Scholarships for Students, Grants for Nonprofits
By Dianne Anderson
All high school students looking for free money for college, and all nonprofits that want to learn where and how to get their next round of grant funding need not look far.
The Community Foundation serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties recently announced the opening of scholarship season. Financially shrewd takers are encouraged to get their applications in now.
Awards vary in size, but every little bit helps.
“The money really does lift some of the burdens for students so they can focus on their studies more, typically for books, parking passes, food, and the basics,” said Charee Gillins, spokesperson for the Community Foundation in Riverside.
Scholarships are created by donors in the community with very specific goals for who gets the money. As an example, one scholarship recently closed with a local bank, which she said had very easy criteria open to any graduating high school senior in Riverside County.
While that scholarship is now closed, there are several others, including those that target specific populations, such as Latino and African American students.
“We’ve got scholarships open for students graduating high school in Coachella Valley. In some cases, the scholarships will award only money to Hispanic students,” she said.
But a great mix of scholarships is available, set by individuals looking to serve specific populations.
“For African American students attending Riverside or San Bernardino County, they can apply for scholarships set up by three scholarship funds,” she said.
Some of the funds were set up by local community leaders, including African American philanthropists, and some who have served on Riverside City Council. That scholarship money is designated for outstanding students that live in Riverside or San Bernardino counties.
There are several scholarships open between now and April 30.
“For the most part, it’s pretty wide-ranging,” she said. “There are scholarships for students in the Palm Desert, in Lake Elsinore, and across the different ethnic populations.”
In general, that funding is available for nonprofits at the donor request to be used for very specific causes or goals. It could be to exclusively support blue-eyed cats that reside in a specific town, or abused women and children, or funding for the elderly, or African American students.
Funding also comes by way of by endowments, set up to honor the donor’s wishes, and the money can span any number of donor interests. She said the agency cannot take funding from one pot to put into another.
Each year, the Community Foundation also hosts its Give Big San Bernardino County campaign, a 24-hour online marathon to bring down money to help support nonprofits, along with regular local training, and an application opportunity to compete for grants.
Right now, they are accepting applications for their Community Impact Fund grant, serving nonprofits in both counties, that will use the money to strengthen capacity building, infrastructure, and operations. Those grants are about $10,000 each.
Gillins is equally excited about their Youth Grantmakers Program, and its group of high school students that participate in analyzing grant proposals, debating and making decisions on which nonprofits that serve teens will receive modest grant funding to implement their projects. The board approves their decision.
“They assess the need among their peers of what are the issues that face our generation, and what can we do through these nonprofits to solve it?” she said.
Coming up, local nonprofits are invited out to a workshop to learn how to gain an advantage in competing for upcoming grants. Many grassroots programs are usually so busy in the trenches helping the community, that they may not have the time or resources to learn how to go after the money.
On March 28, the community is invited out to their San Bernardino office from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Participants are asked to RSVP. Also upcoming, she said their free technical workshop will advise on how to apply for the grants.
“There’s no guarantee, but at least you can have an idea of what to expect in the application,” Gillins said. “We’ll be talking about preparing and submitting a successful grant application for the community impact fund.”
For more information on scholarships, see https://www.thecommunityfoundation.net/grants/
Or grant schedule for nonprofits, see, https://www.thecommunityfoundation.net/grants/grants/grant-schedule