Last year, a donor at FJC decided she wanted to focus on a new program area: immigrant-serving nonprofits in New York City. But where to start? In consultation with the donor, FJC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to several community-based organizations throughout the five boroughs. The result: eight outstanding nonprofit organizations received grants of approximately $20,000.
The process began with the donor’s clear commitment to addressing urgent issues facing immigrant communities during these unprecedented pandemic times. The donor also decided that while New York City is home to robust citywide membership organizations and coalitions, the donor’s preference was to provide grants directly to organizations doing work “on the ground” in neighborhoods. Following a consultation with staff at the NYC Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs, the RFP was written to solicit proposals about a broad range social services, including food security and legal services.
Within weeks, FJC received the responses to the RFP and the donor was able to evaluate the proposals and recommend eight grants. As with any donor recommendation, FJC’s board approved the grants and staff facilitated the grant disbursements from the donor’s DAF account.
The eight organizations funded are: Adhikaar, African Communities Together, La Colmena, COPO, MASA, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, Project Hospitality, and Sauti Yetu.
FJC was able to offer the donor expertise about designing and distributing the opportunity to a targeted subset of nonprofits that aligned with her commitment. Furthermore, reviewing the RFP responses provided the donor nuanced insights to a range of issues facing immigrant communities across New York City, including food security, mental health, and the importance of targeted cash assistance. “There was a mix of very particular concerns and issues that were cross-cutting across the various organizations,” said a representative of the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous.
The RFP process was also designed not to overburden the applicant organizations. “So many organizations are struggling right now,” said the donor. “We wanted to make the process of applying as easy as possible.” The RFP requested materials that nonprofit organizations typically have readily prepared: a budget and a two-page narrative about communities being served, the organization’s goals for the grant resources, and how they measure impact.
“The RFP was very timely,” said Aakriti Khanal, Development and Research Coordinator for Adhikaar, a Queens-based social justice organization serving the Nepali-speaking community. “We appreciated how straightforward the process was and how flexible these grant resources are, so we can be creative in responding to the urgent needs of our members during the pandemic,” citing the need to shift services and English empowerment classes online. She also noted that immigrant-serving organizations like Adhikaar anticipate a more favorable policy environment on issues facing immigrant communities in the years to come. “Now is the time that real change can happen,” she said.
FJC welcomes donors that are interested, individually or jointly, in selecting multiple organizations for grant support of $15,000 or more through RFPs. FJC can work with interested donors to design and distribute the RFP, collect the responses, and process the grant recommendations once the donor selects the organizations. Please contact CEO Sam Marks to get started