Something unusual happened recently. Actually, it’s not just unusual, but unprecedented. In the 12 years we’ve been sending out our e-mail grant newsletter, no funder has written to point out their RFP or program. Last week, not just one, but two of them did. It would be more accurate to say that some kind of PR firms hired by the foundations contacted us, but even so, I’m impressed and surprised because in all the years we’ve been putting together the grant newsletter, we’ve had to do all the research necessary to find the RFPs contained in it each week.
If this week marks a permanent change, it will certainly be for the better: readers will find out about grant opportunities they might have otherwise missed, while foundations will (hopefully) receive better applications than they otherwise would have.
Still, in “Foundations and the Future” I wrote that “we’ve never been called by funders asking how the process might be improved is zero. Never. Not once.” That’s still true, but maybe at some point that will change too.
On a separate note, I’d like to make an entry in the annals of poorly named programs: what might you guess the Helping Organizations and Programs Expand (HOPE III) program does? I didn’t have the slightest idea; HUD’s HOPE VI program funds the redevelopment of public housing projects, so I thought perhaps HOPE III would be related.
But I was wrong: instead, HOPE III is about studying crime victims. This is one reason we have a headline/teaser at the top of each grant in the newsletter: we try to pithily describe what each grant does, so you’ll be able to figure out if you want to actually apply for it, rather than hiding its purpose in the description or a nondescript name. Now that we have pegged HOPE III and HOPE VI, perhaps a knowledgeable reader can let us know what happened to HOPEs I, II, IV, V, and so on.