Rush, experts to visit New Lenox to discuss how to earn grants
BY FRANK VAISVILAS Correspondent March 27, 2014 6:02PM
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-1st | File photo
Updated: April 29, 2014 6:36AM
The good news is that philanthropy appears to be on the rise in Illinois, but the bad news is that some local governments are having to rely more on donations.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-1st, and experts in grant funding will discuss this and other issues, as well as provide information about available grants, during a seminar from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday at New Lenox Village Hall, 1 Veterans Parkway.
“What we are noticing are small municipalities that are in need of basic services, from fire department equipment to other city services,” said Debra Johnson, communications director for Rush.
Private donors appear more willing to provide funding, especially if it benefits their community directly, according to Robin Berkson, senior vice president of Donors Forum, a Chicago-based association of nonprofits, grantmakers and advisors.
Berkson will be attending Friday’s seminar, explaining to nonprofit and municipal representatives what corporate and private foundation donors are interested in.
“We’ll help folks understand that funders are starting to regard grants as investments in strengthening their communities, rather than just charity,” Berkson said.
She said it’s helpful, but not necessary, if a nonprofit or municipality has a professional grantwriter, as long as whoever is filing the grant request understands what potential donors are looking for.
Berkson points to a 2013 report from the Donors Forum and the New York-based Foundation Center showing that the giving of more than 4,200 Illinois foundations reached a record high in 2011.
Philanthropic giving in Illinois rose 86 percent from 2001 to 2011, according to the report, compared with a national average of 61 percent during the same period.
During the seminar, Rush, Berkson and others will talk about the different project grants, media grants, technical grants and general support grants that are available for 501(c)(3) nonprofits, government agencies or faith-based organizations.
Johnson said about 100 attendees have signed up for the seminar, but there’s room for plenty more.