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Strengthening Partners - Technology Initiative - Technology Planning Grants and Technology Implementation Grants

Grants to New York and Massachusetts Nonprofits and
Schools for Technology Projects to Serve Youth with Disabilities

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation

Deadline Date:

08/22/18 11:59 PM Receipt


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Grants to Massachusetts and New York nonprofit organizations and schools for technology projects to better serve children and youth with intellectual disabilities, mental illness, and other disorders. The deadline to register in the online grants portal is January 10. This program assists qualifying organizations in acquiring the equipment and expertise to implement a technology strategy.

In broad terms, the Foundation’s Strengthening Partners portfolio supports organizational capacity building activities. The Foundation recognizes the importance of strong organizational infrastructure to delivering high-quality programming and promoting organizational sustainability.

The Tower Foundation supports programs intended to improve the lives of young people age zero to 26 affected by intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, mental illness, and/or substance use disorders as defined here:

An Intellectual disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18. Intellectual functioning refers to general mental capacity, such as learning, reasoning, and problem solving.

Adaptive behavior comprises three skill types:
-Conceptual skills (e.g., language and literacy; money; time; number concepts; self-direction)
-Social skills (e.g., interpersonal skills, social responsibility; self-esteem, gullibility, naïveté, social problem-solving; ability to follow rules/obey laws and avoid being victimized)
-Practical skills (e.g., personal care, occupational skills; healthcare; travel/transportation; schedules/routines; safety use of money use of telephone.
(American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 2011)

Learning disabilities are neurological disorders affecting the brain's ability to receive, process, store, and respond to information. These constitute disorders in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations. These disorders do not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor abilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, of traumatic brain injury, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

Mental illness includes medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically and functionally significant impairment, such as health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Technology Initiative:

The Technology Initiative assists not-for-profit agencies in obtaining the technical expertise and equipment required to develop and implement a strategic technology plan. The Technology Initiative focuses exclusively on “back office” technology (i.e., technology used by staff) rather than on technology used by clients (e.g., computer labs).

This initiative comprises two types of grants:

-Technology Planning Grants provide funding to not-for-profit agencies to hire a technology consultant to conduct a technology inventory and needs assessment; and to develop a two- or three-year technology plan that is explicitly aligned with the agency’s strategic or business plan.

-Technology Implementation Grants provide funding for not-for-profit agencies wishing to implement an existing technology plan that is explicitly aligned with an existing strategic/business plan.

Technology Planning Grant - Eligible Costs:

The Tower Foundation will provide funds for costs associated with hiring an outside technology consultant to assist with this project. Grant funds will be used for outside consultants to:
-Conduct a comprehensive hardware and software inventory;
-Develop a technology needs assessment; and
-Produce a technology plan with a one-to-three year time line that makes explicit reference to the
organization’s strategic or business plan.

Technology Implementation Grant - Eligible Costs:

The Tower Foundation will provide grants for costs associated with purchasing equipment, software, training, and services necessary for implementing the agency’s technology plan.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180806

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Technology Planning Grants provide up to $50,000.

Technology Implementation Grants provide up to $125,000.

Term of Contract:

Technology Implementation Grants may be multi-year.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Organizations located in and currently providing services to one or more of the populations the Tower Foundation serves (see below) within the following regions are eligible to apply for Tower Foundation grants:

-Barnstable County
-Dukes County
-Essex County
-Nantucket County

New York:
-Erie County
-Niagara County

Additionally, applicants must be:
-Not-for-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3) designation that are not private foundations, or
-Not-for-profit public benefit corporations, or
-Public or diocesan school districts, or
-Private or charter schools.

Eligibility Note: School districts and colleges/universities are not eligible for Technology Initiative grants.

The Foundation does not fund programs or projects that:
-Provide private benefits for any grant recipient or affiliated person,
Attempt to influence legislation or intervene in any political campaign,
-Contribute to capital campaigns
-Consist of scholarships, services, or treatment for specific individuals,
-Consist largely of general operating support.

Technology Planning Grants do not cover costs associated with:
-Staff time spent working on technology planning or implementation
-Developing an agency’s strategic plan
-Purchasing technology equipment, software, licenses, or maintenance
-Technology planning related to client-facing technology (e.g., computer labs).

Technology Implementation Grants do not cover costs associated with:
-Staff time spent working on technology planning or implementation
-Developing an agency’s strategic plan
-Developing a technology plan
-Developing custom software applications or web-based information portals
Advanced information technology training (e.g., certifications)
-Software licensing or subscriptions to cloud-based services beyond the first year of implementation
-Service/maintenance contracts beyond the first year of implementation

Pre-Application Information:

The anticipated allocation for the Technology Initiative is $525,000 for planning and implementation grants combined. Again, these funds will be divided evenly across the three grant cycles (approximately $175,000 per cycle).

Organizations funded through the Technology Implementation initiative are required to provide a dollar-for-dollar cash match for the Tower Foundation’s award. The match is applied on a line-by-line basis, so the Foundation and grantee split all costs evenly. Previous technology expenditures and in-kind contributions do not satisfy the cash match requirement.

Matching funds may be obtained through any source of unrestricted funds (e.g., operating funds, unrestricted reserves) or awards designated for the technology implementation project specifically. For multi-year awards, funds will be disbursed each year, not as a single lump sum.

The first step in applying for a Technology Planning or Implementation grant is to submit a preliminary request via the Foundation’s online portal. Once received, the Foundation will review each submission to determine whether to invite a more detailed proposal. Foundation staff may ask some applicants to provide additional information by way of a brief phone call.

To be considered for an award, preliminary grant requests must be received by 11:59 PM on the stated deadline.

Applicants will be notified by email within three weeks of submitting their preliminary grant request as to whether the Foundation will invite a full proposal. Invited applicants will then work with Foundation staff over the next six to eight weeks to develop a full proposal.

Applicants Create Grant Portal Accounts: 1/10
Preliminary Technology Grant Requests: 1/17
Technology Proposal Invitations Sent: 2/7
Technology Proposal Decisions Sent: 4/11

Applicants Create Grant Portal Accounts: 5/2
Preliminary Technology Grant Requests: 5/9
Technology Proposal Invitations Sent: 5/30
Technology Proposal Decisions Sent: 8/1

Applicants Create Grant Portal Accounts: 8/5
-Preliminary Technology Grant Requests: 8/22
-Technology Proposal Invitations Sent: 9/12
-Small Grants Program Decisions Sent: 10/5
-Technology Proposal Decisions Sent: 11/14

View the grant information webinar recording here:

Mental Health Program Area:

Substance Use Disorders Program Area:

Intellectual Disabilities Program Area:

Learning Disabilities Program Area:

Foundation Mission and Values:

Contact Information:

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

All grant requests must be submitted through the Foundation’s online portal:

Chuck Colston, Program Officer
716-689-0370 x206

Don Matteson, Chief Program Officer

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts: Barnstable, Dukes, Essex, and Nantucket Counties;   New York: Erie and Niagara Counties