Capacity Building Grant

Grants to Frederick County, Maryland Nonprofits to
Hire Consultants for Capacity Building Assistance

GrantWatch ID#: 176694
Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Ausherman Family Foundation (AFF)


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Grants ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 to Frederick County, Maryland nonprofit organizations to engage consulting services to improve organizational leadership and management. The purpose of this program is to provide capacity building support so that local nonprofits may achieve new levels of effectiveness.

Capacity Building Grants helps organizations find resources (consultants) and build systems needed to achieve their goals. An organization must have in place strong leadership, both staff and Board members, as well as the financial ability to move forward with the consultants' recommendations.

Grants may be awarded to:

-Planning activities: e.g., organizational assessments, strategic planning, fund raising assessment and development, program evaluations, communications/ marketing, or business planning.

-Board and leadership development: may include activities such as leadership training, defining the role of the board, strengthening governance, assistance with an executive transition, succession and search process.

-Strategic Relationships: providing technical assistance / consultant support to help two or more organizations work through collaboration and strategic restructuring; positioning for merger or affiliation; or business planning for social enterprise.

-Internal operations: improvements to financial management, internal controls and chart of accounts, human resource or volunteer management; or facility planning.

-Technology Improvements: IT capacity through upgrades to hardware and software, networking, websites, and staff training to optimize the use of technology.

The grant award will pay for the grant recipient to hire a qualified consultant to facilitate the organization’s progress in achieving the goals set forth in the grant proposal.

Areas of Interest Defined:

The Ausherman Family Foundation awards grants to nonprofit organizations that fit into the following defined Areas of Interest, listed below in order of funding preference.

Children, Youth, and Families
Organizations or programs that provide enrichment and increased opportunity to children and youth as well as organizations or programs that strengthen families. Programs and activities included are scouting, mentorships, youth leadership, youth community service clubs and job training, parent engagement, education, college access, academic enrichment, and arts activities.

Human Services
Programs and services that provide basic welfare to help individuals, families, and communities to prevent, alleviate, or better cope with crisis, change, and stress. Human Services include the following sub-categories: crime and delinquency prevention, legal services, employment/jobs, food, housing/shelter, and women’s issues.

All treatment and rehabilitative programs relating to physical and mental health including but not limited to the following sub-categories: Hospitals and primary care facilities, mental health and crisis intervention, diseases, disorders and related medical disciplines, nutrition, and dental care.

Institutions of higher education that provide academic education are considered. Also included are libraries and organizations providing continuing/supplemental education outside of the formal school system such as English-as-a-second-language programs, literacy, and reading programs for children and adults. Excluded are local public, private, and charter schools offering K through 12th grade education.

Arts and Culture
Organizations or activities that promote enjoyment or understanding of the visual, performing, folk, or media arts, communication organizations (film, video, publishing, journalism, radio, television), and organizations or activities that promote the appreciation or understanding of historical events. Included are services to artists, performers, entertainers, or writers, art and performing art schools, centers, studios, and historical societies and museums.

Public/Society Benefit
Organizations or programs that contribute to the public good and benefit society including, but not limited to, the following sub-categories: Beautifying public spaces, civic organizations and institutions, community/neighborhood development and improvement, and philanthropy, voluntarism, and grant-making foundations.

Further Guidelines:

-There must be evidence the grant will contribute to long-term organizational effectiveness rather than serving a short-term, band-aid solution.

-The capacity and willingness of the organization to implement recommendations resulting from management assistance is essential.

-The proposal submitted should demonstrate an ability to limit the request to an Area of Interest of the Ausherman Family Foundation as noted above.

-Organizations should have the desire and leadership to cover any costs associated with fulfilling the consultant’s recommendations.

-Organizations should have the financial ability to cover any costs associated with fulfilling the consultant’s recommendations.

Grant awards range from $2,500 to $25,000.

Applicants have nine months to complete the scope of work outlined in the grant request.

Organizations that meet the eligibility criteria for Ausherman Family Foundation grants will:

-Have a clearly defined mission that falls into one of Foundation’s Areas of Interest
-Exhibit readiness and ability to expand its budget and operations
-Have a healthy operating budget
-Have committed staff members who are open to change and believe that capacity building will further the agency’s mission
-Resolve to commit the time and resources to capacity building
-Have a Board of Directors that sees the need for training/program enhancement
-Have tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code
-Be located in Frederick County, Maryland.

The Ausherman Family Foundation does not fund the following:

-Athletics, leisure, recreation
-Areas considered government responsibility
-Charter schools
-Private schools (the Foundation does offer funding for schools focused on higher education)
-Frederick County Public Schools
-Public safety, disaster preparedness, and relief
-Political support
-Grant requests less than $2,500
-Animals or animal organizations
-Christian Missions
-International Projects

It is not appropriate to apply for a Capacity Building Grant if:

-The board and staff do not agree outside management assistance is needed.
-The need is not within the areas of executive and board leadership, planning and assessment, or financial management.
-Additional permanent staff member(s) are needed to resolve a management problem.
-The organization is seeking financial support for a fundraising campaign.
-The need is to finance the cost of an audit.
-The amount of funding needed is less than $2,500.

Note: Operational expenses are not funded under the Capacity Building Program Guidelines. See the general grants program for information about awards to fund operational expenses.

Capacity Building Grants may be awarded with or without a challenge matching fund component. Please review the information below to determine if your request fits the Foundation’s grant criteria.

Capacity Building Grants that include a challenge to raise matching funds may be awarded to address any of the issues mentioned above. This grant award requires that matching funds be raised before Foundation funds are disbursed.

Challenge grants that require the raising of matching funds are one way the Foundation leads others to give. In particular, the goal of a challenge matching grant is to encourage board members and staff to support the organization and to tease out new donors and new contributions to the organization.

The Foundation’s Trustees may allow limited time in which the grant recipient organization can raise matching funds. The Foundation’s Trustees may also limit the funding pool; that is, in-kind, pledges, and government funding cannot count as matching funds. Donations from other Foundations may not be allowed as matching funds.

The Trustees set the matching funds parameters. Every grant award may have different parameters. Matching fund parameters are detailed in the Grants Covenant to which each grant recipient must agree.

Ausherman Family Foundation staff members will provide a list of consultants upon request. Grant seekers must vet at least three potential consultants before choosing one. Consultants do not have to be from the Foundation’s list. Once the organization chooses a consultant, AFF requests that they explain why the consultant was the best choice.

Phase I Letters of Inquiry are due by January 15 and July 15. Phase II timelines are determined once an organization successfully completes the Phase I cycle.

Organizations successfully completing Phase I will be visited by the Foundation’s staff, perhaps accompanied by a Foundation Trustee.

Further instructions on completing a formal proposal, which is Phase II of the process, will be provided after the site visit should the Trustees decide to move forward with the formal grant process.

You may preview the LOI here:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

Leigh Adams, Director

See the full text of this grant

USA: Maryland: Frederick County

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