The Charles County Charitable Trust has announced awarding grants to 28 nonprofit organizations for the fiscal year beginning July 1. With a total of $784,100 in grant funds to distribute, allocations ranged from $3,000 to $55,000.
“This is the fourth cycle we have handled,” said Vivian Mills, Trust executive director. “This year as in previous ones, our Board of Directors was faced with the tough decision of how best to distribute the funds, especially since the total amount requested was close to two million dollars.” The county government is the source of the grant money, which is provided to the Trust under the terms of an agreement with the County Commissioners. In managing the Nonprofit Grant Award Program, the Trust is committed to standards of fairness, balance, and transparency. Mills added that grant-seeking is competitive by nature and the amount available often does not stretch far enough to meet all the requests. This year the Trust limited the maximum size of requests to $65,000 but no organization got an award reaching that level. Several nonprofits are receiving lower amounts than in the previous year.
The preponderance of grant funds are going to nonprofits that provide essential services to county residents across a broad spectrum of needs, including health and dental care, shelter, job training, and education. Basic requirements to qualify for consideration include IRS-conferred status as a 501c3 charitable organization, good standing as a nonprofit corporation in Maryland, and evidence of the ability to carry out the intended services described in the application. The system in place for determining the awards involves multiple reviews of the applications through small-team discussions and then analysis and consensus by the Trust’s board in a plenary session lasting several hours. Nonprofits that got turned down in this cycle are invited to ask for feedback to help them understand where their application fell short.
During the next twelve months the Trust will carry out site visits to the recipient nonprofits, which will be required to submit mid-year and end-of-year reports. Planning is already under way for the grant cycle for Fiscal Year 2021.
The deadline for submitting applications using an online process is expected to be announced this fall. Mills said that the County government’s financial support for the work of the local nonprofit sector meets real needs that cannot be met without such a source. Unlike many jurisdictions, Charles County is not home to sizable private foundations, whose mission focuses specifically on grant-making.
Further information is available from the Trust by contacting Program Director Susan Petroff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-934-3711.