An innovative approach that was already underway before COVID-19 struck has proved a lifesaver for local organizations – and Lyle S. Hallman Foundation is leading the way.
Typically, large grantors like Lyle S. Hallman Foundation require lengthy application processes, creating an extra burden on nonprofit organizations – both in applying for grants, and reporting back on the impact of the funds.
Back in 2018, the foundation started a reexamination of how they were doing things – and decided they could do better.
“The biggest barriers are the restrictions that come from funding,” said Laura Manning, Executive Director of Lyle S. Hallman Foundation. “Organizations often have to cobble together support from different areas.”
They piloted a new approach of granting, providing unrestricted giving to organizations that they already had a strong relationship with. Then the pandemic hit – and they decided they needed to continue this approach, to provide some much-needed stability.
“The standard application process seemed a really inappropriate approach, given the situation,” said Laura. “Organizations were shut down, and didn’t know if they could run programs. Nobody knew what was going to happen.”
The Foundation decided to do a series of grants to its partners, to “help them get through this.” Grants were handed out proactively, based on previous funding. No applications were required, and the grants were unrestricted, allowing the organizations to use them as needed.
For House of Friendship, that has meant unrestricted grants totalling $800,000 since 2020, providing much-needed support and flexibility to cope with the added challenges of the pandemic.
Laura said that because of the relational approach Lyle S. Hallman Foundation already uses, it wasn’t difficult to transition to this new way of doing things.
“We really believe that if you do not trust an organization enough to provide unrestricted grants, you probably shouldn’t be working with them at all,” said Laura. “We see our grants as an investment in the organization – we believe in what you are doing, so go ahead and do it.”
Thanks to Lyle S. Hallman Foundation for not only funding programs that build a strong foundation for children and youth in Waterloo Region, but for doing it in an innovative way, allowing for flexibility and stability during challenging times!