Bernard McDonough Foundation Grants

OVERVIEW: This funder supports social welfare and health/medical causes throughout the state of West Virginia and in Washington County, Ohio. Unsolicited applications are accepted online throughout the year.

FUNDING AREAS: Social welfare, health and medical, basic needs

IP TAKE: Big causes for this funder’s president are children and youth, adult substance abuse, and homelessness. Try to tap into these local issues in your application.

PROFILE: The Bernard McDonough Foundation was established over 50 years ago to support local nonprofits addressing basic human needs. It started with one broad goal: "To improve the communities within West Virginia."  The founder, Bernard P. McDonough, lived most of his life in the Mid-Ohio Valley Region and built an industrial empire. He founded, bought and transformed companies ranging from concrete and cement plants to shoe manufacturing and construction companies. His McDonough Company became a Fortune 500 NYSE company, and he even made the cover stories of Fortune and Sports Illustrated magazines.

Bernard’s early philanthropy focused on higher education, health, and arts and culture. His wife Alma funded the foundation after his death to expand grantmaking initiatives. This funder has two geographic regions in focus: the state of West Virginia and Washington County in Ohio; the only exceptions are organizations based just outside these regions but that serve these two areas specifically.

Most grants go towards social welfare causes and financial and social aid for area residents. The secondary focus is on health and medical causes, and specifically to support hospitals, clinics and health-related charities.

Starting in 2016, the foundation launched an online-only grant application process and stopped accepting hard-copy grant applications. The application process is pretty simple: there are no deadlines, and eligible nonprofits can apply for one grant each year. Just create an account on the funder’s website to apply online. You can watch videos on how to set up an account or how to apply for a grant on the Application Process page as well.

The foundation awards about 140 grants per year, totaling around $1.5 million. Past causes supported include children and youth, adult substance abuse, homelessness, diabetes care, and disaster response. McDonough has also collaborated with the West Virginia Office of Child Nutrition and Bureau of Public Health, as well as other private and public funders on health initiatives that build playgrounds, community gardens, and other healthy lifestyle projects.

The foundation is governed by five board members and four officers. The best way to reach them is by phone, (304) 424-6280. Its website is pretty bare bones and doesn’t offer too many insights into what the funder is looking for in new grantees or stories of what its past grantees have been doing. But if you have any questions about applying for a grant, your best point of contact is Katrina Valentine at (304) 424-6280 or katrina@mcdonoughfoundation.org.

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