Connecting Foundation’s Resources to Nonprofits’ Needs

by Ann Luke

Running a nonprofit organization is always challenging. Running a nonprofit organization during this economic climate can be downright difficult and, at some times, overwhelming.

For example, maybe the federal and state funding streams you relied on in the past aren’t as strong as they used to be, or maybe they’ve dried up completely. Or perhaps your organization just needs that little extra to make up for those depleted streams to cover projects and initiatives that your organization – and the people who rely on them – can’t afford to lose. Or maybe you have an idea for a new program or project but lack the funding to make it happen.

So, what are your options? One is to look for non-traditional funding beyond the state and federal level. One of those places (and there are several) is the Wachovia-Wells Fargo Foundation, which makes applying for grants quick and easy for nonprofits. Wachovia-Wells Fargo isn’t the only place to find similar programs; with a little research, you’ll find that Brevard County offers plenty when it comes to corporate giving.

Similar Goals, Different Approaches

Wachovia-Wells Fargo offers grants in two primary areas: Community Development and Education. We also consider giving grants in area of Human Services, Arts & Culture, Civic Engagement and the Environment. In 2010, the Foundation granted more than $8.3 million to nonprofits and schools throughout the state. In short, we look for projects that keep our communities strong.

Our recent partnership with Brevard Workforce, a state and federally funded series of one-stop career centers offering job search and employee-finding services, is a wonderful example of a grant in the Community Development area. As a result of the unprecedented job losses experienced in the area due to the retirement of the Space Shuttle program, as well as near-record-high unemployment rates, Brevard Workforce knew that demand for its services would continue to increase, thus stretching its existing resources. As a result, plans to open and operate a new flagship center in Rockledge hatched.

To reduce the stress of the increased demand while still providing the same level of quality service in the new center, Brevard Workforce contacted our Foundation in October 2010 and requested funding for a series of motivational job search DVDs and a high-definition television to place in the waiting area of the new center. The videos would also be accessible through individual computers and during group training. Within a month of the grant proposal, Brevard Workforce received $5,000 to fund this project.

It May Be Easier Than You Think

Because Brevard Workforce took the initiative to find funding from non-traditional sources; it will now be able to provide a very important service it otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. How much more could your organization accomplish with an extra $5,000?

I could recite several stories similar to Brevard Workforce’s. In fact, there probably isn’t enough space in this magazine to mention them all. And there’s a reason we’ve been able to help so many nonprofit organizations – because it’s easy, both for us and you. If your grant request fits our profile and your organization is structurally and financially sound, then the process is quick and easy. And if we have the money, you’ll likely be approved. Another perk is far less paperwork and reporting than you’re probably used to when dealing with state and federal grants.

Taking the Initiative to Ask

In short, there’s only one way to find out: ask us. And even if, for some reason, your request is denied, that “no” response can be a learning experience and valuable opportunity for the organization to grow. As stated before, with a little research you’ll find that non-traditional grant sources such as Wachovia’s are out there. All you have to do is ask.

It’s easy to get started. Simply visit www.wellsfargo.com/donations and click on “Florida”, where you’ll find everything you need to know about applying for a grant. As I said earlier, running a successful nonprofit organization is difficult. Finding non-traditional funding can make it easier.

Ann Luke is a Sr. Private Banker for the Brevard County region of Wells Fargo Private Bank. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, she worked as Market President at Wachovia in Melbourne, where she specialized in commercial lending. Luke currently sits on the Brevard Workforce Board of Directors.