Change Is Coming at Impact Austin
We have set a very high standard for grant making, and it is our intent to continue. Over the past few years, many of our members and grant recipients (Community Partners) have brought to our attention the need to re-examine the way we award our grants to ensure we are providing the right kind of funding to strengthen and sustain our Community Partners.
As part of our strategic plan, we decided to take a closer look at Impact Austin's grant making. The Board of Directors asked our founder, Rebecca Powers, to lead a Grants Innovation Committee by bringing together a cross-section of Impact Austin members, non-profit and philanthropic organizations to explore innovative options that would add to the member experience and align with our mission, vision, and values. Their extensive research concluded the following:
Central Texas nonprofits exhibit clear needs for three categories of grants: 1) smaller, easily-managed programmatic grants for emerging nonprofits; 2) partially unrestricted grants for nonprofits that have specific, non-program needs; and 3) large operating grants for established organizations that serve critical needs.
Impact Austin members have developed an impressive level of sophistication and are open to refreshing our process.
Based on these recommendations, we are excited to announce that we will be adding a sixth Pilot Test grant to our 2015 grant cycle. This new grant will be referred to as a Catalyst Grant and will provide a one-time infusion of partially unrestricted funding for the purpose of strengthening and growing a nonprofit organization. In order to qualify for this grant, nonprofit organizations must have reached finalist status through Impact Austin's grant review process over the past 11 years.
Our members involved with Grants Innovation also recommended to the Impact Austin Board that this new Catalyst Grant be offered for the amount of $50,000. The remainder of the funds contributed by members for our 2015 grant year will be divided equally across our five focus areas for programmatic grant funding. For example, for our annual attainment of 500 members which equals $500,000 in pooled money for grants, we will provide five $90,000 programmatic grants in each of our five focus areas (culture, education, environment, family and health and wellness) and one $50,000 Catalyst Grant.
Following the awarding of our first Catalyst Grant, we will carefully assess the results and make adjustments as needed to continue this type of grant in our future grant cycles.
In the coming weeks, we will be sharing more information about the development of this new grant funding option at Impact Austin. Please look for posts on Impact Austin's blog and in newsletters that we send directly to members. In the meantime, don't hesitate to contact us with your questions or comments.