Taproot Helps You Develop Yourself So That You Can Develop Others

The Taproot Foundation doesn't grant cash to workforce development programs (or to anyone). But what it does grant is something many organizations would be hard-pressed to achieve on their own: the substantial ability to develop 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. Their support of workforce development organizations falls under their Social Services category, which Taproot describes 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.

The catch is that the organizations doing the "employment and training" work 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 the 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 workforce development grantee is JVS Los Angeles, an organization that describes itself as "dedicated to helping people overcome barriers to employment in order to find stable jobs and support their families." JVS Los Angeles received a Strategic Planning Prep Service Grant.

Another recent grantee working in the "employment and training" realm: Community of Hope in Washington D.C., whose mission is to create "opportunities for low-income families. . .  to achieve good health, a stable home, family-sustaining income, and hope." Community of Hope received a Visual Identity & Brand Strategy 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 blueprints together and go for it.

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Taproot Foundation: Bay Area Grants

Taproot Foundation: Chicago Grants

Taproot Foundation: Los Angeles Grants

Taproot Foundation: New York Grants