Did You “Meet the Funders?”

Focused missions and goals. Strong internal structure and board governance. Creative ways of running an organization.

Those are just some examples of expectations local foundations gave the more than 100 nonprofit representatives who attended the sixth annual “Meet the Funders” event Wednesday hosted by yours truly, the Paul Clarke Nonprofit Resource Center.

The event’s panel portion focused on how funders are adjusting giving habits as a result of the recession, as well as long-term goals and changes foundations are making to better prepare for uncertain economic times.

Representatives from  AWS,  Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, Lutheran, PNC Bank and St. Joseph Community Health foundations offered extremely informative answers on how, why and what they are funding; the clarity and effectiveness of missions expected from organizations seeking funding; and tips on how the nonprofit sector can strengthen itself even in a tough economy.

Lucky attendees who registered for the forum portion of “Meet the Funders” spent the remainder of the morning hearing from 11 local foundation representatives*, receiving greater insight into who and what funders are looking to support through grants.

Funders moved from group to group – spending about 25 minutes in each –  giving background on their foundation and taking questions from attendees. The intimate look into the foundations’ giving habits and expectations offered a valuable inside perspective for nonprofits hoping to diversify their pool of funding.

From our viewpoint, the event was a great success. Questions were answered. Discussions were lively and informative. Light bulbs seemed to be illuminating over many heads.

What did you think? Please let us know.

We want to again offer our deepest thanks to the funders who provided time and insight, as well as to the many nonprofit representatives who came out from the trenches to attend. We hope everyone learned something valuable to take back to the field. And, we hope to see you all again next year!


P.S. Please stay tuned for photos of “Meet the Funders” 2010!

*The following foundations led discussions in our forum this year:

  • ArtsUnited – Jan Shupert-Arick
  • AWS Foundation – Lynne Gilmore
  • Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne – Christine Meek
  • Dekko Foundation – Dee Slater
  • Foellinger Foundation – Cheryl Taylor
  • Lincoln Financial Foundation – Jean Vrabel
  • Lutheran Foundation – Marcia Haaff
  • PNC Bank, formerly National City Bank – Margaret Sturm
  • St. Joseph Community Health Foundation – Meg Distler
  • Waterfield Foundation – Becky Teagarden
  • Wells Fargo Bank – Jennifer King

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