Frequently Asked Questions About GAR’s New Strategies

July 12, 2017

How do I know if my organization is a fit with GAR’s new strategies?
First, look at your most recent grant award agreement from GAR Foundation. If it indicates that this is a final grant, that means your organization is no longer a fit with our strategy.

For those organizations who have an active grant with GAR, we will communicate with you directly over the course of our due diligence conversations in the next few months.

For organizations that have been receiving funding from us in recent years but do not fit in the above categories, expect a phone call from GAR in the upcoming weeks.

Interested nonprofits who think they may be a fit in our new strategies should keep an eye on our website and submit a Letter of Inquiry when we reopen the LOI process. This is likely to occur in late 2017 or early 2018.

What if my organization does not fit within the new strategy areas?
As we move toward a narrower, deeper approach to our work, we understand that not every group that has historically received grants will fit within our new direction. We suggest you consider making use of the technical assistance programs we will offer later this year. Those sessions will help organizations to develop their capacity and skill sets to raise funds and improve their sustainability.

The program GAR has funded me for in the past does not fit within your new strategies, but my organization has a new program that is a fit. How can I get a grant for that?
We are not accepting grant applications for any new programs or initiatives this year. This is because we are using our remaining 2017 grantmaking budget resources to award final grants to some organizations, and to continue grant funding of organizations that fit within our new strategy. Later in the calendar year we will be sharing information about how we will entertain requests for new programming in the new year. Keep checking our website in the final quarter of 2017 to see information on that issue.

Is GAR putting fewer grant dollars out into the community this year?
No! We expect to make grants totaling roughly $6.3mm this year, which is even with our grants in 2016.

How can I schedule a face-to-face meeting with GAR to talk about my organization’s programming?
At this time, we are not scheduling any face-to-face informational meetings with organizations. We hope you will understand that this isn’t a statement against our community’s great nonprofit organizations. Rather, we have a very small staff and we know that we do not have the ability to offer a face-to-face meeting to every organization. We therefore think that fairness dictates we can’t offer such a meeting to any organization. We appreciate your understanding.

How can I get my organization-specific questions answered?
We have an email account set up for the specific purpose of addressing your questions. Please email your question to info@garfdn.org. We promise that we will get back to you within 48 hours of receiving your question.

Is GAR’s funding under the new strategy targeted solely to programs in Akron or will you fund work in Greater Akron?
With our push for deeper impact in our home community of Akron, we will target the vast majority of our grant dollars to work focused on the City of Akron. The geographic location of your organization is not the deciding factor. The critical question is whether your work is delivered in and benefits the residents of the City of Akron. Note: The Educator Initiative Grant program will continue to support teacher-led innovations in schools throughout Summit County.

Do I still need to submit a Grantee Impact Report for a grant I already received?
Yes. Please submit your report by the specified deadline indicated on the front page of the reporting form. In the future, we will be revisiting our evaluation tools but for now the Grantee Impact Report is the correct form to use.

I received a grant award letter from GAR indicating that it was a final grant. Now what?
This means that the work of your organization is no longer a fit with our strategy. Stay tuned to our website for information about technical assistance and capacity building offerings.

What does it mean for an organization to be working “at-scale?”
In some of our new strategies, we are looking for organizations that are working “at scale.” By this we mean that we seek to support work that has the critical mass to make a significant impact within a target community, and that is aligned with and connected to larger systems work. The “out of school time” area within K-16 education provides a good example. We are not likely to fund an afterschool program that serves a small number of children and is not connected to and endorsed by the leadership of Akron Public Schools. We would be much more likely to fund an effort that is reaching a considerable number of students and is aligned – in every way from philosophy to curriculum to operations – with the Akron Public Schools.
Will GAR continue to use the DataArts platform to track arts and culture organizational data?
In the future, GAR may elect to use a different platform to capture arts and culture organizational data. However, for now applicants are asked to complete a DataArts profile as part of their application to GAR.

Will GAR continue to offer a round of capital funding to qualifying organizations?
GAR is considering capital grants right now for 2017. At this time, we do not have plans to offer a capital funding round in 2018 because we will focus our energy on implementing our new strategies. However, we have not made a final decision on whether we will fund capital in the future. Keep an eye on our website and sign up for our mailing list to receive updates on this topic.

Will GAR offer another round of matching support for Knight Arts Challenge winners?
It is likely that GAR will reserve a portion of its arts and culture budget in 2018 to offer matching grants to some Knight Arts Challenge winners, as we did in 2017. We will create a special round for the Knight Arts Challenge applicants, so that they will all be reviewed at one time. Again, follow our website and email for announcements on this topic next year.

What do you mean when you say that GAR will offer “technical assistance” to organizations later this year?
We understand that our change in direction will disrupt funding for some organizations that have received GAR grants over a period of years. We are genuinely supportive of these groups, and seek to assist them in improving their financial sustainability so that they are better able to navigate a changing landscape for nonprofits. We plan to offer workshops, boot camps, and perhaps other types of resources that are designed to help them develop new tools in their toolbox. We expect that most of these offerings will be available for all local nonprofits (not just the ones who are losing GAR funding), but we will reserve spaces for those groups we have funded historically. You can send your ideas about desired technical assistance topics to info@garfdn.org. As with other subjects covered here, this one will be updated through our website and email mailing list, so stay tuned to those sources.