Let's find grant information for a couple foundations we brought up in our search for funders interested in early childhood education: the Ralph M Parsons Foundation and the June and Julian Foss Foundation. To find detail on grants awarded by the Parsons Foundation, we'll turn to the Grants database. We have a lot of search options; this is a way to do a reverse lookup, to start with what's been funded. We can also use Search Grants to look at the grants of a specific funder, like the Parsons Foundation. We want to see their grants related to our key program area, early childhood education. This list of grants is very helpful; we can see their giving to similar organizations. We can sort by year and dollar amount to determine an average grant size. That will give us an idea of the appropriate ask amount.
Click on the name of the grant recipient for more details. Here's more information on who got the grant and what it was for. Although you can often find detailed grants data like this for larger foundations, this level of detail may not be available for smaller foundations. In that case, the 990-PF is your friend. You already know that all private foundations must file a 990-PF every year, on which they disclose their grants--even the smallest foundations. You can access 990-PFs directly from Grantmaker profiles, or you can Search 990s. Search 990s by keyword to bring up references on grants lists, or search for a specific funder, like the Foss Foundation. The 990-PF form is 15 pages and is often followed by attachments.
You can start looking for the grants list on page 11, but it's often an attachment. For this foundation, the grants list is on page 15 of 27. Regardless of where you find grants data, you're asking the same questions: Would it make sense for my organization to be on this list? and how much are they giving to similar organizations? All of this research will inform your proposal. This is what we mean by doing your homework!.
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