Community Collaboration Grants

Discussion of Collaborative Grant Process with Initial Grant Writing Participants

In helping build an extraordinary community, the Foundation is committed to convening and funding
collaborative opportunities. Collaborative grantmaking is a new process for the Foundation; we are still
trying to figure it out! Through these six proposals, we’ve been able to further clarify funding
expectations. Much like creating a job description, then grasping what’s really needed once you review
incoming resumes, the Foundation’s Grants Review Committee (GRC) experienced a lot of clarity when
reviewing the proposals.

As framed and written, the proposals are in various stages of underdevelopment to the concept of
collaborative grantmaking that the Foundation wants to encourage and is prepared to fund. Most of the
issues presented in the first round of proposals are ideological and future thinking, but many of the
requests for funds are extensions of efforts already happening. It’s very likely that the tight RFP timeline
pushed some of the grant requestors to put together a hoped-for outcome, without having deeper
discussions around the problems to solve first.

The RFP contained a lot of valuable requirements for collaborative grants, but missed the relationship
between impactful projects and the amount of funding available, as well as proof of true collaboration
to solve a big issue. In that this is the first time that collaborative grant proposals have been requested,
we are all learning.

To be clear, this collaborative grant process is different: there is an opportunity to change the direction
of these proposals toward deeper collaborations that are not a one-off effort. To assist, feedback from
the Foundation on your original requests will be provided.

Here is the Foundation’s simple definition of collaboration: Together we can do more. We are looking
for efforts that address the whole line: Together. We. Can Do. More.

Two examples of big issues that could be addressed collaboratively:

  • What can we do to make the community more welcoming to diverse populations? How do we
    become available for diversity?
  • How do we eliminate hunger, or food scarcity, in our community? How can local food concepts
    and actions be leveraged? What habitat changes will improve food availability, abundance,
    affordability?

Donors to the Foundation expect good stewardship of their gifts. When identifying big impact,
collaborative projects, these questions might bring some perspective: If you donated $50,000 at one
time, what would you expect to happen with that money? The needs of our community are great; which
groups can contribute, how can we work together to get more done, to have a greater impact?

We want to encourage and support collaborative efforts that address real and pressing needs in the
community. These efforts require innovation, problem solving, lasting and positive community impact,
and active broader community participation toward intended outcomes that can be seen, measured,
felt, and observed. All of this must be accomplished by groups that come together to make change that
likely would not happen when working and thinking separately.

Collaborative Grant Proposal Requirements

The Yellow Springs Community Foundation is encouraging and supporting collaborative efforts that
address real and pressing needs in the community. These efforts require innovation, problem solving,
lasting and positive community impact, and active community participation toward intended outcomes
that can be seen, measured, felt, and observed. All of this must be accomplished by groups that come
together to make change that likely would not happen when working and thinking separately.

Here is the Foundation’s simple definition of collaboration: Together we can do more. We are looking
for efforts that address the whole line: Together. We. Can Do. More.

Prior to writing a grant request, the Foundation would like to review a grant proposal, which will provide
some high-level information about a potential project for which grant funds will be needed. Below is
some information about the grant proposal requirements and process.

Minimum requirements of proposal (maximum 2 pages):

  1. Define the problem and how you would approach addressing or resolving it
    b. Project’s major impact on the community
    c. The organizations collaborating on this (minimum 3), and their major roles in this project
    d. Role and learning objectives of Miller Fellows
    e. Outline all potential phases of the project, even if funding as currently known cannot cover them all
    f. How you would leverage what’s already available (resources, published research, what other
    communities have tried, materials) instead of reinventing

Here are some key questions that the Foundation would like addressed in any new proposals:

  1. What is something major and impactful in our community that could not be addressed without a
    collaborative endeavor and a larger investment of money and resources?
    2. What is the problem for which you are proposing a solution?
    3. What’s the compelling reason to address this problem?
    4. What actions will be necessary to address the problem?
    5. What are the expected outcomes, results, and changes that will benefit the community?
    6. Who specifically will benefit (demographics of those directly and indirectly benefitting; how many)?
    7. Which organizations are key to this effort, and why?
    8. How will this effort be truly collaborative?
    9. How will the collaborative effort improve the solution and community impact?
    10. What role and responsibility does each organization have in the project?
    11. How will the funds be split and, if not equally, why not?
    12. How will each organization hold equal power in the project and its process?
    13. How will Student Miller Fellows and other students be critical to the project?
    14. What learning and development will the students likely obtain?
    15. What are the high-level details: the plan, budget, and milestones or phases of the project?

There is no requirement that any specific organization be included in a collaborative project. Stemming
from dialogue about a problem and how to address it, the organizations who are key to the project are
expected to emerge.

 

Next steps:

  1. Groups will come together to engage in dialogue about real problems to solve, together. Be brave
    and go deeper: The proposal is for something organizations are not already doing.
    2. Create an overview of your proposal first, before writing for grant funds. The overview should:
    a. Define the problem and how you would approach addressing or resolving it.
    b. Outline all potential phases of the project, even if funding as currently known cannot cover
    them all.
    c. Leverage what’s already available (resources, published research, what other communities
    have tried, materials) instead of reinventing.
    d. Engage the Encore Fellows as facilitators as you develop the collaboration opportunities and
    before submitting (check for overlap and whether the proposal addresses proposal criteria
    sufficiently; provide suggestions for strengthening or limiting proposal; consider how many
    different areas of focus can operate in the community at one time).
    e. Submit the overview of your proposal under grant application online at www.yscf.org
    3. Proposal overview will be reviewed by GRC and, if suitable to move forward, the proposers will be
    asked to write a full grant request. There is no timeline to submit; the funds are set aside.
    4. Grant request will be reviewed by GRC per collaborative grant requirements (new). These will be
    provided to grant writers.
    5. GRC will make recommendation to Foundation board regarding the grant request.
    6. Foundation board will vote to fund, not fund, or partially fund the grant request.
    7. Work per the grant request will commence, with payment schedule and other terms provided in
    grant acceptance agreement.
    8. Some great work will happen and the community will benefit from large-scale problem solving and
    actions to resolve.
    9. Outcomes of the project will be presented to the Foundation and the community, as outlined in
    the grant proposal and grant acceptance agreement, in the form of a written report that may also
    include photographs, video, and other media as appropriate.

Please use the online form to submit your application.