It may be a modest beginning, but it’s a beginning that organizers of the Tri-City Community Foundation are happy to see.
“This is our first competitive grant cycle, which obviously is the reason we started the affiliate program in the first place, so we are excited to be able to have it opened since Oct. 1,” foundation Advisory Committee Chairman Michelle Hodges said. “Any 501(c)3 can apply.”
The foundation was started in August 2018 with a goal of setting up a perpetual endowment fund by making grants from the proceeds of a general fund. In this first round, there is $10,000 available. It is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of South Alabama.
“We should know the exact amount of funds we’ll be able to distribute, but we’re comfortable saying it will be in the $10,000 range,” Hodges said. “Folks don’t need to apply for a $50,000 grant. They need to keep it around that or under.”
After all the applications are in, the committee will sit down and go over all the candidates before deciding on which groups get funding.
“That’s the whole amount and we don’t have any requirements on how many that has to be,” Hodges said. “It’s up to the advisory committee when they do the grant review how many they decide qualify and how many they decide they want to give to. It could be multiples and there’s no reason it couldn’t be one. Those get reviewed in January.”
Hodges said the committee would like to see groups from the tri-city area working together to put the grant money to use in the community.
“We would love for organizations to collaborate with others in order to achieve their mission,” Hodges said. “Whether that’s Baldwin County schools or some other nonprofit organization, just to show that folks across the tri-city region are working together towards a common mission of building workforce together or jointly working toward education. Or whatever their mission is. Collaboration is not mandatory, but it would be exciting to see folks working together.”
During the first year, Hodges said the criteria for applicants was pretty wide open.
“We’re excited to see what type of needs there are in the community,” Hodges said. “We don’t want to duplicate organizations like United Way, Catholic Social Services and there are education coalitions. And we don’t want to duplicate the efforts of anybody.”
Providing a spark for the first grant cycle was a matching program by the Erie Hall Meyer Charitable Fund. It provided a 50-cent match for every dollar, donating up to $100,000, and recently agreed to another similar program to again help Tri-City.
“It’s a great opportunity, again, not only for folks to take advantage of the grant opportunity, but folks looking to be a part of both endowed funds and make sure that their gift is a part of something that’s going to last for a very long time,” Hodges said.
For more information about the Tri-City Community Foundation or to donate, visit tricitycommunityfoundation.org or call 251-438-5591.
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