Seeking charity funding...
March 21, 2007 6:28 PM   Subscribe

CharityFilter: I'm helping a friend get funding to start an orphanage in China, and I'm looking for organizations, nonprofits, and/or foundations that fund charitable activities (specifically healthcare-related efforts)...

So far, I've identified the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as possible donors—what are some other organizations that may be able contribute to this cause? Or how can I go about getting in touch with charities that specialize in this area?

posted by 777 to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
777, I don't wanna be a downer, but you might be undertaking a tough one here. The big donors usually only give money to well-established organizations, and often only ones that have US counterparts that are registered 503c. Maybe start by googling "start a non-profit" and maybe look into established orphanages in China that could use a good US partner to help?
posted by k8t at 8:54 PM on March 21, 2007

k8t is right on--except she means 501(c)(3). To be frank, there is no way that you'll get a cent out of Gates or Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. If you really want to fund raise in the U.S. you need to start a nonprofit which really starts with forming a board and building up stakeholders. This isn't a short or easy process. The only shortcut that I can think of is to go to your church (if you have one- or use someone else's who is involved) and get them to take on the project. The church will already be a U.S. charity and will be able to accept tax exempt donations, etc.
posted by fieldtrip at 10:03 PM on March 21, 2007

Oh, and some resources to learn about how nonprofits work: independent sector, foundation directory, chronicle of philanthropy, and the irs.
posted by fieldtrip at 10:06 PM on March 21, 2007

Your best resource for researching foundations is the Foundation Center which fieldtrip linked to above. If you get the paid membership (which is pretty cheap), you can search by interest area, and get a list of foundations interested in international relief, China, children, etc.

However, k8t's advice is spot on. Large established foundations probably aren't going to help you. I work in for a large international relief NGO in the area of foundation funding, and the project you describe is too small for the big guys like Gates, Buffet, Ford, Packard, or Johnson.

Your best bet will be to look for major individual donors or family foundations. They may be hard to access, but many of them like projects where their dollars can have a big effect. You could also try churches, although unless the orphanage has some sort of religious componment, they may not go for it.
posted by kimdog at 9:31 AM on March 22, 2007

I work for a company that does resource development (the fancy name for fundraising) for nonprofits. The folks here use the Foundation Center for background research, but we always tell our clients that the importance of personal contact with the giver cannot be overstated.

One approach that we recommend is getting together a list of small, local foundations that includes the names of their boards and program officers (if they have them). You then distribute that list to everyone on your friend's Board, organizational staff, etc. and have them review to see if they know anyone at the foundations. Those folks would then call the people they know, explain the project, and ask if the foundation would have any interest. Then you would send the foundation a proposal. Making contact with the foundation first will give you a much better chance of getting funded then sending in a cold proposal.
posted by qldaddy at 9:51 AM on March 22, 2007

I have some helpful information that may be at least part of what you are looking re funding for your orphanage.

email me on

Send me your phone number & country code of course...
I will email, but may also ring you....

best wishes, Mary Bosveld
posted by SamanthaW at 4:20 AM on March 26, 2007

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