New network launches at library to help connect people, nonprofits with funding support
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Local high school and college students along with nonprofits just got a huge gift that could help them fund their education or support their organization’s specific passion.
Thanks to a partnership between Bud Werner Memorial Library and the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, people can sit down in the library and now access the Foundation Center’s Funding Information Network — the country’s most detailed and prolific database for grants, scholarships and funding.
The network works like a Google search but is faster and better, according to Helen Beall, community impact manager for the Community Foundation.
The Community Foundation hosted the network until 2017, but due to limited office hours and without a designated work-station for nonprofits to conduct searches, the tool was under-utilized and thus discontinued due to the expense. Since then, the Community Foundation has been working with the library to bring the resource back.
“This gives you access to organizations that don’t have websites,” Beall said. “If you were to Google it (grants being sought), only 10% of grant sources will come up. With the Funding Information Network, you’ll find comprehensive data.”
Beall explained the library pays a yearly fee for the software program, which constantly updates an extensive amount of funding source information. The Funding Information Network can only be used within the walls of the library. Users can use their own computers or library computers.
To access the network, a user would first go to the library’s website at steamboatlibrary.org and click on the “Research” tab to find the Funding Information Network pages. One is labeled “Founding Directory Online,” and the other is labeled “Grants to Individuals.”
- Conduct research on potential funders for scholarships, fellowships, grants and a wide range of financial support to individual and nonprofits.
- Attend workshops to learn how to approach funders and write grant proposals.
- Ask librarians questions about fundraising and nonprofit needs.
- Network with peers in the local social sector.
- Find educational scholarships, fellowships and loans.
- Use maps to see who is getting and giving grants in the community.
- Stay up-to-date on funding trends.
For example, an environmental organization could search “environmental education in Routt County.” The results would pop up with available grants, what kind of groups would be eligible and even tax forms. Users could widen the geographic focus and put in “Colorado” and be able to find groups that help fund environmental causes in the state.
Reference librarian John R. Major said the “Grant to Individuals” part of the network serves students, artists or educational institutions seeking scholarships, fellowships or grants.
A search for “LGBTQ Scholarships” found six organizations that give scholarships to students. Looking at one of them, Point Foundation, you could see it is based out of Los Angeles, California, but the “geographic focus” is listed as “national,” so that means any U.S. student could apply. You could also see how much money they’ve raised and how much money they’ve given away in scholarships for higher education and requirements students need to apply for scholarships, such as GPA, test scores and willingness to volunteer in the LGBTQ community.
• Funding Information Training for nonprofits: 9 to 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Bud Werner Memorial Library, 1289 Lincoln Ave.
• Funding Information Training for Individuals: 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Bud Werner Memorial Library
Nonprofit organizations that use the Funding Information Network also will find tools to help teach them the best way to apply for the more sophisticated grants.
Beall said it costs the library about $2,500 to run the network, but if used effectively, she expects local residents and institutions to bring in much more than that in grant funding.
Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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