Targeted funding – Pro-active strategy

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. – The A.J. Fletcher Foundation in Raleigh has decided to target a handful of goals for the next two years, and not to accept unsolicited requests for funding.

The board of the $55 million-asset foundation made the decision at its spring meeting in May after six months of studying its mission, grantmaking history and impact on nonprofits.

The foundation, which has contributed more than $17 million to 250 different groups in the past five years, increasingly has identified issues to tackle and then found nonprofit partners to help find solutions, says Tom McGuire, its executive director.

He says the foundation, which publishes Nonprofitxpress, has earmarked an increasingly bigger share of its annual spending on those issues, which range from adolescent pregnancy and substance abuse to music education and news for the nonprofit sector.

As a result, he says, discretionary funds available for responding to unsolicited requests have declined sharply.

The foundation’s targeted goals for the next two years include supporting an existing program that provides $350,000 a year in music scholarships at 13 colleges and universities in North Carolina; investing $10 million over 10 years to create the Fletcher Opera Institute at the N.C. School of the Arts in Winston-Salem; establishing Nonprofitxpress as a leading source of news and assistance for the philanthropic sector; and completing roughly $4 million in outstanding grant commitments.

“The A.J. Fletcher Foundation will continue to play an active role in the nonprofit sector,” McGuire says. “Its level of financial commitment is higher than ever, and its focus on issues affecting the community has never been clearer.”

The foundation welcomes questions from nonprofits about its policies, he says, and invites ongoing discussion of concerns facing the state.

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