Abbott Fund: Grants for Disasters and Refugees

OVERVIEW: When earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters strike, major aid organizations such as the American Red Cross arrive on the scene — and they often have major grants from the Abbott Fund helping to pay their way.

IP TAKE: The Abbott Fund awards major grants for disaster relief and refugee aid, but it tends to fund large organizations. The Abbott Fund gives big to a small number of organizations.

PROFILE: A philanthropic outreach operation of pharmaceuticals company Abbott Laboratories, the Abbott Fund supports nonprofit initiatives to "expand access to health care and strengthen communities worldwide" through numerous areas of human health and science education. Disaster relief and refugee aid is one of those areas. The fund's pool of recipients for disaster relief is fairly small and more often than not, only a select handful of very large aid organizations receive Abbott awards. The American Red Cross, CARE, AmeriCares, World Vets, and Direct Relief International are just a few names on Abbott's VIP list.

Abbott tends to commit to grant support for the long haul. Its beneficiaries can look forward not only to ample funding for the project at hand but also large sums of follow-up funding down the road. The fund looks to form lasting partnerships and invests massive amounts of funds into them to accomplish large-scale results.

In addition to providing financial assistance, it is not uncommon for Abbott to make product donations such as high-energy, nutrient dense foods, antibiotics, and rehydration solutions to aid in disaster relief and recovery efforts. 

The fund shows no reservations when it comes to geography. Whether Abbott Laboratories has a presence in a given country or not, it will support humanitarian programs there if the need is great and the organizations to be funded meet the Abbott Fund leadership team's standards for operability and effectiveness.

Abbott Fund does not accept unsolicited grant applications; however, according to its section on grants, this position is subject to change. The site also states that "at certain times we do accept unsolicited applications for grants relating to community health and well-being, science education and community outreach." 

A few other hard and fast rules stay in place, though. First, the foundation expressly does not accept unsolicited applications for projects outside the United States. Second, all applicants must complete an online "eligibility screening" before they can even access the application form.

If you have a U.S.-based endeavor in disaster relief or refugee assistance and your timing is right, then looking up grant opportunities from the Abbott Fund might be worth your while. And if you're working outside the United States and it's not one of those times when the foundation is accepting applications, then your best bet would probably be to grow your organization and rack up enough tangible results to eventually land on the Abbott Fund's radar. 

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