Working With Foundations
If you work with foundations you have no doubt received calls or notes from people asking if you know foundations that support particular causes. Because of my role with The Gathering I get my share. Typically, I try to explain having a list of foundations to contact isn't all that helpful. For one, the descriptions of what they fund are often not current or not accurate and, second, so many decisions are made based on relationships and many other intangibles. (If you have a foundation you should go online to the Foundation Center (www.foundationcenter.org ) and see how your interests are described).
Some time ago, I received a note from a young friend who has been active in Young Life and she was taking the initiative to look for foundations that would support their work in Africa. I wondered if there was something I could do other than caution her about working a list of foundation. I contacted a friend on the board of Young Life and he contacted an executive in the national development office. The executive got in touch with my friend and coached her. He did not simply repeat my perspective on foundations and he did not discourage her. I've not always seen that work with development directors. They sometimes block people with initiative because it might upset the overall development plan for the ministry. I appreciate Young Life's approach and hope my young friend learns some things she can pass along to others!