January 22, 2018
Over eighty representatives from nearly sixty local charitable organizations attended a capacity building grants workshop on January 17 at the Southpointe Golf Club. The workshop was hosted by the Washington County Community Foundation (WCCF) to help local charities learn more about the new grants initiative from the WCCF’s Community CARE Fund (CCF).
With this initiative, the objective is to help strengthen the infrastructure, management and governance of local charities, through grants to support the charity itself. Any activity that increases the charity’s operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity will be considered. CCF capacity building grants will normally range from $25,000 to $50,000, and may be paid over a period of years. Up to $1,000,000 will be issued in CCF capacity building grants during this initiative.
“Unlike program grants which might only continue with continued grant funding, capacity building grants will likely produce better long-term results, strengthening the charity’s ability to fulfill its mission over time, and enhancing the charity’s ability to have a positive impact on individuals and our community,” remarked Betsie Trew, WCCF President & CEO. “Throughout the years, many individuals and institutions have provided gifts to the Community Foundation that served to increase our capacity. We are very pleased to be in a position to pay those gifts forward by providing capacity building grants to other charitable organizations in our community.”
Workshop attendees were encouraged to complete an Organizational Self Assessment Tool (OSAT) which includes nine dimensions: Vision and Planning, Evaluation, Fundraising and Resources, Budgeting Accounting and Reporting, The Board, Organizational Leadership, Staffing, Technology and Infrastructure, and Community Engagement. The OSAT is designed to assist charities in identifying potential capacity building projects that could have the greatest impact for their organization.
Trew also encouraged organizations who do not already have an audit to consider submitting a capacity building grant request to initiate an audit. “An independent audit is a necessary tool for effective nonprofit management. It can help identify both financial strengths and weaknesses for the charity. An audit is also a development tool as many public and private funders will not even consider supporting an organization that does not have an annual independent audit,” stated Trew.
Only 501(c)(3) charities which are not classified as private charities under section 509(a) of the tax code, and which provide services in Washington County, are eligible to receive a CCF capacity building grant. Charities who were unable to attend the workshop can find additional information including workshop handouts, application information, and the Organizational Self Assessment Tool on the Foundation’s website at www.wccf.net.
A 501(c)(3) charitable corporation, the Washington County Community Foundation began operations in December of 1995 and ended that year with a mere $5,000 in assets. Today the WCCF manages more than $35,000,000 in assets and is the largest publicly-supported grant-making foundation headquartered in Washington County. It maintains offices in the historic Samuel T. Brownlee House in Eighty Four, PA.