A few years ago, the CDS Finance Committee had an interesting and fun problem to solve. Our operations finance account had more money in it than was required to maintain our yearly operations. The excess of cash was due to our recent well-attended annual conferences. The CDS Polices and Operational Guidelines (POG) required the Finance Committee; “To prudently invest funds not immediately needed for the operation of the CDS, in order to provide a reasonable return, while limiting the risk of loss.” Much debate ensued in the Finance Committee and the CDS Board of Directors (BOD) on how CDS would invest and use these funds in the future. At the Fall 2014 BOD meeting in Lexington, KY, the decision was to create a Strategic Initiatives Fund (SIF) with two accounts, a SIF Working Account (SIFWA) and a SIF Investment account (SIFIA) utilizing a 20/80% allocation between the accounts. The SIFIA was invested with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and the SIFWA was placed in an interest bearing money market account. Quarterly distributions from the SIFIA would go the SIFWA. These accounts would also be funded by any surplus cash that exceeds 120% of the maximum cash flows requirements for the upcoming yearly operational budget. The initial allocation to the two accounts was $120,000 to the SIFIA and $30,000 to the SIFWA with the caveat that up to 60% of the SIFWA could be awarded from the SIFWA every year to fund strategic projects that are in tgye interest of CDS . Currently, the total current SIF funds is $168,771.24 with $33,467.16 in the SIF working account and $135,304.08 in the SIF Investment account.
While this was an exciting time for the finance committee and CDS, it created yet one more problem. How would CDS allocate funds from the SIFWA in a fair and equitable manner and ensure that the funded projects would be in the Interest of the Community Development Society? An ad-hoc sub-committee of the CDS Finance Committee was formed to analyze the issue and after months of debate, it was decided that Community Development Society should offer grants funded by the SIF. Two new grant programs were developed, the Community Development Society Institutional Capacity Grant (CDSICG) Program and Community Development Advancement Grant (CDAG) Program. Each grant program could award up to 30% of SIFWA every year. The two new grants programs were accepted by unanimous vote at CDS BOD at their 2016 yearly meeting in Bloomington, Minnesota. The initial solicitations for grant applications for the programs will be released in January of 2017 on the comm-dev.org web site and in an e-mail to all members. The CDs finance committee anticipates having $10,000 available for each grant program to allocate next year.
The Community Development Society Institutional Capacity Grants (CDSICG) will fund special one-time projects that enhance or increase the capacity and ability of CDS to fulfill its mission and promote the CDS Principles of Good Practice to a larger audience. The is a limit of two awards per year for no more than 30% (total) of the working account for both awards. For example, one project could be funded for 30% of the SIF working account (January 1, amount) or two projects for 15% each of the SIFWA. Funds not utilized in one year will remain with the SIFWA. The intent of the grant is to allow CDS to address external resources that are not currently available within its membership to meet the stated purposes of the capacity grant applications. It is not intended to supplant or augment existing committee work which can be funded from annual committee budgets. Projects must be unique to CDS and have discernable outcomes, reasonable timelines and fixed budgets. Applications are limited to current members of the CDS Board of Directors. Unfunded applications can be modified and resubmitted in the next opportunity. Additional process guidelines will be available on comm-dev.org website in the new future.
Community Development Advancement Grants (CDAG) fund projects that advance the field of Community Development. These projects could be focused on creating educational resources, projects that increase our understanding of issues, processes that engage people across time and space, and other projects that will enhance and support the science, practice and discipline of Community Development. It is very important that the applicant build a strong case how the project advances Community Development in some form. The total Community Development Advancement Grants awards are limited to 30% of the SIFWA each year (January 1, amount), with no one grant allocating more than 10% of the SIFWA. It is expected that an awardee of a CDAG will present on the project at the next CDS annual conference following project completion. Projects must be unique to CDS and have discernable outcomes, reasonable timelines and fixed budgets. Applications are open to CDS members only. The project operational team can include non-CDS members but team leadership and fiscal responsibility must be established by a current CDS member. An individual can submit more than one application per grant cycle, but only the top ranked application will be funded in the case of multiple accepted applications by one individual. Grant applications will be peer-reviewed. Additional process guidelines will be available on comm-dev.org website in the new future.