Foundation Center: Empowering organizations to succeed

Dina Younis \
October 22, 2015

What if there were a toolkit of resources designed specifically to empower organizations to succeed in the social sector? Better yet, what if we didn’t even have to leave the comfort of our chairs to access these resources and all it took was to type a URL into our toolbar?

A national organization with a local presence in Northeast Ohio, the Foundation Center believes that knowledge about philanthropy and access to accurate information will advance effective use of resources, and thus allowing social sector agencies to make change happen.

 It’s no wonder why it’s the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. And it all starts with typing into your URL.

Summit County organizations have access to dozens of valuable resources on the Foundation Center website including GrantSpace, a robust source serving as a one-stop-shop to meet their diverse and multi-faceted needs. Here, nonprofit professionals can access foundation websites, live chat help, 990 tax returns, sample documents, blog posts, videos, data, and frequently asked questions. And if that weren’t enough, IssueLab, another service from the Foundation Center, provides free access to nearly 18,000 substantive resources including case studies, evaluations, white papers, and issue briefs addressing some of the world’s most pressing social problems.

 “By illuminating what’s going on in the funding and nonprofit communities, we bridge the two worlds together,” said Brian Schultz, community outreach manager for the Foundation Center in Cleveland. “We connect grantseekers to the resources they need to thrive.”

Through the Foundation Directory Online, a database featuring more than 140,000 foundations,, grantseekers can take their research and planning to a new level.  Nonprofit professionals in Summit County can access this free database at the Akron-Summit Public Library, BVU: The Center of Nonprofit Excellence, Hudson Library and Historical Society, and the Twinsburg Public Library.

“The Directory provides the most up-to-date information about foundations to help nonprofits find exactly what they are looking for to develop relationships and learn more about funding opportunities in their area,” said Schultz.

Crowd funding training

In addition to online webinars and live streaming workshops, the Foundation Center provides a number of in-person course offerings in the Greater Akron area. These trainings are designed to help nonprofits build their capacity, connect with peers, and engage with funders. The Foundation Center will soon launch  private one-on-one trainings to bring organizations to the next level for operational, programmatic, and financial effectiveness. Those interested in private classes should contact Schultz.

An illustration reflecting the Rising Tide structure

In addition to knowledge resources, the Foundation Center offers special programming. It recently launched a community conversation series called the Rising Tide, which brings together a diverse audience around a specific topic and showcases new ways of solving old problems by featuring social innovators who are changing the region. Topics have included black male achievement, empowering low-income women, and LGBTQ issues. The next Rising Tide will be held in 2016.

When we peek into the Foundation Center’s toolbox, we find the tools and knowledge about philanthropy that the social sector depends on to achieve greater impact. Is the Foundation Center tucked away safely in yours?

Photos courtesy of Foundation Center.