By Todd Cohen
GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Weaver Foundation in Greensboro is launching a funding initiative to encourage groups working with youngsters to work with one another.
The $25 million-asset foundation could spend up to $1.65 million over three years on collaborative projects focusing on improving services to children and families.
The goal is to help groups coordinate their services, programs and staffing in ways that will result in underlying and ongoing change in their basic operations.
Roughly 300 agencies in the Greensboro area have been invited to submit joint requests for planning grants of $25,000 each to prepare project proposals.
The foundation could fund up to six requests for planning funds, says Skip Moore, the foundation’s president.
Those selected then will develop full-blown proposals, and the foundation then could spend up to $500,000 a year combined on as many as three or four collaborative projects over three years.
The foundation this year decided to focus much of its funding on three main areas – children and families, leadership development and new populations such as immigrants.
To help identify specific needs for which the foundation might provide funding, Moore says, he met with individuals and agencies serving children and families.
“What we found were overlapping services, duplicate services, agencies doing the same thing for different audiences,” he says. “What became apparent to us was we were less and less sure exactly where to target our grantmaking to really leverage and affect something.”
As a result, the foundation decided to create a grants program that would serve as a catalyst to help groups better serve community needs by working together.
The foundation hopes to see joint proposals from groups such as those offering similar or competing services to the same audience, or offering similar programs to different audiences, or offering programs that might reinforce one another, such as social services and the arts.
“We hope the process will help people think outside the box with larger ideas,” Moore says.
The foundation will assess its new “request-for-proposal” grantmaking process in the area of children and families before deciding whether to launch a similar process to make grants in its two other focus areas of leadership and immigration.
Groups have until July 31 to let the foundation know they plan to submit joint proposals for the children and families initiative.
Groups then have until Oct. 1 to submit proposals for planning grants, which will be announced by Nov. 15.
Project proposals must be submitted by May 31, 2001, and project grants will be announced by July 31, 2001.