Have you ever wished you had the extra funds to help build capacity at your non-profit? Have you wanted to attend a conference or enroll in a professional training program that would help your organization develop better programs? Maybe you have always wanted an outside expert to come in to review your operations to see how you could run more efficiently and effectively or you’ve wished you were able to leverage technology better. For many non-profit leaders, these types of initiatives could lead to long-term sustainability but funds are rarely available for them. Few funders like to support capacity building initiatives yet in order to achieve the outcomes that many funders are seeking, you need to the resources to do just that.
We’re excited to announce a unique a grant opportunity from Berkshire Bank Foundation to help. We are inviting short, concise proposals for our Xtraordinary Day Grant RFP that seek to address non-profit capacity by providing funds for a variety of activities that will improve your organization’s performance and impact. If selected, your organization will be eligible for one of four grants of up to $5,000.
WHAT IS CAPACITY BUILDING?
Capacity Building is that which is needed to bring a nonprofit to the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity. Capacity building is not just about the capacity of a nonprofit today but about the organization’s ability to deliver on its mission into the future.
CAPACITY BUILDING EXAMPLES
- Developing a communications strategy
- Improving volunteer recruitment
- Improving Corporate Partnerships
- Developing & engaging your board
- Ensuring smooth leadership succession
- Updating your technology
- Improving programmatic design to achieve outcomes
- Professional development
- Conference attendance
To be considered for this grant opportunity, organizations must:
- Be recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Organizations that are not 501©3 are not eligible
- Submit a completed Foundation Xtraordinary Day RFP Grant Application through our online system
- Be located in or primarily provide service in one of the following geographic counties:
- Berkshire County, MA
- Hampden County, MA
- Hampshire County, MA
- Franklin County, MA
- Worcester County, MA
- Middlesex County, MA
- Essex County, MA
- Suffolk County, MA
- Norfolk County, MA
- Albany County, NY
- Schenectady County, NY
- Saratoga County, NY
- Washington County, NY
- Columbia County, NY
- Warren County, NY
- Rensselaer County, NY
- Fulton County, NY
- Montgomery County, NY
- Onondaga County, NY
- Oneida County, NY
- Herkimer County, NY
- Hartford County, CT
- Tolland County, CT
- Bennington County, VT
- Rutland County, VT
- Windsor County, VT
- Mercer County, NJ
- Middlesex County, NJ
- Bucks County, PA
- Montgomery County, PA
In addition, the following types of organizations are not eligible for support:
- Fraternal, labor and political organizations, including fraternal orders of police and firefighters
- Lobbying groups
- Religious organizations
- Private foundations
- Intermediary organizations that raise and distribute funds in their own name
*Please note: Applying for this grant does not preclude you from applying for other grant opportunities with Berkshire Bank Foundation. If you are selected as one of the recipients of this grant you may still be eligible to apply for funding support through the Foundation’s other grant programs.*
Online submissions are due by April 30, 2017. The online application consists of:
- Organization Background Information: Name, Address, Tax ID and mission statement
- Organization Contact Information: Full contact information for the request primary contact as well as the organization’s CEO
- Request Information: Request amount, open response field that asks applicants to answer the questions described below as well as basic information about the individuals you serve
In the space provided in the online application, organizations should answer the following questions in 500 words or less:
- What are your organizations biggest capacity/operational challenges? How will this grant help address those challenges?
- Does the total cost of the project exceed $5,000? If so, what is your plan for securing full funding or how will partial funding impact the initiative?
- How will funds be used?
- How will this impact your organization?
- How will this impact the broader community?
All submissions will be reviewed by a group of Berkshire Bank employee volunteers as part of our Xtraordinary Day of Service on June 7, 2017. Employee volunteers will evaluate each submission using an electronic scoring system. Each submission will be reviewed a minimum of three times with the average of the scores being tallied as the final score. The organizations with the highest score(s) will receive funding. When evaluating submissions, reviewers will be ranking responses based on the questions outlined above.
Scores will be tabulated and decisions made on June 7, 2017. All applicants will be notified of funding decisions on or before June 30, 2017. Odds of receiving funding are dependent on number of proposals received. If selected as a recipient, the organization will be required to submit a final report detailing the outcome of the grant.