Fall 2010

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Cooperating Collections Offer Free Access to Foundation Center Resources

Peg Elliott, Supervisor Nonprofit Resource Center, Onondaga County Public Library, Syracuse, NY

Fall 2010 issue of Trustee

You only need to look as far as your nearest Foundation Center Cooperating Collection if you are looking for grant funding to continue or expand your library’s programs, materials, technology upgrades or building projects.  The Foundation Center, through its national network of over 450 affiliate libraries, called Cooperating Collections, provides nonprofit organizations free access to a core selection of print and online resources and a variety of supplementary materials and services in all areas of interest to grant seekers. Need fundraising ideas or information and tips about grant proposal writing? Each Cooperating Collection provides centralized information that enables nonprofits to identify sources of funding, construct successful proposals, and secure funding. This information is not available through free websites or other online sources.  


The Foundation Center is the leading authority on all aspects of philanthropy.  The Center was established in 1956 and for more than fifty years has been connecting nonprofits and the grant makers that support them to tools they can use and information they can trust. It undertakes research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level.  Through the network of Cooperating Collections, the Foundation Center helps grant seekers, grant makers, researchers, policymakers, the media, and the general public better understand the field of philanthropy.  Most of the Cooperating Collections are located in public libraries. In New York State, we are lucky to have 31 locations. Each Cooperating Collection supervisor is charged with educating its local nonprofit community and promoting the resources and services of the Foundation Center.


Visitors to any of these Collections will find a core selection of Foundation Center resources such as:

• After the Grant: The Nonprofit’s Guide to Good Stewardship

• The Foundation Center’s Guide to Proposal Writing

• The Grantseeker’s Guide to Winning Proposals

• Online access to the Foundation Directory Online (FDO) Database


FDO is considered the “gold standard” for online grants research. An excellent resource for finding alternative or additional grant funding for your library, FDO provides comprehensive and accurate information on U.S. grant makers and their funding activities. FDO includes profiles on more than 98,000 United States foundations, direct corporate giving programs, company-sponsored foundations, 900,000 recent grants, and more than 400,000 key decision-makers.


The Foundation Center continually monitors more than 35 diverse information sources to verify the details in each grant maker profile, and updates the database weekly. Data is compiled into four searchable databases: Grantmakers, Companies, Grants, and 990s. Users can refine their search results using up to 12 indexed search fields and other custom-search options in order to discover potential funders for their endeavors.

FDO is available to organizations for purchase in five subscription levels from Basic to Professional. A single user subscription to the Professional level is $1,295 per year.  Each Cooperating Collection pays a modest annual membership fee which provides them with the print resources as well as full access to the highest level of FDO available at a savings to their library of more than $2,500 if they were to purchase each item at full cost outside of the Cooperating Collection agreement.


In the immediate future, public funding for libraries may continue to decrease. Public libraries plus local and regional nonprofit agencies, using resources available through the Cooperating Collection network, can more easily search for alternative, non-public funding sources, ultimately becoming less dependent on scarce public funding.


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