Taproot Provides Access to Those Who Provide Access

The Taproot Foundation doesn't grant cash to nonprofits working in the realm of health access. But that's just because it doesn't grant cash to anyone. What Taproot does instead is grant something many organizations would be hard-pressed to achieve on their own: the substantial ability to build an organization's capacity.

The Taproot Foundation does this through its Service Grants Program, through which top-level nonprofit consultants spend substantial time with an organization to help them addresses a specific internal need. And if you're still thinking dollars, think this: Taproot assesses that its in-kind services are valued at $45,000 and upward.

The foundation declares that it supports nonprofits working in the Arts, Education, the Environment, Health, and Social Services. Its support of organizations working in health access actually falls into both the "Health" and "Social Services" categories, depending upon how the nonprofit addresses the issue of health access.

Taproot describes the Health programs it supports simply as those that look towards "improving people's physical or emotional health." It describes its Social Services category as:

Providing social services to those who have been unable to participate fully in the social and economic life of the community. Services usually target children and families, employment and training, the elderly, immigrants, the disabled, housing and homelessness or foster and adoption services.

However your work can be categorized, the catch is that your organization must be based in one of five metropolitan areas: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. Granting is limited to these five metropolitan areas because this is where Taproot's network of pro bono nonprofit consultants are located; however there are possibilities for the work done by your nonprofit to radiate out further into the country—or the world.

The Service Grants fall into four major categories: Strategy Management, Leadership Development & Strategic HR, Marketing, and Information Technology. But Taproot gets even more specific. Within each of these areas, a potential grantee applies for a specific project need. There are 19 project options in total. The foundation’s website lists and describes them all in a highly organized fashion.

One recent grantee working in health access is the Meals on Wheels Senior Outreach Services of Contra Costa, in Walnut Creek, CA. As Taproot describes it, this organization is "dedicated to helping seniors live independently and with dignity since 1968. To continue to meet their mission, they are shifting their model to respond quickly and efficiently to their client needs, provide better overall customer service to seniors and caregivers, and to build stronger partnerships with local health care institutions." The organization was awarded an Annual Report Service Grant.

Another recent grantee working in health access is Community of Hope in Washington D.C. They are committed to providing "quality, compassionate healthcare to patients regardless of ability to pay." Community of Hope received A Visual Identity & Brand Strategy Service Grant.

What types of nonprofit organizations are best suited to win one of these service grants? The answer lies in the Taproot Foundation’s wish for nonprofits to “do more with more.” Therefore, your organization (which must be a 501(c)(3)) must be well positioned in terms of staff size and budget (the requirements vary a bit by city and project area). You must also be able to display significant organizational buy-in to the project at hand.

Application deadlines are quarterly in order to suit your project and your fiscal year calendar. Get your team together and go for it.

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