What is a social benefit organization?
A social benefit organization is one whose mission focuses on public good, rather than profit. It might take the form of a 501c3 nonprofit or another structure. Most Springboard applicants will be incorporated as nonprofits.
The guidelines say that Durfee is looking for groups that are “applying an innovative model to a complex challenge.” Does that mean that what we are doing must be completely new and original?
While it is difficult to define “innovation,” we are seeking new, and likely untested, strategies to solve problems and advance positive change in Los Angeles. Providing needed services where they do not exist is not necessarily innovative, for the purposes of Springboard. We are especially interested in projects that bring together different communities , in the belief that a cross-sector approach is most likely to achieve long-term success.
When can I expect a response to my inquiry letter?
You should receive a letter or phone call in response to your letter within four weeks of receipt.
What process does the Durfee Foundation go through to make the grants?
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Upon receipt of the application form, Durfee staff will determine whether the proposed project meets the program guidelines. If an application moves beyond the initial screening, the applicant will receive a call from foundation staff to gather additional information. The next step is a site visit to the organization, and then the foundation’s Board of Trustees makes a final determination on the grant. The board meets three times per year, so the full review can take up to four months.
What is the size of the grants?
Grants are up to $50,000 over two years, typically payable in two installments of up to $25,000 each. The organization must submit a satisfactory progress report before receiving the second year’s installment.
What do organizations use the grant dollars for?
Durfee Springboard Fund grants are unrestricted general support grants that the recipient uses as it best sees fit. Grantees are typically at a critical development stage and use the Springboard funds strategically to take their work to the next level. For example, they may be used to rent a first office, pay a salary supplement to allow a staff person to devote more time to the organization, hire a grantwriter, create a web site or buy needed equipment.
How many grants are made each year?
Approximately two to three per year. We recognize that it is difficult to launch a new organization, especially during this challenging economic climate, and that applicants may have difficult securing support beyond the Durfee grant. For this reason, the Springboard Fund review process is highly selective, and will favor projects that show promise of long-term viability.
How does the mentoring part of the grant program work?
Through its Sabbatical Program (provide link), the Durfee Foundation works with some of the most highly regarded nonprofit leaders in Los Angeles County. Durfee pairs Springboard grant recipients with these seasoned nonprofit leaders as mentors to offer guidance and advice based on their years of running successful nonprofit organizations. Springboard grantees have a certain number of guaranteed hours of access to their mentors during the two-year grant period. To see profiles of some of the Springboard mentor teams, click here [link to profiles.]
Our community group seems to fit your guidelines, but we have never received a grant before. Are we eligible?
Yes, organizations that have not received prior institutional funding are encouraged to apply.
I am the director of a new, community-based venture that is a project of a larger institution. I know that my employing organization is not eligible for Springboard Fund support, but can we apply for support just for the project’s start-up?
No. Springboard Fund support is reserved exclusively for new, free-standing ventures.
I am opening a Los Angeles-based, satellite office for a nonprofit that is headquartered outside LA County. Can we apply to support the start-up costs of the LA office?
Yes, as long as the parent organization meets the Springboard criteria for innovation in problem solving.