Voice Recognition

Community West Foundation News Article

06.12.2024 - News

Q & A with our Grantmakers

How many Letters of Inquiry did Community West receive this quarter?

How do you decide who will be asked to submit a full grant application?
Our staff and Grants Committee reviews Letters of Inquiry and meets to decide which agencies will be invited to submit a full grant proposal. Of the 53 Letters of Inquiry we received, only 36 agencies were invited to submit a full grant proposal.

What happens after you receive the full grant proposal? 
This is where our learning process begins. All of the elements submitted with the grant proposal help tell the story of that nonprofit. Based on that information, our staff and committee will request supporting documentation or a meeting with the nonprofit to discuss their work in more detail. In many cases we will schedule a visit to the agency to better understand their work. 

What information stands out the most on an application?
We want to know their income sources and which foundations also support their work. By knowing this information, we get a sense of their financial stability. It is our responsibility to select agencies that are established and operationally sound so that our grant is able to strengthen them even further.  

Do nonprofits have to apply every year?
Yes, nonprofits have to apply annually, but we generally fund for at least 3 years. However, many of the nonprofits we fund have been receiving grants for much longer. Our personal approach to the vetting process helps us establish relationships from the very onset with our grantees. Many of those relationships have developed over the years to the point where we feel more like partners in their success as opposed to funders just writing a check.  

What is the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of my job is having to say ‘No’. The reality is that there is only so much money available in our grants budget and we have to be judicious with our decisions. There are many nonprofits who apply who are not fully established, who are doing good work, but not quite ready to receive a grant from us. 

What is the best part of your job?
Every quarter we invite our grant recipients to an open house to receive their check. This is our opportunity to celebrate the wonderful work these agencies do for our community. It is my favorite part in the grant process because I get to personally thank the agencies we support. Because of the generosity of our donors, each nonprofit receiving a grant check also receives an additional check from our Community Impact Fund. These extra funds are a surprise and I have seen several directors with tears in their eyes when they discover this extra affirmation of their work in our community. It’s truly moving and I am so grateful to be a part of this process. 

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