Ever wonder how the Foundation decides which grants to award or how the granting process works? Well, the first thing to know is that we have four granting programs – our world-famous scholarship program that you probably already know about, our designated funds granting program, our Classroom Teacher Wish grants, and finally, our big workhorse, the Community Grants program.
The Community Grants program supports projects that will benefit and improve the Fort Atkinson community. These grants generally come from our seven Field of Interest (FOI) Funds or our General Fund if the project does not fall neatly into one of our FOI funds. Grants can be big (think million-dollar museum or library upgrades!) or small (sheet music for the City band).
Grant applicants must be either a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization or a person who is willing to work with a nonprofit organization to get their project done.
The process works like this. An applicant contacts us to ask for an application. We ask a few questions to make sure their project would qualify for funding and then we send our application out. Our application is very straightforward and easy to complete. Applications are due a full month ahead of our quarterly board meetings (deadlines are on the 15th of March, June, September, and December) because during that time one of our directors is assigned to review each application and contact the applicant to learn more about the project. That director then leads the discussion at the board meeting about that grant application.
When deciding whether to award a grant, our directors consider several factors including the impact it would have on our community, the ability of the organization to carry out the project, a realistic budget, community support, and how the project would be sustained into the future.
So, if you have an idea to make City of Fort Atkinson, WI better, contact a nonprofit and see if you can work together to make it happen!