Taproot Looks Out for Those Who Look Out for Public Health

The Taproot Foundation doesn't grant cash to nonprofits working in the realm of public health and wellness. 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 public health and wellness actually falls into both the "Health" and "Social Services" categories, depending upon how the nonprofit addresses these issues.

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 public health and wellness is the Achievable Foundation in Culver City, CA, which describes itself as providing "a unique and vital support system for the health, well-being, mobility, and communication needs of persons with low income and developmental disabilities." The Achievable Foundation received a WordPress Website Service Grant.

Another recent grantee working in public health and wellness is the Northern Illinois Food Bank, self-described as "the source for nutritious food, innovative feeding programs, and hope for more than 71,000 people each week in the 13 counties surrounding Chicago, Illinois." The organization received a Strategic IT Planning 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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