Toledo Community Foundation’s Second Round of Equity & Access Grants

By Fletcher Word
Sojourner’s Truth Editor

The Greater Toledo Community Foundation is preparing a second round of grants for distribution in 2021 to non-profit organizations located in northwest Ohio that are providing services for local residents. The Foundation is vetting applications with the guidance of its Equity & Access Advisory Committee. During  the upcoming second round, the Foundation is making an extra effort to ensure that smaller, grassroots organizations have a realistic opportunity to seek and obtain funding.

The Foundation has committed $300,000 for the program during this fiscal year for organizations whose focus is on advocacy, economic development, employment, building capacity with priority given to proposals that stress supporting collaboration among organizations.

Earlier in the year, during the first round of donations, the Foundation provided funds in the amount of $50,000 to JumpStart and $47,850 to the Arts Commission.

Now with the second round of $200,000, the Foundation has increasing its efforts to reach other, smaller groups in the community.

“We have identified gaps from the first round, particularly with smaller capacity organizations who didn’t know they were eligible,” said Artisha Lawson, program officer of GTCF. “Now we are looking to provide funding for those from the grass roots to well established groups.”

One of the key individuals in this effort to reach out to smaller groups, is Foundation board member Pariss Coleman, a local attorney.

“The issue is, when you look at the Foundation funding, your smaller nonprofits or less experienced weren’t getting funded because they hadn’t dotted the “i’s” or crossed the “t’s” to get themselves funded.

For example, he noted, a nonprofit needs to be a 501(c)(3), have  a board of directors, have profit and loss statements with their complete paperwork and, quite possible, have a grant writer – all details that larger organizations typically have in place.

“As we talked about it, I got involved and we were able to identify committee folks who came from different walks of life and who talked to many diverse people – they represent different races and disciplines – it’s a broad sweeping committee,” said Coleman

“The focus is to reach nonprofits and people doing community work who are not necessarily frequent flyers with the Greater Toledo Community Foundation.”

Coleman stressed that the new funding round is more than just a matter of handing out money after telling applicants what is expected of them. The Foundation has also put in place tools to assist such nonprofits – a website with information, training, marketing assistance and grant writing assistance.

The application process calls for applicants to file a Letter of Intent (LOI) first. That first step opened on June 19 and continues through to August 21. The Equity & Access Advisory Committee will review the LOI and submit recommendations for full applications. The recommendations will be reviewed by the GTCF Grants & Distribution Committee, then the GTCF Board to issue application invitations. Full applications will be received starting October 2021 and closed December 2021. Funding recommendations are expected by mid-April 2022.

Interested applicants may contact GTFC at 419-241-5049. Interested parties are invited to a virtual Brown Bag Chat  – a 45 minute open discussion –  with Artisha Lawson, program director, to discuss GTCF’s Equity & Access Initiative.