Why are foundations all SO different?

Posted on August 8th, 2014

different 

“When you’ve seen one foundation…you’ve seen one foundation.”

Sorry grantseekers, but the old saying above seems to be true.

Why do all foundations seem to do their own thing? It’s complicated, but here goes…

CORPORATE FOUNDATIONS reflect the values and interests of the companies that support them. For instance, the Lincoln National Life Insurance Foundation makes grants in communities where Lincoln National Life Insurance is located. The importance of diversity is a key belief of this organization. The presence of diversity is a key filter in Lincoln National Life Foundation’s grantmaking process. Are you with us so far?

PUBLIC FOUNDATIONS, such as community foundations, reflect the communities they serve. You’ll see community foundations make grants to support health, recreation, education, welfare; anything that the IRS says can be a charitable cause. Most community foundations want to be broad and inclusive in their grantmaking so they can appeal to a wide range of possible donors. Over a year’s time you will probably not see all of a community foundation’s grant dollars go into one field (like the arts or education) or benefit the residents a single city or town.

PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS, like the Dekko Foundation,  reflect the passion of the donors who started them. In our case, we keep our eyes glued on the mission that Mr. Chet Dekko set on the day he started the Dekko Foundation.  That mission is: To foster economic freedom through education.

From time to time our board of directors might change the strategies they use to accomplish our mission. Once in a blue moon you might see them announce changed or tweaked grantmaking priorities. Because we’re so focused on our mission, you might see our board make a very large grant if they see a project related to our mission that’s especially promising. That means that we’ll have to say “no” to other things, but if it gets us to our mission, it’s worthwhile.

In a nutshell, all foundations make grants differently because grantmaking reflects the mission and passion of the organization.

We have a section on our website called “Grantseeker Support.” We’ve stuffed it full of everything we can think of to explain our Dekko Foundation what’s and why’s. Check it out at: http://www.dekkofoundation.org/grantseeker-support/ You can call us at 260-347-1278 to ask any remaining questions. We welcome your call.

1 Comment

One response to “Why are foundations all SO different?”

  1. Diane Bear says:

    Great info! So many get confused about the different types of foundations.

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