It can be helpful every once in a while to review an existing program or process with a fresh set of eyes. For the past several months, we have been transitioning the management of our Discretionary Grants program from Jake Grindle to Kathryn Rouillard. In doing so, we have had a number of conversations about the intent of the program’s funding guidelines, what we look for in potential projects, and why.
MeHAF has a set of guidelines for the Discretionary Grants program that is intended to help narrow the pool of applicants to those most aligned with the program’s intent. We know that nonprofit organizations have to make tough decisions every day about how to spend precious time and, given that our budget allows for a limited number of grants per year, we want to avoid organizations expending resources preparing an application that might not be funded.
So, what is likely to be funded? What follows are a few key characteristics and concrete examples intended to shed some light on this:
Through our Discretionary Grants program, we are looking to support projects that are closely related to our mission, but may fall outside our competitive grant program areas.
Rather than providing a narrowly defined set of activities that might not be the right approach for their projects, we invite interested applicants to come to us with creative ideas that are responsive to their needs.
Through our Discretionary Grants program, we are hoping to test innovative approaches that could shape the way organizations serve our priority population.
Discretionary grants are intended to meet short-term, immediate needs.
The structure of our Discretionary Grants program allows us – and applicants – to be reactive in a dynamic and highly changeable environment.
The program helps us to build relationships with and support the work of a wider variety of health-focused organizations.
Our use of the word “discretionary” to describe our grants program is actually a fairly literal one – the program is for “discrete” projects that have a clear start and end date and will be completed within one year. It also gives us some “discretion” to consider projects from lesser-known organizations, try new ways to address complex issues, and address our mission from different vantage points. On this last point, interested applicants often have the opportunity to talk through their proposed project with MeHAF program staff.
We would welcome a conversation with you to learn more about your proposed project:
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