RFP: Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan seeks regionally-focused projects

Projects in Southeast Michigan that engage the community and support the region’s growth

Amount: $20,000 – $50,000 (preference $30,000)

Internal Deadline: April 7, 2023

Foundation Deadline for invited proposals, May 15, 2023, 5 PM; projects must start after the funding decision is made at the end of September 2023.

Initial Application: Brief concept paper, submitted to Maureen Martin at martinms@umich.edu

Geographic Focus: Washtenaw, Wayne, Macomb, Oakland, Livingston, Monroe and St. Clair counties

Focus Area: Projects should promote community good, be regionally focused, promote collaboration, create potential for community impact, and build the capacity of the community.

Foundation Relations’ Advice on Applying for CFSEM
CFSEM Grantmaking Guidelines

At the request of the sponsor, Foundation Relations will present brief concept papers to the foundation’s vice president for programs. In mid-October, the foundation will invite up to one project to submit a full proposal. The full proposal is due November 15. For questions on this process, contact Maureen Martin in Foundation Relations. Foundation Relations will follow up with all PIs who submit a concept paper. 

A brief concept paper narrative must address the following: What is the idea you propose? Are there other projects/programs that are similar?How does the proposed project fill a gap or complement current programming?What are the outcomes of your project?What need does it address?What might be your community partner’s perspective of the need?What is the geographic focus of the project?How much are you requesting and how will you use the funding? How will the project be sustained after the grant period ends?Which community partners are you working with (if any) and what are their roles on your project?What is the timeline for your project?
Advice from Foundation Relations
Based on feedback from past iterations of this process with CFSEM, we suggest the following: 

Project Timeline A decision will be made by CFSEM Board of Directors at the end of September 2023

Sustainable funding is critical. The sustainability plan articulated in the concept paper is often a deciding factor in the foundation’s decision to invite a proposal. Sustainability can be long-term adoption by a partner, or it can mean the problem is solved within this timeframe, or you can have a funding plan. Demonstrate how your project will be sustainable beyond the foundation’s one year of funding. Include an explanation as to why a single grant at this time will make a difference in solving the problem.There is little-to-no interest in research. The foundation is generally not interested in academic research. Most funding from the foundation is programmatic in nature – frame any research components as evaluation of a pilot or trial.Community partnerships must demonstrate partner interest and mutual benefits. CFSEM has been skeptical about U-M’s ability to identify and serve the needs of community members or partner organizations. In your concept paper, articulate the value and motivation of your community partners, where applicable. Community partners should be described as actively engaged hosts of proposed projects rather than passive partners or recipients of ideas/projects from the University of Michigan.  It can be beneficial for the community partner to be the lead applicant in some cases.
Proposal Support
Maureen Martin in Foundation Relations can answer questions about the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, edit and review proposals, connect you to other resources, and discuss fit with the foundation