Meet the Funders Re-Cap

In 2016 saw another successful Meet the Funders event which began in the ACPL Theater with a panel of foundation representatives discussing trends in the nonprofit sector, particularly philanthropy.

The Panel

20160802_094220The question of awarding general support or multi-year grants drew the following responses from our panelists:

CFGFW: 90% of our awards are for general support, but we do not award multi-year grants.

Foellinger: we provide both.

Lincoln: presently we provide program support only, though is includes overhead and they award some multi-year grants.

McMillen: our major interests is Wildcats for which we provide general support, for others only capital is funded.

AWS: our first priority is program support, which also includes overhead; second is capital and third is general support. We award few multi-year grants.

A question from the audience about the Fair Labor Act and its effects on local nonprofits elicited mutual concern from the foundations with at least one saying that are looking at the impact it will have. If you want to know more, a Briefing prepared by Indiana Nonprofit Sector Project Kirsten Grønbjerg, Director, Indiana University SPEA reports that “ …the new regulations in the Fair Labor Standards Act are likely to significantly threaten the financial capacity of many nonprofit organizations in Indiana and elsewhere.

Another audience member’s question was about whether having a professional grantwriter is advantageous to their nonprofit’s grant application. Responses from panelists included the following tips (paraphrased):

“A professional grantwriter is not always best…while their writing will be quite good, passion is often missing.”

“…this is a great opportunity for [your] nonprofit board…get them involved [in the application process and writing]”.

“Have the nonprofit’s name and the contact information on the proposal. [I] may not remember the organization and you, just because we spoke on the phone.”

The Forum

During sessions eight foundation representatives rotated, in pairs, to each of the meeting rooms speaking to small groups of nonprofit professionals and volunteers.

Here are some highlights from each foundation:

Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne:

  • Competitive grants, quarterly cycle, require a concept letter; no capital funding
  • Barbara Burt Leadership grant
  • Knight Foundation focus on civic engagement, attracting and retaining talent in Knight communities
  • Pro Active grants are generated by the CFGFW grants committee and invitational

Lincoln Financial:

  • Matching gift program (does not fund sporting events or religion)
  • LIVE (Lincoln employee volunteer engagement supports nonprofits through donation based on hours volunteered)
  • Corporate funding sponsors community events (all 2016 funds have been expended)
  • Foundation supports the arts, human services and youth education; no general operating support

St. Joseph Community Health Foundation:

  • Fund primarily Allen County
  • 51% of an organization’s clients must be low income
  • Focus on health: affordable care, prenatal, infant, spiritual, refugee and connecting the needy to wellness


  • Focus on physical and mental disabilities
  • Prefer proposals for program support
  • Some capital funds to exceed ADA (not meet)
  • Call to talk rather than send cold proposal

Serve IN:

  • Different programs
    • Indiana Kids
    • Americorps
    • Mini Grants
      • National Day of Service
      • National Volunteer Week
      • Make a Difference & Family Volunteer Day
      • Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne:

  • Focus on arts and culture, community development, and capacity building
  • Willing to meet with organizations to discuss application
  • Different grant avenues
    • Amplify Art Crowdfunding Program (open to any organization or individual)
    • Indiana Arts Commission Arts Operating Support
    • Indiana Arts Commissions Arts Project Support
    • Operating Support Allocations
    • Nonprofit Arts Internship Initiative

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