Every now and then someone in the community will say to me, “Oh, you’re working for that organization that gives away money.” Or once or twice a month someone will walk into our offices and say I need a grant for my project. Both of these comments represent a misconception about what we do at the Center, and so, what do we do, anyway?
Well, what we don’t do is give away money. What we do is help project coordinators figure out how to fund their community project, which may include writing good proposals that will be successful in being funded. We help them find the right fund development plan that will give them the support they need to be successful and sustainable.
We submit their proposals to these funders, around the state and on the mainland, and 75% of the time the project gets the money. Since foundations, and the state, county and federal agencies who fund community projects will only give money to nonprofit organizations like the Center, their checks are written to us and we immediately give the money to the projects.
We also maintain the on-going relationships with the funders and prepare and submit final reports that tell the funders how the money was spent. Since 2003 we have submitted over 400 proposals for projects and the Center and have been awarded over $6 million in grants. This process of receiving money for projects is called fiscal sponsorship, and it’s a primary part of what we do.
We funded the Center with start-up grants in our first four years, but funders seldom will give money to the same program for more than three years. At this point, we are dependent on contributions from the community, friends of the community, visitors to the Welcome Center, special events and on the fees we charge funded projects for our services. We maintain a database of over 1,400 family, individual and businesses donors that help our projects and the Center. We work hard to nurture these donor relationships and preserve their trust in the good work we are doing for North Kohala.