Frequently Asked Questions About GAR’s New Strategies & Application Process

December 13, 2017

What are GAR’s new strategies?
Please take a moment to read the update we shared in June, 2017 to understand the background and then read about our new areas of focus on our What we Fund page.

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 or that particular program is no longer a fit with our strategy.

-Second, read our application templates to see what will be asked on the applications.  If you are unable to answer the very specific questions we ask on the application, your program is most likely not a fit. Click here for the Community Programs application template(arts and culture, basic needs, nonprofit sector leadership).

Click here for the Systemic Solutions application template (early childhood education, K-16 education, economic & workforce development).

-Interested nonprofits who think they may be a fit in our new strategies should review our areas of focus, eligibility requirements and submit a Letter of Inquiry. 

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?
First, review our eligibility requirements. Then, review our strategies under each focus area on our What we Fund page, and then review our letter of inquiry requirements and submit an LOI to us.  If you are still unsure whether to submit an LOI, contact jcherok@garfdn.org or 330.576-2915.

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 are offering throughout early 2018. Those sessions will help organizations to develop their capacity and skill sets to raise funds and improve their sustainability.

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. Click here for information about technical assistance and capacity building offerings.

My request is for a school-based program outside of Akron Public Schools, do I qualify for a grant?
Schools outside of the Akron Public Schools District only qualify for our Educator Initiative Grant programs. Keep an eye on our website for new guidelines and updates on the application process in early 2018. The deadline to apply is February 23, 2018.

Is GAR putting fewer grant dollars out into the community this year?
No! GAR made over $6 million in grants to the community in 2017, 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?
Contact jcherok@garfdn.org or 330-576-2915.

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.

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 after-school 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?
Arts and culture applicants are no longer required to use the DataArts platform. However, applicants are required to submit a brief arts and culture data form with their application, which is located on our applications page.  In the future, GAR may elect to use a different platform to capture arts and culture organizational data.

Will GAR continue to offer a round of capital funding to qualifying organizations?
All capital grants for 2017 has been decided and announced in October.  We do not have plans to offer a capital funding round in 2018 because we will focus our energy on implementing our new strategies.

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?
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 are now offering 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. Click here to register for these sessions.