian, the Program Officer who oversees Organization Support Grants. “Our Nonprofit Network provides learning opportunities and resources in this space, but capacity-building or operating costs aren’t always the first thing that comes to mind for donors. Organization Support Grants provide vital funding to help nonprofits develop the strategies, systems, and structures needed to pursue their missions.”
Nonprofits can apply to the Organization Support Grant for specific capacity-building efforts or for general operating costs. The grants allow organizations to make investments where they feel it could have the most impact. The funding offers greater flexibility for organizations to respond to the ever-changing needs of their nonprofit and the people they serve.
General operating costs were added as an eligible expense for Organization Support Grants in 2021 as the Community Foundation looked to make grantmaking policies more equitable. “We want to have funding options available for nonprofit organizations to be able to create programs and solutions based on their experiences and expertise,” Casey said.
Organization Support Grants are funded by the Greater Good Fund—an unrestricted, endowed fund that supports the Community Foundation’s competitive grant programs. The Community Foundation offers four competitive grant programs that are funded by the Greater Good Fund including Organization Support Grants for capacity-building and operational costs; Program Support Grants for new or ongoing programs; Endowment Challenge Grants for endowment building; and Rapid Response Grants for emerging or emergency needs.
Gifts to the Greater Good Fund allow the Community Foundation to support the nonprofits meeting our community’s most pressing needs.
Harmony School of Music
$10,000 for General Operating Support
“These funds provide a cushion for our small organization as we make the transition out of the pandemic and into a new social landscape with changing facilities, programming, and operational needs. The Organization Support Grant program in particular is incredibly valuable because so few opportunities exist for general operating support, which no organization can survive without.”
Jessica Altfillisch, Executive Director
Eastern Iowa Health Center
$25,000 for Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Approach
“Eastern Iowa Health Center is pursuing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training and certifications that will help build principle-based and practical approaches to DEI. This learning will facilitate skills to recognize bias and counter its harmful effects. Increasing EIHC’s knowledge of DEI will strengthen understanding, which will result in better relationships with both staff and patients. When we actively elevate the needs of diverse groups, all are better served.”
Joe Lock, President & CEO
Heritage Area Agency on Aging
$16,000 for General Operating Support
“Heritage programs are designed to help seniors age with dignity and independence in the home they choose. As the number of older Iowans increases and with growing concerns about food insecurity and social isolation, support from the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation’s Organization Support Grant empowers Heritage to expand services and meet the needs of seniors in our community.”
Barbara Werning, Executive Director
Willis Dady Homeless Services
$16,000 for General Operating Support
“General operating support provides all of our agency’s services a boost, alleviating facility expenses to remain open as we serve record high numbers of clients experiencing literal homelessness throughout our community. Through support from the Community Foundation, businesses, and individuals, Willis Dady is able to provide emergency shelter, permanent supportive housing, veterans services, and rapid rehousing programs in response to urgent community needs.”
Aaron Amundson, Development Director
To learn more about Organization Support Grants, click here.
To review recent grants made, click here.