Is Individual Grantmaking a bad idea?

If you as an individual want to write a grant to lets say 1st year K-12 teachers in school districts with a higher then 70% free/reduced lunch student population.

The award amounts would be $1000 and you would award 5 grants per year.

Would it be worth to set up a foundation?

I can’t see any reason to but information on individual grantmaking is sparse, and that always makes me nervous.

by way of extending the above question, would it make sense to have a “foundation that funnels individual contributions to grant recipients specified by the contributor”? That way let’s say rat avatar could give grants to inner city teachers while code_grey could give grants to people who do R&D in the field of remote academic tutoring for cities and suburbs alike, all through the same foundation.

Why don’t you just use It already does what you want it to do: identify the neediest students, who seek relatively small amounts of funding for specific classroom needs. (just sort by “highest poverty”)

No time for comprehensive answer. Aside from tax consequences, forming your own foundation isn’t going to be any different than you doing it yourself. Existing foundations would be able to weed out fraud and and ensure performance by the grantee. Would be able, but often don’t.

There’s a danger that, if you go with your own “foundation”, contributions may not be tax-deductible. So, if you were hoping that you could take a few thousand of your own money and select needy kids on your own and give them the money, you might not be allowed to count that as a charitable contribution for IRS purposes. That’s a complex question for a tax and/or nonprofit organization attorney.

In a nutshell the OP would need to form his/her own non profit corp. once they have their own 503 whatever corp, it has its own tax ID and they could probably donate to it personally and have it be tax deductible.

Hello Again,

Because I want to target STEM teachers, and I want to assist them with the $1000 per year that an average teacher pays for supplies out of their own pocket but would never be funded by a typical grant.

However thank you for showing me that site, I will donate some money there after I get a clarification on them about one of their expense line items.

I do donate to Kids In Need Foundation, their numbers are awesome!!

I am actually quite disheartened but it appears that grant making is a high profit area, and people want you to go to seminars etc…as if you were buying a time share.

I also had the same thought as you, I am actually looking into the legality and tax implications of setting a system up. If I can build something and keep the overhead low and keep it part time I may very well just do that.

Like Kiva or micro-finance but in reverse and with grants.

Where the small scale philanthropist can offer a grant, receive submissions and award it based on their preferences.

Although it may be that I just document my experience and post it to the web in case others need the information.

Since there’s so much overhead in establishing your own foundation, you can instead give money to your local community foundation (here’s the website, for example, for The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven) and then work with them to direct the money where you choose. You can also put money in a Fidelity Investments fund called the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, and again direct the money as you choose (within limitations of course).

I still don’t understand how it doesn’t meet your goal – you can search by Most Poverty + Subject area if you only want science/math/technology needs. There are 6,500 projects meeting those search criteria. Simply choose the ones seeking basic supplies.

Algebra teacher seeks desks
Science teacher seeks supplies for worm composting
Science teacher seeks science fiction and non-fiction books

Why would you want to make these teachers go through the process of applying for a grant, when there is already a system set up to match your funds with their needs? That makes more work for these teachers, not less.

You mean… like

Dewey Finn,

I appriciate the input however Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund charges 60 basis points daily for small funds, they also have a transaction fee and a minimum annual $100 fee.

Both of those organizations also do not make grants to individual teachers, they have policies to only fund non-profits.

I can see the value of that system if you were looking to set up an annuity but I am looking to personally fund the grants from a budged portion of my income at the time of award, I would not benefit from an investment that grew tax free.

In that case, why do you want to establish a foundation? Just give the money from current income and deal with the tax consequences at yearend.

Hello Again,

I was being generic with my original question, I am looking to fund items that are not the type of need a teacher would post in a public form because they are needs derived out of the personal situations of students, these are costs that teachers often pay out of their own pockets.

I am not saying I would require a full blown grant proposal, I am looking for a page on why they need the money and what it will be used for.

That being said that does look like a great charity and as I said I will most likely be donating to them in the future, it just doesn’t fill the need that caused me to ask the question here.

I am sorry if I seem like I am being obtuse on the information I am providing but I want to keep this discussion out of the great debates :slight_smile:

That is the plan, but as I have been researching grant making I was noting a lack of information on doing it as an individual, I was trying to ensure there was not a reason for that, outside of tax benefits.
I have no desire to form a foundation if it is not needed.

I understand. I’ve said my piece. :slight_smile:

I willing to bet that you won’t be able to make tax-deductible grants to individual teachers for the same reason that these organizations can’t; that most teachers don’t run 501(c) organizations out of their classrooms. Now some school districts run affiliated charitable foundations, so perhaps you might see if the schools you’re interested in do so.

Regarding, that’s been exactly my experience - a lot of those projects are things that teachers are normally paying for. And if you can’t find any such projects near you that are listed on, then I’d strongly suggest you tell any teachers you know that are doing that to put those costs up as a class project on the site.

There are a few non-obvious upsides to One is that often times, a local foundation or company is matching donations for certain projects. For you, that means either you can double the effectiveness of your donation, or you can promote a particular type of project (STEM teachers paying for school expenses out of their pocket) by being that sponsor. As a donor, I know I tend to gravitate towards projects that are sponsored like that.

Secondly, usually purchases these items for the classes, which enables your dollar to go farther, because there aren’t any taxes paid on the expenses, since is a 501c3.

Excellent - they’re one of my favorites as well. I highly recommend you make a few calls. One to your local rep to ask for more details and how you might be able to get more involved, and a second to your local school that you want to support, and encourage them to submit projects that are more in line with what you want to donate for.