In 1994, to honor Dr. King's legacy, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service. Taking place on the third Monday each January, it is the first and only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.” Aided by the federal agency the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), each year Americans give back to their communities as a way to advance the causes Dr. King devoted his life to: equality, social justice, and economic opportunity for everyone. The CNCS provides grants and resources to organizations interested in making a difference on the MLK National Day of Service.Read More
This is the first installment of a three-part series on grant funding in Arkansas. Part 1 focuses on charitable giving in Arkansas. Part 2 will discuss national foundations and federal programs of interest to Arkansas nonprofit organizations and state and local governments. Part 3 will outline the five things all entities must do to garner external grant funding for their programs and operations.
The U.S. economic recovery has been slower than a snail’s pace, and news about foundation giving over the past year hasn't exactly been the most uplifting news. What seems to be good news—the Foundation Center’s June 2012 report states that “giving by the nation’s more than 76,600 foundations totaled $46.9 billion last year, up 2.2 percent—is overshadowed by the fact that "after accounting for inflation, foundation giving was down slightly from the prior year.” It reminds me of jobs reports.
Cultivating relationships with private foundations takes time. According to eCivis’ Vice President of Grants Professional Services Dr. Bev Browning, “At least six months or more of introductory emails, telephone conversations, face-to-face meetings, invitations to public events, and more need to happen” before an applicant approaches a private foundation. That kind of effort can seem like a disincentive for local government grant writers given that they already have tried and true grant opportunities to pursue at the state and federal level (not to mention that grant writers often wear several hats, regardless of job title).