Small Capacity Grants –> Large Impact


In the most recent blog, Megan MacDavey explained how the Small Grants Program will now fit into the Foundation’s “Strengthening Partner Capacity” portfolio. This was done in a continuing effort to streamline our grantmaking. Please refer to Megan’s blog for more information on this change. Today, I really want to focus on the impact that we have seen through small capacity grants. The Foundation has provided small capacity grants since 2007. These grants have served as great way for the Foundation to learn about new organizations and develop or deepen relationships with community partners. Small capacity grants provide short-term support for projects that fall outside of our Program & Services portfolio.

Since 2012, the Foundation has made 151 small capacity awards totaling $1.7 million. That works out to an average award of approximately $11,000. Some of the requests that we typically receive include professional development, strategic planning, needs assessments, equipment, and smaller-scale capital projects. During a September trip to Massachusetts, I started to think about the impact of the small capacity grants. I had several conversations with organizations that spoke about how these grants were a key piece in helping them leverage resources. They each shared with me how instrumental the small capacity grants were in helping them think differently about how they provide services to clients and families. Furthermore, this blog will discuss what two organizations were able to achieve with their small capacity grants.

The first organization that I will focus on is Lynn Shelter Association (LSA). LSA serves 1,000 individuals and families in Lynn, Massachusetts through its shelter supportive services, case management, and housing solutions. In 2017, LSA was awarded a small capacity grant for strategic planning. The timing of this request coincided with a period of organizational growth and new leadership. LSA’s board president had been in her role less than two years and executive director Mark Evans had been on the job for only four months. LSA saw this as the perfect opportunity to work with a consultant on a strategic roadmap to chart a clear course for the organization. To read the rest of the blog post, click here.

Kelly GauleComment