Arizona Giving and Leading: The Grant Network

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The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation has joined with Valley Leadership to create a clearinghouse for nonprofits looking for funding and corporations looking to provide that funding. The Grant Network allows both parties to register their information and exchange opportunities. Julia Patrick of the Arizona Nonprofit Academy, which brings leadership, education and connectivity with collaboration to Arizona’s nonprofit community, and Nicole Almond Anderson, marketing manager of ASU Lodestar, will tell us more about the project.


TED SIMONS: Tonight's edition of Arizona giving and leading looks at an effort to connect nonprofits looking for funding with corporations looking for nonprofits to fund. The clearinghouse is called the grant network and it's a joint effort between ASU's Lodestar center for philanthropy and the nonprofit innovation and valley leadership. Here to tell us more about all this is Julia Patrick, founder and CEO of the Arizona nonprofit academy, and Nicole almond Anderson, marketing manager of ASU Lodestar. Good to have you both here.

JULIA PATRICK AND NICOLE ANDERSON: Thank you.

TED SIMONS: Let's define terms here. What is the grant network.

JULIA PATRICK: It is interesting, we have about a little over 20,000 nonprofits serving our state. And every second that a nonprofit spends trying to find money through finding grants or opportunities there in, that is time that is taken away from their serving their mission. And so as part of valley leadership, in conjunction with ASU Lodestar, we came together and decided that we would start a forum, an online portal where grants, grantors and nonprofits could go and learn about what's out there and what's available.

TED SIMSON: ASU Lodestar obviously involved here. What is ASU Lodestar and what is ASU Lodestar and how did you get involved?

NICOLE ANDERSON: The ASU Lodestar center, capacity of the nonprofit sector here in the valley and greater southwest. We offer online trainings and in-person trainings. One facet has always been serving the community. Part of that is through philanthropy and access to grant funding. The grant network really spawned from an original platform called AZ gates. And that started way back in the day when the center was first founded in 1999. And through the years, it has needed some updating. So, through valley leadership class 36 and group of Matthew Whitaker, Richie Wessel, Jeff Stapleton, Julia Bogen Gary Trujillo and us. We have decided to take on AZ gates and give it a new name and refresh it. Make it more fitting for this year's nonprofit organization, and through the philanthropy side.

TED SIMONS: So, I'm a nonprofit. I'm looking for help here. I need funding, and I know there are corporations out there, but I do not know how to connect.

NICOLE ANDERSON: Right.

TED SIMONS: I hear about the grant network. How do is it work?

JULIA PATRICK: It is really a fabulous opportunity because what we're finding with nonprofits is that there is no dearth of mission. Your nonprofit is probably at the heart and soul of what you do. The reality of it is that you might not know what corporations are going to align with you. Right?

TED SIMONS: Uh-hmm.

JULIA PATRICK: So, what this does is it gives our community an opportunity to find the right matches. So, maybe we can build more sustainable funding opportunities for somebody. Perhaps we find a funder for your network or for your nonprofit that might last decades. We don't know.

TED SIMONS: Interesting.

JULIA PATRICK: We want to really get almost, if you will, a match-maker kind of service.

TED SIMONS: So I go to the portal and I say Ted's nonprofit, here is what I specialize in, here are my geographic areas, here's my history, here's my future outlook and then what?

NICOLE ANDERSON: So, the bread and butter really of our site and what differentiates us from other organizations that do similar projects is that we will match you to an organization that could potentially fund your nonprofit. Say there is an organization that only wants to fund animals. They can go to our site and search by nonprofit that specializes in outreach to animals or education or children and they will get a comprehensive list. And they can fine-tune potential grant awards to those organizations, and it works vice versa on the flip side. Nonprofit organization that needs specific funding, I can search for grantors that specialize in my area.

TED SIMONS: I'm a corporation now. I've decided I have become a corporation. I would like to fund nonprofits. I go to the portal and what information do I give?

JULIA PATRICK: What's interesting, you can talk about that service area. So, perhaps you're only -- you're bound by your structure to only serve people in rural Arizona. Or perhaps, you know, southern Arizona or Maricopa County. That will allow you a lot of time saved. One of the problems that we have in the nonprofit world is that people that are funding things have to say no a lot. It's really hard. And, so, with the grant network, we're able to bring people together and put them in a more comfortable situation and a more realistic situation that will allow them an opportunity to actually make a match.

TED SIMONS: How have the two sides connected in the past?

NICOLE ANDERSON: Really word of mouth and who you know. It's hitting the pavement and establishing the relationships with the grantors. That is why some nonprofits are more successful than others. At the end of the day, we want every nonprofit organization to have access to the same amount of funding. It will only help build the capacity of the nonprofit community for the better.

TED SIMONS: How long has the grant network been around?

JULIA PATRICK: It is really exciting. We started to work on this project in the fall. As a matter of fact, we are just opening up the site now. And we are affording a grant that has been sponsored by blue cross and blue shield for $1,000. We are going to pick some valley Arizona nonprofit that comes to our site and puts their profile information in. And they will get a thousand dollars to help kick start this off. Pretty awesome.

TED SIMONS: Sounds pretty awesome.

JULIA PATRICK: Ted's nonprofit might have to sign up.

TED SIMONS: Wheels are spinning already

NICOLE ANDERSON: You have to be a registered 501c3 first

TED SIMONS: What kind of reaction are you getting from this idea?

NICOLE ANDERSON: It's taken off. In fact just social media today, we have been blitzing about it and it is hitting everywhere right now. What's great is that the smaller nonprofits have access to the same amount.

TED SIMONS: Where do nonprofits and corporations go to get more information?

JULIA PATRICK: Grantnetwork.org. And they can look through ultimately it will be a massive directory. Right now they can help us by inputting their information. It is very easy to participate. It's basically gathering a lot of information and you can just click on, you know, the different fields that are asked and then let us do the rest.

TED SIMONS: Bottom line is for nonprofits, funding really is the touchstone, isn't it?

NICOLE ANDERSON: Completely. I mean, that's -- without our sector, we wouldn't have the community that we have today. So, we want these nonprofits to live to see another day.

TED SIMONS: Alright that website one more time.

JULIA PATRICK: Grantnetwork.org.

TED SIMONS: Alright, good to have you both here. Thank you for joining us.

JULIA PATRICK AND NICOLE ANDERSON: Thank you.

Julia Patrick:Arizona Nonprofit Academy; Nicole Almond Anderson:Marketing Manager, ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation;

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