A Presbyterian Church has received a $30,000 grant to help grow into its own! About 60 percent of the congregation members are immigrants, many in the process of trying to become citizens. An average of 40 to 60 worshippers meet for an all-Spanish service at noon each Sunday. The church donates its sanctuary for the services, as well as office space and space for Bible studies and other activities. The grant will help support the ministry, on top of the generous support of a cluster of churches from the area. The congregation hopes to someday build or lease its own space with the goal of becoming self-sufficient - that is, being able to maintain their ministry from their own membership. Whether or not it can be pulled off in the three years of the grant is questionable, but maybe in five years.
The church's minister says he hopes to be able to retire before then, but for now he's too busy supporting a flock whose members include many who are struggling to follow their faith in a strange land and foreign culture. He said he spends "most of my time" helping individuals navigate the legal system - mostly for traffic violations, domestic violence and other misdemeanor crimes - and deal with immigration officials.
Over $800,000 has been given to 19 congregations and church-related projects nationwide!
The grant program funds new church developments and provide aid for the transformation of existing congregations and congregational-based ministries of compassion and justice. Funds for the grants come from endowments, individuals and congregational gifts.
This organization has been handing out grant checks for rural fire departments since June and will continue to do so until August.
These grants are being provided to purchase new equipment, some that will be used to purchase wild fire fighting equipment, as well as everyday equipment.
In order to apply for this grant program the fire departments must submit a proposal, an agreement of sorts, that outline exactly how the money will be spent. A group then gets together to decide how much the fire departments should get. The amount of the grant checks are based on the size and needs of the individual fire departments.
According to one spokesperson, “We don’t just look for those departments that are in need. We also consider the department size, the area in which they are located and the last time they received a grant.” Additionally, the departments must not only respond to structural fires, but commit to responding to wildfires as well.
Fire departments are required to match these funds. For example: If a piece equipment costs $3,000, then $1,500 will come from the grant and the other $1,500 will be paid for by the fire department.
So far 177 fire departments will be receiving checks of up to $3,000 which is the maximum amount per grant recipient, to help them with the purchase of personal protective gear, and firefighting equipment.
So far over $300,000 has been provided in grant monies to provide better equipment and help increase the safety of fire fighters.
"Open" Grants Program
Starting July 2009, this foundation will be accepting grant applications as part of its new “Open Grants Program.” The purpose and aim is to make the grant-making process easier for eligible applicants.
Governmental entities and 501(c)(3) organizations that serve tobacco-dependent, rural, or economically distressed areas of the state may apply for the Open Grants Program. Organizations in affluent areas of the state are not ineligible to apply, though may not be given preference.
The Foundation’s board will examine a wide range of grant proposals throughout the year, but priority will be given to projects that focus on agriculture, offer job creation and sustainability, and workforce preparedness.
“Ask yourself ‘Who benefits, how are they going to benefit, what difference will it make, how will the foundation know,’” says the foundation's spokesperson. “Remember that persistence pays. Just because you’re declined funding, doesn’t mean you’ll never be funded.”
The foundation's president said the advantages of the newly revamped Open Grants Program are three-fold:
- Applicants are given more flexibility in their time line without rushing to meet the annual August deadline
- the administrative burden is lessened because rather than submitting a full application and project outline, applicants can submit a brief letter of inquiry
- and because the Foundation removed two primary categories of funding (Aerospace and Biotechnology) from the Open Grants Program and placed them in another category, there is less competition for grant opportunities
The foundation president has said that the Foundation is honing in on opportunities that advance education and economic development in economically disadvantaged locations, specifically ones that partner well with federal and state stimulus program opportunities.
Examples of projects less likely to catch the Foundation’s attention include endowments, capital campaigns, construction, debt service, revolving loan funds, after school or day care programs, general employment training, infrastructure, and community centers. The foundation has funded projects like these in the past, however — the Foundation awarded a $2 million grant earlier this year for infrastructure development along a U.S. highway route — and the president of the foundation encourages applicants to apply if they’re confident in the project.
One interested applicant said she is seeking other grant and in-kind support opportunities to expand her Veterans Services programs which the president of the foundation specifically said the Foundation favors during the application project.
“All I can do is try, and if I get turned down, I’ll keep applying,” she said.