Foundations with religious preferences are very common in the American South, with Protestant-affiliated groups often coming out on top with small family funders. However, secular groups shouldn’t be to quick to write off these types of grantmakers because they can be more open-minded and inclusive than you may expect.
A good example is the Clark and Ruby Baker Foundation in Georgia. The Baker couple was deeply committed to the Methodist Church and primarily established this foundation to support Methodist-affiliated organizations. Since its founding in the 1970s, this foundation has been awarding grants to Methodist-affiliated higher education institutions in rural and small towns. It is also a steady funder of organizations that serve deserving, aged minsters. In addition, it has been giving funds to groups that serve orphans and come to the aid of economically disadvantaged people in more general ways.
One important thing to know about this funder is that it prioritizes capital support for construction and building projects. It often considers requests for building new educational facilities at colleges and universities, as well as health facilities at clinics and hospitals. The Baker Foundation is also interested in funding library construction costs or other types of buildings that will be used for charitable purposes. Past support has gone to the Macon Volunteer Clinic, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Our House, and the Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center.
As suggested by these examples, this is a very Georgia-focused funder, so only organizations within the state should reach out with funding needs. This is especially true with health funding because the Baker Foundation requires hospital and clinic grantees to be located in Georgia and to use funds locally to aid the sick and infirm receiving medical treatment. Organizations in Atlanta often see the Baker Foundation’s support, but this is a statewide funder that has also recently awarded grants in Decatur, Marietta, Macon, and other Georgia communities.
The Clark and Ruby Baker Foundation is managed by Bank of America’s Georgia office and accepts online grant applications by June 1 of each year. Applicants can expect to receive notification of the foundation’s decision by at least August 1 and receive a one-year grant if selected by the trustees. Multi-year support here is possible, but rare. However, this is typically a funder of unrestricted general operating support, which is good news for Georgia grantseekers.