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Foundation Fair Provides Access to Funders

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Eileen Hannan Ferrell

More than 200 nonprofit representatives came to last week’s North Carolina Network of Grantmakers‘ Foundation Fair in Wilmington eager to find out if the needs of their organization fit the missions of the thirteen exhibitors.

The fair provided an opportunity for nonprofits from across the state to have direct and immediate access to foundations based in North Carolina such as the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, The Cannon Foundation and Cape Fear Memorial Foundation. Events like the fair help nonprofits consider possible funding options.    

“Most of the nonprofit representatives I spoke with indicated that fundraising from individual donors, businesses and foundations was still a challenge, even though the needs keep increasing”, noted Patricia Pleasants Lawler, southeast regional associate for the North Carolina Community Foundation which had an exhibit at the fair.  “One executive director said his board was determined to establish an operating endowment to help the organization better sustain itself during tough economic times,” Lawler added.  

Despite growing needs, the reality remains that funders and nonprofits alike are often challenged to identify a match in mission and scope. As Duke Endowment fellow Todd W. Dalrymple attests, “with such a specific Indenture, we found it difficult in some cases to find a common intersection of a nonprofit’s work and what we can actually fund. From the nonprofit side, I know it’s a challenge to find overlapping interests even within our broad program areas.”

Organizations like the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers provide a critical service by providing opportunities to openly exchange ideas and information and raise awareness about the breadth and scope our state’s philanthropic and nonprofit sector. At this and other events they host, grantmakers can provide clear, concise, and accessible information to nonprofits about their guidelines and interests.

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