Three Things to Know about Seybert Foundation Grantmaking

Local nonprofits should make a point of knowing what the Seybert Foundation does around Philadelphia. This is a funder that’s been on the charity scene since 1906; however, it was known as the Adam and Maria Seybert Institution for Poor Boys and Girls back then. Its grants might not be huge, but they are exactly the kind of support that small Philly nonprofits need right now.

Here are three important things to know about Seybert Foundation grantmaking.

All Grants Help Children and Youth

Just for kicks, take a look at the institution’s trustee report from 1908. With a quick browse, you’ll see how passionate the Seybert couple was about underprivileged children in the area. The city of Philadelphia has always been in focus, and the founders wished for their estate to help poor children with care, education, and finding employment after leaving their institution.

Henry Seybert established the current philanthropic foundation in his will in memory of his parents and their institution, keeping the same principles in mind. Top grantees from spring 2015 include the Attic Youth Center, Norris Square Neighborhood Project, Philadelphia Reads, and the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory. As you can see, the focus of Seybert grantmaking is incredibly wide, but what ties it all together is the impact on children and youth in the community.

All Grants are Less than $5,000

The top grantees referenced above all received $5,000 in the recent grant cycle, and that’s the upper limit of Seybert Funding. The average grant is $3,000, and grants that dip to $1,000 are pretty rare.

Don’t bother asking for more than $5,000; it’s part of a policy adopted in 2013, and it seems to be working pretty well for the funder, so far.

All Grants are General Operating Support

To maximize the impact of these small grants, the board voted to transform all funding general operating support a couple years ago.

"More often than not, applicants seemed to assume they had to structure a request in the form of a project grant, and we responded in kind,” said former board President Sara S. Moran. "But as our average grant amount decreased and our community's needs rose, we began to re-think our approach and how we could focus our dollars while maximizing the value of the support provided to our grantees.”

This is a funder of community-based organizations that have annual operating budgets of less than $1.5 million. So you’ll only be competing against nonprofits within your budgetary power, not the massive organizations that have already won the attention of the city’s prominent funders.

To learn more about this funder and how to apply for a grant, check out IP’s full profile of the Seybert Foundation.