Grant Writing Tips

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Mining 990 Forms for Gold: Grant History of Private Foundations

If you are looking at Private Foundations for grants, you MUST know how to research their grant giving history. The way to do this is by reviewing their Federal 990 Tax Forms.

What’s a 990 Form? In the U.S., tax-exempt organizations, nonexempt charitable trusts, and section 527 political organizations are required to file a 990 tax form to disclose information on their Board and grant giving for the year.

The 990 Form is unique to the U.S. IRS. If you are researching from elsewhere, your government will likely have an equivalent form you should be able to access.

Why Review 990's? There are a few reasons – anyone of which can absolutely be worth their weight in gold!

First, it’s important to confirm the organization’s giving history aligns with your funding request. Sometimes the Foundation’s website will make it look like they give to a number of different priority areas like the environment, childhood health, and the arts. Then when you look at their...

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