It wasn’t my equity idea – but I’m proud to be a part of it!

A few months ago, I was contacted by a friend at the City of Joliet because I teach a Certificate of Nonprofit Administration at Joliet Junior College (JJC).  Both the City of Joliet and the County of Will accept and re-grant CDBG monies (Community Development Block Grants).

Over the years of implementing the CDBG program, my friend noticed that many small neighborhood nonprofits begin the application process, but are often kicked out of the online application system early due to lack of governance, financial reports, and other required documents and data.  Because the small nonprofits don’t make it past the grant application, these large grant dollars end up going to the large area nonprofits with the knowledge of governance and expertise in completing grant applications.

Now, it isn’t a bad thing that large nonprofits are getting grant funds to provide services, but is a sad thing that small nonprofits are not able to access sizable grant dollars and put them to work in their neighborhoods – in a way that is different from the programs being implemented by the large nonprofits.  In many ways, these small neighborhood nonprofits have a closer pulse on the needs of the neighborhood, have built a rapport, and have earned the trust of the residents they are trying to serve.

“This is an equity issue,” explained my friend.  “To date, these neighborhood nonprofits have to be bumped from the application process, so how do we ramp up their governance, data, and reporting so that they get to move from one screen to the next of the online application, so that they get approved, so that they get grant dollars to put to work in the neighborhood?  You teach nonprofits at JJC – come teach for us.”

From there the Nonprofit Business Bootcamp was born.  Together with Brian Kincaid at the JJC Entrepreneur & Business Center, we are teaching three 2-hour sessions for the neighborhood nonprofits who need to improve their governance, compliance, and financial reporting in preparation for the CDGB grant application.  Our first session was a great success and we are told that word has gotten out – our 2nd session is expected to have double the audience!

The more the merrier!  What a great day when small neighborhood nonprofits are not late to the game or behind the 8-ball when it comes to accessing what should be rightfully (competitively?) theirs!  The secondary gain for them is that they will be prepared for any other grant application and any donor conversation – which brings more money into their nonprofits to serve more residents and increase the programs they can offer.

If your community is experiencing a similar inequity environment, reach out and we’ll see how we can help!

[email protected]


Want more nonprofit tips?

Subscribe to our newsletter.