Black History Month 2020

Black History

What is Black History Month and Why is it Important?

Black History Month (also known as African American History Month) is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history.

Celebrating Black History allows us to pause, acknowledge, and remember the sacrifice and suffering that Civil Rights and other Historic leaders endured for the sake of racial equality.

Educating those outside the black community was always a central focus of the celebration of Black History Month. The belief is that if the country understood the contributions and sacrifices made by black people who served in the military during the second world war, it would provide a powerful argument that would undermine the notions of black inferiority. Focusing on these contributions and sacrifices would serve to create an environment that was more conducive to combating racism.

historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson
Historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson

8 things you should know about Black History Month

  1. The story of Black History Month began in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.
  2. Black History Month grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. 
  3. Negro History Week was celebrated in the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
  4. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.
  5. In the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of black identity, Negro History Week evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.
  6. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
  7. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.
  8. Every year there is a different theme that is endorsed by the US President. 2020’s theme is, “African Americans and the Vote,” is in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment (1920) granting women’s suffrage and the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) giving black men the right to vote.

Featured Grant

Black History Month Celebration 2020 Award Awards to New Jersey African American Individuals in Eligible Regions for Contributions to the Community. Awards are intended to honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the areas of professional achievements, general good deeds, or community service that have impacted favorably on the citizens of Gloucester Township.

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

What is the Small Business Technology Transfer?

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program is an initiative that is coordinated and monitored by the Small Business Administration (SBA), to provide small businesses with greater access to funding in the federal innovation research and development arena. According to the SBA, the goal

“is expansion of the public-private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small business and the nation’s premier nonprofit research institutions. STTR’s most important role is to foster the innovation necessary to meet the nation’s scientific and technological challenges in the 21st century.”

The STTR program is a cooperative research partnership between small business concerns and research institutions. It places emphasis on a company’s potential for commercial success. The program also requires that universities, federal laboratories, or nonprofit research centers team with businesses to get their product(s) into the marketplace. These research partnerships between small businesses and nonprofit institutions enable participants to combine entrepreneurial initiative and creativity with the expertise, equipment, and other assets of nonprofit research laboratories.

How can an organization qualify for STTR?

In order to be considered for the STTR program, small businesses must meet several criteria including:

  • They must be American-owned and independently operated for-profit enterprises.
  • The size of the company may not exceed 500 employees.
  • They must be principally located in the United States.
  • The organization must be a nonprofit college or university, domestic nonprofit research organization, or federally funded research and development center.
Innovation

According to the rules of STTR, the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Health and Human Services, along with the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration—must reserve a portion of their research and development funds for the program. These five federal departments and agencies also designate those subjects suitable for additional Research & Development and determine whether to accept or reject STTR proposals. They make STTR awards based on the following factors:

  • Qualifications of the nonprofit research institution and its small business partner;
  • Degree of innovation;
  • Future market potential.

Once a small business secures STTR funding, they are then routed through a three-phase program.

  1. The Startup Phase: Awards of up to $100,000 are given to pay for approximately one year’s worth of study and research into the scientific, technical, and commercial feasibility of an idea or technology.
  2. The Development Phase. During this period, business/research partnerships engage in research and development work with an intention toward commercial potential.
  3. Introduction to Market. During this phase, the completed project is introduced into the commercial marketplace to succeed or fail. This phase is not supported by STTR funds. Instead, participants must secure funding from private parties or other federal agencies that do not allocate STTR monies.

Small businesses can secure alternative or additional funding by subscribing to and searching for grants at www.GrantWatch.com. As of the writing of this article, the following STTR grant was available – America’s Seed Fund – Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Phase I.

New Year’s Resolution For Nonprofits

New Year Resolutions

It’s almost 2020, and many people are starting to draft resolutions that they’ll use to try and build new habits for the New Year.

Science tells us that by February, the second month of this year, most of those resolutions will fall by the wayside, and people will return to their scheduled programming of whatever they had done the year before. And it’s hard to stick to these habits, for many reasons, including that people will set lofty goals in the hopes of creating all-over change, not realizing that they need effective systems to be able to accomplish that feat. And since here at GrantWatch we care about our readers, I’m going to help make creating New Year’s resolutions just a bit easier by sharing my five best pieces of advice for drafting, and following through on those resolutions. Hopefully, by reading, and executing this list, it really will be New Year, New You. 

Five New Year’s Resolutions for Nonprofit Organizations & Professionals

  1. Be Realistic: When mapping out your goals for the New Year, try not to be overzealous in your ambitions, to the point where it’s near impossible to actually accomplish the things on your list. If your fundraising goal is $1,000,000, start by dividing the sum into quarterly goals and plan your fundraising events accordingly. The objective is to keep you, your donors and your team from being overwhelmed. You may find that you do even better than the original goal laid out because you did not set your organization up for failure.
  2. Plan Ahead: If you are not receiving our newsletter, sign up today! Grants are a huge part of a nonprofits annual budget, but getting a grant is a waiting game that requires strategic planning. You need to find a grant or grants that fulfill your organization’s needs, then you need to follow the specific requirements listed by the funder. If you start the process in January or Q1, in some cases, your organization may not be funded until March or April (Q2). If you plan ahead, you can distribute the budget accordingly. Planning ahead allows you to ensure that you have the tools and the money you need.  
  3. Have an Accountability Partner: Keep the members of your organization in the loop regarding your goals. They will essentially be your accountability partners. Have regular meetings and talk about specific issues with your progress, but also discuss mini victories.
  4. Reward Nonprofit: One of the ways to keep pushing through when times get tough is to have rewards set up along your path. Setting mini-goals along the way towards a larger goal helps with this and allows you to reward yourself as you accomplish smaller steps. Reaching a certain monetary goal should be celebrated. Have a potluck lunch or dinner and share your success on social media, or give your team members an extended lunch period or a short workday. 
  5. Shake It Off: You will have good days, and less than good days. Sometimes you will meet your goals, and sometimes you will fall short – that’s okay. Take a heads up, eyes forward approach. Take stock of what went wrong, fix it and move on, don’t dwell. Double down on the things that worked well. Implement a stress reliever in your day – Go outside, do some pushups, walk around the block or the parking lot, stretch, breath. Do something other than sitting at your desk. A walk or quick stretch can help you refocus and get back on track when you are finding it hard to stay on task or when you are having a not-so-great day. Shake it off, take a deep breath and move on. Don’t give up because of one failure, just view it as a sign that things are changing, and allow yourself to grow from it.

We hope that these little tips and tricks help you this New Year as you work on accomplishing new things in 2020. Remember that there are so many new possibilities in the New Year and that staying consistent with what you wish to accomplish. Progress is key to having your New Year’s resolutions become permanent habits.  

Art Basel & the grants that can get you there

Art Basel?

Art Basel is an annual international art fair that takes place in Basel, Switzerland; Miami Beach, Florida; and Hong Kong. The event connects collectors, galleries, and artists. Art Basel’s fairs are the impetus in supporting galleries as they nurture the careers of artists. While Art Basel provides a platform for galleries to show and sell their work to buyers, it also attracts a large international audience of art spectators and students.

© Courtesy of Tau Lewis and COOPER COLE, Toronto

Galleries that participate in Art Basel can spend between $50,000 for a small gallery to as high as $400,000 for a large gallery located on the bottom floor of the event space. These costs include booth fees, travel, lodging in town, shipping costs for the works, gallery dinners during the fair, and other expenses accrued during the week. This is a considerable investment for a 6-day event.

We’ve Got a Grant for that!

To defray expenses, artists and galleries alike seek out sponsors and benefactors. But, too few people seek out grants. GrantWatch.com has over 500 grants listed for people in the arts. Just in the state of Florida alone, we have 197 grants listed (at the time of this article). Grant amounts are as little as $250 to as high as $50,000 or more.

Take a look at these Florida grants for arts and culture:

  • Grants to USA Nonprofits and Artists to Support Live Public Performances
  • Grants of up to $50,000 to USA and Territories independent producers and production companies to fund the production and post-production of non-fiction programs about indigenous Pacific Islanders.
  • Grants to Florida Nonprofits, Agencies, and Businesses to Promote Tourism in Miami-Dade County
  • Grants to USA and Territories individual artists and artist collaborators for creative artistic endeavors across the arts disciplines.
  • Grants to USA, Canada, or International Artists to Support Professional Development in Visual Arts

Start researching grant opportunities now! It may be too late to secure a grant funding for 2019 Art Basel, but before you know it, 2020′ Art Basel is here and every artist should have an opportunity to experience the exposure that this art event affords them.

How to Fund your Nonprofit: 9 Great Ideas!

Understanding Nonprofit Corporations

If you have a company or plan to set up a business, social club, a trade organization, or cooperative whose goal is addressing a societal problem, then you should set up a nonprofit. 

If your organization is looking to earn a profit as well as accomplish those goals mentioned above, then you should form a for-profit corporation or LLC.

Most nonprofits are formed to provide a benefit to the public. Such organizations include companies formed for charitable, educational, scientific, religious and literary purposes. These charitable companies are sometimes referred to as Sec. 501(c)(3) organizations. Their name is derived from the section of the Internal Revenue Code that provides them with an exemption from taxation.

Nonptofit

Funding your Nonprofit

So, your nonprofit organization is up and running; now you need funding to keep it solvent. Here are a few funding ideas.

  1. Apply for a grant. To get the most ‘bang for your buck’, consider subscribing to a grant listing service like GrantWatch.com. For as little as $18.00 per week, you’ll get unlimited access to a database of more than 20,000 grant listings. Grant funding sources include local, state, federal and foundation.
  2. Ask for donations. Social media sites like Facebook will allow you to place a donation button on your profile. Friends, family, and colleagues can donate to your project as well as share your campaign with their friends and colleagues.
  3. Crowdfunding. Create a campaign on crowdfunding sites like YouHelp.com Crowdfunding is a fundraising tool that enables forward-thinkers like you to raise money for worthy charities, new programs or products or to stage events.
  4. Cause-related campaigns. This is more of a marketing effort where you combine marketing with funding for your nonprofit. It is built upon a partnership between your nonprofit and a for-profit/business where your organizations team up to raise money for your cause. Toms show does this paring well. When you buy TOMS products, the company makes an in-kind donation to a person in need. When someone buys a pair of TOMS shoes in the US, for instance, the company donates a pair of shoes to a child in a poor country like Haiti.
  5. Ecommerce or brick & mortar store. Consider adding an eCommerce store to your website. If you have space, adding a store (like Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity) where the organization accepts and sells gently used donations to the public. Holiday cards and stationery are great sellers in charity eCommerce shops. You can also become an affiliate of major brands such as AmazonAffiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products.
  6. Sponsorships. Seek out strategic partnerships with a business or other for-profit organizations. Solicit sponsorships. Through their sponsorship, your nonprofit can gain monetary as well as in-kind donations that can include items such as furniture, office equipment, marketing advice, logo or website development support, etc. In exchange for their sponsorship, your nonprofit can showcase their business on your website, displaying their logo at your events through banners or on t-shirts, or giving them recognition on your blog and social media platforms.
  7. Traditional fundraising will always be in vogue. This includes sporting events, tournaments, festivals, walk-a-thons, dinners, auctions, concerts, etc.
  8. Google Ads grants – Did you know that Google gives nonprofits up to $10,000 USD of in-kind advertising every month?

    You could recruit more volunteers. Attract more donations. And share your story with audiences all over the globe.

  9. Good old fashion bartering services. You could do things like bartering for free office space in exchange for being the property manager of the building. Think about your marketable skills and seek out partners willing to barter.

Do you have a funding idea that will benefit a nonprofit? Tell us in the comments 👇.

Resources for People Facing Financial Hardship

Resources for the underfunded

At least once daily, our customer service department gets a call asking for information on grants to help those suffering severe financial hardship. Since GrantWatch is a listing service for nonprofit grants, all too often, we find ourselves unable to assist. Occasionally, these callers are able to find the grant they need on https://www.mwbezone.com, but the application process can be a deterrent. Some people use our crowdfunding platform YouHelp.com to collect funding from friends and families, but when faced with a ‘5 days notice’ to pay your rent or face eviction, a quicker and more permanent solution is needed.

What to do when you are in a crisis

We at GrantWatch wanted to help, so we did some research and found a few state and local resources that can assist by providing contact information for local financial assistance.

Help resource

Help for People Facing Financial Hardship

Call 211

211 is a phone number that is explicitly reserved to enable people in need to speak with a community resource specialist who can help them find local to social services for everyday needs and in times of crisis.

Currently, active 211 systems cover all or part of 50 states and some of Canada. They offer information on the following types of services:

  • Basic Human Needs Resources – including food and clothing, shelters, housing, utility assistance.
  • Emergency information and disaster relief
  • Mental Health and Health Resources – including counseling, support groups, drug and alcohol treatment, health insurance programs, Medicaid and Medicare, maternal health resources, health insurance programs for children, medical information lines, clinics, and hospitals.
  • Employment and Education Support – including job training, employment services, transportation assistance, and education programs.
  • Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities – including adult daycare, community meals, respite care, home health care, transportation and homemaker services.
  • Children, Youth, and Family Support – including childcare, after school programs, educational programs for low-income families, family resource centers, and recreation programs, mentoring, tutoring and protective services.
  • Information on physical and or emotional Domestic Abuse.

Benefits.Gov

Benefits.gov is the official benefits website of the U.S. government, their mission is to increase citizen access to benefit information while reducing the expense and difficulty of interacting with the government.

The site’s core function is the eligibility prescreening questionnaire or “Benefit Finder.” Answers to the questionnaire are used to evaluate a citizen’s situation and compare it with eligibility criteria for more than 1,200 Federally-funded benefit and assistance programs. The site also features a recommendation engine that customizes the user’s search for benefits based on their location or interest in a category.

Other Resources

The Salvation Army. They do the following:

  • Help Disaster Survivors
  • Provide Food and Shelter
  • Provide financial assistance
  • Combat Addiction
  • Share God’s Love
  • Assist the Unemployed
  • Fight Human Trafficking
  • Offer programs to stop Domestic Abuse
  • Offer educational programs to kids
  • Serve the LGBTQ Community

Catholic Charities

The core mission of Catholic Charities is to provide service to people (regardless of their faith), who are struggling with poverty and other complex issues. These services include:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Immigrant and Refugee Services
  • Integrated Health
  • Food & Nutrition programs
  • Disaster relief

Red Cross

In addition to providing relief and support to those in crisis, they help members of the military, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with, and respond to, the challenges of military service.

Volunteers provide home comforts and critical services on bases and in military hospitals around the world. They support military families during deployments and emergencies.

Community Action Agency (CAA) etc
Do a web search for a local Community Action Agency (CAA). They have several resources to help the needy. In addition, most churches, The United Way, and The Urban League are other organizations that offer resources for those in crisis.

Do you know of a place in your community that offers resources to help the needy? Please tell us about them in the comments.