Since its inception in 1973, the Greater Toledo Community Foundation (GTCF) has provided approximately $290 million in funding to nonprofit organizations in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, making it the fourth largest foundation in the state. In the past year alone, the GTCF has awarded $21 million to approximately one-third of all nonprofits in the Toledo region.
The Equity and Access Initiative
As they prepare to enter their 50th anniversary, GTCF invites local nonprofits to apply for the third grantmaking round of the Equity & Access Initiative. The Initiative, created in 2020, is built around four focus areas— advocacy, economic development, employment and non-profit capacity. Priority is given to non-profit proposals that include one or more of the following elements: support for collaboration between organizations, formation of grassroots associations and/or formation of minority-led non-profit associations.
“The Foundation really seeks to improve the quality of life. So with equity and access [Initiative] All of this is [doing] adds another layer, shining a light on how to address and remove barriers for marginalized communities,” said Artisha Lawson, the foundation’s program officer overseeing the initiative.
“We really wanted to be intentional about reaching out to organizations that have never applied, never considered applying, or never thought they were eligible for funding, especially minority-led organizations, but also organizations that serve minority communities,” Lawson said.
Following several internal conversations, the Initiative’s nine-person advisory committee was formed.
“We wanted to look beyond our own four walls and identify people who we knew were well connected. People who we thought would have access to people we don’t have access to, or groups and committees we don’t have access to,” said Pariss Coleman, GTCF Board Member and President of the Initiative. “People who would be open and honest in their evaluation of our work.”
“We would like to dispel the myth that nonprofits, or 501(c)(3)s, are not eligible for foundation funding,” Coleman said. “On the contrary, we would really like to help them position themselves for short-term funding with Equity & Access and long-term with the foundation.”
Eight local nonprofits were recently approved for grant funding at the GTCF board meeting in March, totaling $164,630. Of these eight:
The center of beliefa non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and funding local youth sports, received $15,000 to cover the cost of training and hiring referees in an effort to increase sports opportunities for young people.
Upper generationsthat provides youth development and revitalization in Lucas County, received $30,000 to support youth-focused work experience opportunities in conjunction with the CityPark League Resource Group.
Toledo Risk Development Organization, jump startwhich helps entrepreneurs create and grow businesses, received $50,000 to raise capital for minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in conjunction with the Institute of Economic and Community Development, Inc.
“It’s the biggest effort I’ve ever seen to try to reach everyone. To let them know we’re here. Come talk to us. If they don’t qualify for an Equity & Access Initiative grant, there are other grants we can help them find out about,” said GTCF Chief Marketing Officer Joanne Olnhausen.
How to register
The committee is dedicated to awarding an additional $300,000 over the next three years to fund new and existing projects from nonprofit organizations that align with the purpose of the grant.
After the application period, the board will engage in additional research and site visits “not out of disbelief or critical in nature, but to see what kind of work they are doing, to explore their targets and targeted outcomes,” said said Coleman.
“The intent of this fund is that we want the impact to be meaningful, so having these multiple conversations, part site visits, part research is also a way for them to learn more about the foundation” , adds Lawson.
Organizations are encouraged to read the grant guidelines and apply for the GTCF initiative Web page. The deadline to apply is July 2.