The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham has announced a $1.27 million package of grants to 27 area non-profits that aim to improve economic security and further develop sustainable, livable communities in Jefferson, Blount, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties. These grants support a collection of innovative initiatives ranging from a pilot program providing an alternative to payday lending to a music education alliance supporting young musicians and orchestras.
A total of $2.1 million has been awarded through the Community Funds competitive grantmaking program in 2013, including $860,000 in May toward results related to education and health. Support for the grants came from Donor Advised Funds through the Community Foundation’s Giving Together program.
“These grants are made possible by philanthropists who have entrusted their charitable dollars and legacies to The Community Foundation,” said Robert Holmes, chair of the Community Foundation’s board of directors. “Thanks to their vision of collective giving we are able to support organizations that drive positive change across our community.”
A committee that included community and business leaders reviewed more than 85 proposals from a broad spectrum of nonprofits that work to improve the quality of life in the greater Birmingham area. “The grants are not just handed out,” said James McCrary, Vice President of Grants and Evaluation. “Grantees go through a rigorous application process; they need to identify and explain their needs and show how their goals reflect our Results Framework.”
This is the third year of competitive grantmaking using the Community Foundation’s Results Framework, which focuses on grants in line with four key strategies. According to McCrary, feedback from grants made in previous year already show signs of progress. One example is the Comprehensive Care Management program provided by Collat Jewish Family Services. Through a grant from the Community Foundation they were able to expand the program to provide services to seniors that help them stay in their homes. “The average cost to provide this service to seniors through the program is $2,300 per year,” says McCrary. “In contrast, it would cost the state about $55,000 a year to maintain that individual in a nursing home.”
The next cycle of grant applications is under review for strategies that address education and health Results. This latest group of grants brings the total of grants awarded in 2013 by the Community Foundation to $14.5 million.