GUIDANCE ON OUR GRANTMAKING PROCESS
Empowered residents creating a healthy, vibrant and economically stable Mahoning Valley with equal
opportunity for all.
To provide a combination of financial, technical and training support across a limited number of high-priority issues
with a focus on achieving resident engagement, organizational excellence and networks for collective impact.
OUR ISSUE PRIORITIES:
We target our financial and technical support to nonprofit organizations and associations, as well as public sector
and academic institutions, working in the following practice and policy domains:
• Early Childhood – Support of organizations and programs working to improve quality, standards, policies, practices and guidelines for services targeting 0-5 year-olds in the Mahoning Valley.
• Educational Opportunity – Support of nonprofit organizations, schools and school districts providing low-income youth in distressed, high-need communities with quality educational opportunities that encourage completion, college access and academic success. We will focus our funding on Youngstown and Warren schools.
• Economic Opportunity – Support of nonprofit organizations, programs, services and efforts that increase wealth of low-income populations through access to capital and investment, credit, quality jobs, job training and job placement – while building the community capacity for investment resource. Our core interest will be the inclusion of low-income populations in existing and new economic opportunities for the Mahoning Valley.
• Community Revitalization – Support of nonprofit organizations, programs, services and efforts that are community-driven and intended to develop and revitalize the Valley. Our core focus will be on Youngstown and Warren activities that engage residents and build their leadership capacity to improve the physical landscape.
• Public and Civic Sector Leadership – Support of nonprofit organizations, government entities and academic institutions working to improve the quality of leadership and decision-making among staff, elected and appointed officials and members of boards and commissions in city, township and county governments in the Mahoning Valley.
OUR GRANTMAKING PROCESS AND PRIORITY OUTCOMES:
The Raymond John Wean Foundation believes that a healthy community is one in which residents are engaged, civic organizations are operating at a level of excellence and there are strong networks within the community that form alliances around common interests and ambitions. To that end, within our five issue priorities as described above, we provide grants and technical support that explicitly enables organizations to accomplish at least one of the following:
1. Engage residents as leaders in critical community issues and organizations
2. Achieve organizational excellence in our governance, strategy, impact or evaluation
3. Strengthen our connections to other organizations to create collective effort and impact
Neighborhood SUCCESS and Leadership Program:
Because the Foundation believes in the power of engaged residents, we have dedicated a pool of resources – both financial and technical – to our Neighborhood SUCCESS and Leadership Program which seeks to encourage, cultivate and support resident engagement and leadership development. Neighborhood SUCCESS and Leadership Program grants are limited to efforts that fall within our five issue priorities. The Program has its own application process which can be found at http://www.rjweanfdn.org/NeighborhoodSuccess.aspx.
Organizational Excellence Program:
Because the Foundation believes that high performing organizations are better able to deliver results, we will provide funding to enable organizations working on one or more of our issue priorities to assess their effectiveness, set priorities and implement improvements in operations, governance, strategy and leadership: Please note that while we will entertain proposals in this area at this time, we are in the process of rethinking how best to support organizational excellence. As we learn more, we will refine our approach and model the most effective methods available.
Networking for Impact Program:
Because the Foundation believes that the community as a whole is best served when we have collective effort on issues of concern, the Foundation will support the cultivation of networks among organizations (public, private and nonprofit) working together on one of our issue priorities. This is an area of investment where the Foundation will assume considerable leadership in creating new platforms for collective effort on our issue priorities where they are currently either weak or non-existent.
GRANT APPLICATION ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA AND PROCESS
Please note, in order to be eligible for support from The Raymond John Wean Foundation – including the Neighborhood SUCCESS and Leadership Program - you must be BOTH working in one or more of our five issue priorities and seeking to accomplish at least one of our three priority outcomes.
To be eligible for support, an organization must be:
• Tax-exempt or operate under the fiscal sponsorship of a tax-exempt nonprofit, including schools, churches and public organizations;
• Working within one or more of our five issue priorities AND proposing to achieve at least one of our priority outcomes;
• Primarily serving the people of the Mahoning Valley (on a case-by-case basis, the Foundation may consider support for regional, statewide or national public policy efforts that are otherwise aligned with our issue priorities and outcomes); and
• Operated and organized so that it does not discriminate in the hiring of staff or provision of services on the basis of race, religion, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability.
If on the basis of a careful review of our issue priorities and outcomes you believe that your organization is a strong candidate for financial or technical support, we ask that you submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) as the initial outline of your proposed ideas and work. The Foundation utilizes the LOI process to learn more about proposed efforts and assist in determining which organizations will be invited to submit a full proposal. We will respond to your LOI within two weeks of submission.
Full proposals are accepted by invitation ONLY. However, you should NOT interpret a request for a proposal as an indicator of likely support.
The Foundation cannot consider grants to individuals and generally will not consider grants for:
· Individual scholarships or grants, even if through an otherwise qualified organization
· Sectarian religious activity
· Endowment funds
· Film or video production
· Debt reduction
· Foreign operations or expenditures
· National fund-raising campaigns or mass mailing campaigns
· Membership in civic organizations or trade associations
· Veterans’ organizations or fraternal societies
· Annual support to local or national offices of organizations whose stated purpose is to combat a particular disease or family of diseases
· Funds for sponsorships for fundraising events, award events, banquets, golf-outings, purchases of event tickets, etc.
· Organizations that do not provide services to Ohio's Mahoning Valley
GRANT APPLICATION DEADLINES
THE CHALLENGES WE FACE
While we are deeply committed to supporting good programs and organizations within the community, under the best of circumstances, our resources are more limited than the needs that exist. We consistently receive more requests for financial support than we are able to fulfill. And like others across the nation, in recent years we have suffered financial setbacks associated with the economic downturn.
These challenges make it necessary for the Foundation to adhere to a more constrained budget. In some cases, this will require us to diminish our level of support to existing grantees, and it may also limit our ability to make new grant commitments going forward.
On a brighter note and with confidence that the economy will continue to improve over time, we have engaged in a strategy and impact review process over the last year that has resulted in a sharpened vision, a well-articulated theory of philanthropy and a clear focus for our work with issue priorities and outcomes. We were also able during this period to complete the renovation of our new building – and by so doing, provide the community with high quality meeting and office space for years to come. As always, we stand with our community of civic and nonprofit organizations and leaders as partners in our shared efforts to improve the quality of life for all Mahoning Valley residents.
Letter of Inquiry