Taproot Helps You Help the LGBT Community

The Taproot Foundation doesn't grant cash to LGBT-related programs, 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. Their support of organizations working with the LGBT community can fall into several categories, including Health, Social Services, and Education, depending upon how the nonprofit's programs and approach.

Taproot describes the Health programs it supports simply as those that look towards "improving people's physical or emotional health." Its Education focus is the "strengthening our public education system" and "enhancing the educational success of students." Taproot 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 LGBT 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 LGBT grantee is the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) in New York City, which "creates this environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and families. Programs are aimed at re-engaging at-risk youth in high school, and assisting their successful transition from high school graduation to college or employment." HMI received a Program Measurement Service Grant.

Another recent grantee is Comunilife, also in New York City, an organization with supportive housing for people living with HIV/AIDS. Comunilife received a Visual Identity & Brand Strategy Service Grant. The work of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California also delves into to the rights of LGBT community; the organization recently received a Strategic Scorecard 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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