Our grant writers were successful in raising funds through a diverse group of grants for a variety of our services.
Special Thanks to all who donate to St Vincent de Paul
Local Foundations Key to Our Support
St. Vincent de Paul and its Conferences operate with an annual budget of more than $1 million. Over half of these funds are generated in-house by our Thrift Store revenues, while another $350,000 comes from foundation and government grants. Individual contributions, including the annual “Light the Winter Fires”, Christian Charities Golf Invitational and area church support, round out our major sources of funds. This diversification of sources of funds strategy helps our Council secure the monies we need to operate in a more predictable manner. Social Services and Home Visitation Conferences as well as the Dental Program all benefit from these supplemental funds.
“Most of our foundation grants come from Southern Oregon family foundations,” says Rich Hansen, who coordinates the fundraising effort for St. Vincent’s. “There are a variety of statewide or local foundations willing to assist our mission of helping the less fortunate.” Through attending seminars, searching the internet and word-of-mouth, Hansen has built a list of likely supporters. “We identify which area each foundation specializes in, such as helping children, health care or homelessness, and write our grant application accordingly,” he says.
In the past, the Rogue Valley Council avoided government grants because of red tape and record keeping. However, this year we did secure a $30,000 federal housing grant through the City of Ashland and $30,000 from the city of Medford. We also got $3,000 from the Medford Water Commission to help defray utility bills in Social Services, and $35,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Administration to augment our Pantry and Kitchen.
Although St. Vincent’s has been applying for grant monies for many years, grant solicitation really peaked several years ago during the $3 million capital campaign and included major national and regional groups like Bill & Melinda Gates, Paul Allen and Naumes Family Foundations and the Meyer Memorial Trust. “The other thing we learned during the capital campaign is that we shouldn’t be shy about asking for larger amounts,” Hansen continues. “Since then we have expanded the circle of foundations we work with and the amount each gives us.”
The fact that St. Vincent’s is an all-volunteer organization is very significant when asking for financial support. Volunteerism probably saves St. Vincent’s over $500,000 annually in salaries and benefits, and assures our supporters that their funds are going to support the needy. The foundations want to know that you are a prudent financial manager and when they learn we are all-volunteer they seem to really appreciate it. It’s also a huge plus that we generate over half of our annual financial needs internally through the Thrift Store. It matters that we aren’t totally dependent on outside support.
In the last few years St. Vincent has received new or expanded support from numerous groups, including the West Family Foundation and the Cheney Family Foundation in Jacksonville; the Greater Medford and District Rotary Clubs; US Bank, Collins and PGE Foundations in Portland; and the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation from Roseburg. “Occasionally we are turned down,” Hansen laments. “It’s usually because a foundation’s key mission and ours don’t totally mesh. So we’ve learned to read the guidelines carefully and fit our next application more precisely into their interest area”
Most foundations have an established application procedure with specified attachments, deadlines, etc. On the other hand, some others do not accept unsolicited applications. They prescreen whom they will donate to. Examples where we have been fortunate to receive support include the Naumes Family Foundation, Ames-Fluhrer Charitable Fund and Raskob Foundation
Written by Rich Hansen