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Request for Proposal: Libraries Serving Under-resourced Populations

The Foundation Center supports a nationwide network of more than 200 Cooperating Collections across the country. These free funding information centers in libraries, community foundations and other nonprofit resource centers provide a core collection of Foundation Center publications, a variety of supplementary materials and services in areas useful to grantseekers, and access to FC Search: The Foundation Center's Database on CD-ROM.

One of our primary initiatives for 2004 is reaching under-resourced and underserved populations throughout the United States, who are in need of useful information and training to become successful grantseekers. One of the ways we plan to accomplish this goal is to designate new Cooperating Collection libraries in regions that have the ability to serve the nonprofit communities most in need of Foundation Center resources.

We are seeking proposals from qualified institutions (i.e. public, academic or special libraries) that can help us carry out this important initiative and reach populations whose needs are not currently being met by existing Cooperating Collections.

(guidelines in Microsoft Word)
    Eligible libraries must:
  • Be open to the public without restriction
  • Be located in an area serving at least 100 nonprofit organizations
  • Be located at least 100 miles from an existing Collection (depending on population density)
  • Provide access to computers (connected to the Internet) for staff and public Please include the following information in your proposal:
What is the population of your city and/or surrounding county? How many nonprofit organizations are located in your area? (Please submit estimate and source.) Would they all be able to use your resources? What resources do your nonprofit leaders and volunteers currently use? What distance are you from other Foundation Center Cooperating Collections?

How accessible is your location? Is access barrier free? Is there public transportation available to your site? Is there parking available; is there a fee? What type of security checks are involved? Will there be a sign-in or registration process to use the collection. Please note: applicants whose institutions require appointments will not be considered for membership.

Host Institution
Please indicate if yours is a public, academic, or special library, a nonprofit resource center, or other institution. What is your IRS exemption status? How many visitors do you now serve, and how will becoming a Cooperating Collection affect this number? Who will support the cost of the yearly membership fee and future enhancements to the collection? (Note: subsidies may be available in the case of urgent need.) Please submit your annual report, budget, etc.

Populations Served and Special Services
Provide us with details on how your library serves under-resourced populations (economically disadvantaged, disabled, specific ethnic populations, etc.). Has your library conducted a needs assessment or user survey of any kind in recent years? What are the demographics of the community you serve? Which population groups and under-resourced groups do you serve? What outreach efforts does your library engage in to reach new audiences? Do you offer services that encourage use from under-resourced groups, such as foreign language materials, staff who speak other languages, or are uniquely qualified to assist these populations? Do you have special equipment for disabled visitors?

Physical layout of the Library
The Foundation Center requires Cooperating Collections to establish themselves as easily identifiable units of their host institutions. This entails having all collection materials in one place, prominent signs, adequate seating and shelving, computer, and photocopy equipment nearby. Please submit a floor plan indicating the proposed location of the collection.

Books, Reference Works, Periodicals
Each Cooperating Collection will receive a complete and up-to-date core collection of Foundation Center publications. Each collection will be expected to subscribe to one or two fund-raising or "grantsmanship" periodicals, purchase several of the basic reference works issued by other publishers and several of the monographs on foundations that are published each year. Collections should also take advantage of the availability of foundation annual reports, particularly for those foundations in their geographic area. Please submit a bibliography of current relevant holdings, as well as plans to enhance the core collection with future acquisitions.

ncluded with the core collection of Foundation Center resources is FC Search: The Foundation Center's Database on CD-ROM, a searchable database that contains information on more than 80,000 U.S. grantmakers and their associated grants.. The Center's Web site is also an information-rich gathering of useful fundraising information. Appropriate technology should be in place to make CD-ROM resources and the Center's Web site publicly accessible. Cooperating Collections may either request a single-user station CD-ROM, or a networked version that can be networked within one building. On how many terminals would your library be able to provide access to FC Search? How many of these terminals would also have Internet access? How close would these stations be to the rest of the Cooperating Collection resources and to reference staff? Do you have training facilities and equipment for Internet and computer demonstrations?

The Foundation Center requires that all Cooperating Collections provide staffed reference assistance to the public for a minimum of 35 hours per week. How many hours per week will the collection be open to the public? Will you be open during evening or weekend hours? Will you provide mail, and/or e-mail/telephone reference service, DIALOG searches, or other services? Will they be fee-based or free of charge? How active will your collection be in offering orientations and workshops for grantseekers in your community? Will you collaborate with other libraries, agencies, technical assistance providers or other nonprofits? The Foundation Center requires that each collection offer at least two community workshops or orientations on the funding research process each year for local nonprofit organizations.

At least one designated staff member, well versed in the use of the materials, is required to staff the Cooperating Collection. The Foundation Center strongly recommends that a professional librarian with an MLS degree be assigned as supervisor. The supervisor will be the contact person for the Foundation Center and will be responsible for informing the Foundation Center of changes and issues relating to the collection. Some familiarity with CD-ROM resources, with the Internet, and with database searching is helpful. This supervisor should be responsible not only for the operation of the collection on a day-to-day basis, but also for additional acquisitions and for preparing regular statistical reports on the use of the collection. The Foundation Center requires that a quarterly report form be submitted, and the form is available via CCNet, the Foundation Center's Web site for CC supervisors. Please address the following:

  • Who will oversee the collection?
  • Will s/he work full-time or part-time in that position?
  • How knowledgeable about the collection and the field of philanthropy in general will s/he be?
  • How many staff will work with the collection?
  • Will they receive training and support?
The Foundation Center requires collections to allocate travel funds for the supervisor to attend regional Cooperating Collection meetings and our annual Network Days at least every other year.

How will you publicize your collection? Do you have a mailing list? A listserv? A newsletter? A Web site? Regular contact with the media? Does your library have a public relations officer who will help promote the collection? Are there other organizations you will be working with who will help you present orientations, workshops and seminars? What other community involvement will there be? Please submit detailed plans.

Letters of Support
Please submit letters of support from relevant organizations in your community including nonprofits and grantmakers, if applicable. Please ask them to indicate any special funding or other ongoing support your collection is likely to receive.

Fees and Membership Services

Membership Fee
All Cooperating Collections are required to pay an annual membership fee of $995. The membership works like a subscription: At the beginning of each year (or upon designation as a Cooperating Collection), collections receive an invoice for that year's membership fee. This invoice is payable within the standard 30 days--not upon receipt of the books in the core collection, which happens throughout the course of the year, depending on when books are issued. The membership fee covers the list of services that follows.

Core Collection
The core collection includes:

Corporate Foundation Profiles
FC Search: The Foundation Center's Database on CD-ROM
Foundation Directory
Foundation Directory, Part 2
Foundation Directory Supplement
Foundation Fundamentals
Foundations Today
Foundation Grants to Individuals
Foundation Grants to Individuals on CD-ROM
Foundation Center's Guide to Grantseeking on the Web
Foundation Center's Guide to Proposal Writing
Foundation 1000
Guide to U.S. Foundations, Their Trustees, Officers, and Donors
National Directory of Corporate Giving
National Guide to Funding in...
Securing Your Organization's Future

Cooperating Collections are expected to visit and use CCNet, a Web site designed by Foundation Center staff for Cooperating Collections. Information and materials provided at the Web site enhances the ability of Cooperating Collection Supervisors and staff to assist patrons, as well as to keep informed about the funding field. CCNet includes messages from the coordinators of Cooperating Collections, relevant news articles, brochure and publication order forms, a networking directory, an electronic bulletin board, and much more. Since so much information is communicated via CCNet and e-mail, we expect that prospective CC Supervisors will have both Internet access and e-mail accounts.

Ready Reference
The Coordinator of Cooperating Collections and Public Services/Cooperating Collection Assistant of the Foundation Center provide "ready reference" service to all Cooperating Collections via e-mail, phone, CCNet, or fax.

Brochures and Supporting Materials
Informational brochures, network address lists and Center publications catalogs are available for bulk shipment to Cooperating Collections for use as library handouts or for conferences or seminars. There is no charge for these materials. In addition, masters of various user guides and support materials developed by the Foundation Center for the purpose of photocopying are regularly made available to CCs.

Training Opportunities
The Center annually provides a number of opportunities for CC supervisors and staff to attend free training sessions offered at our libraries, at appropriate national and regional conferences, and at Network Days, our annual conference for CCs. Center staff regularly conducts site visits to Cooperating Collections, during which they are available to conduct workshops for public and staff. Space permitting, CC Supervisors are also awarded free tuition at the Center's fee-based training.

How to Submit the Proposal

A proposal should come from the institution that plans to house the collection. It should be submitted and signed by a member of the library administration.

Proposals for designation are reviewed twice a year, in May and November, so proposals should be submitted by April 1 or October 1. Libraries are welcome to submit a proposal in advance of these dates, on the understanding that it will be acted on during the next review period. Please be sure the proposal includes all relevant materials, such as budget, agreements between involved parties, tax-exempt designation, floor plan with proposed location of the Cooperating Collection, letters of support, including any funds available or received. Submit three copies of the proposal with all attachments.

Please submit the proposal packet by mail to the following address:

The Foundation Center
Coordinator of Cooperating Collections
79 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003

For more information, contact Kief Schladweiler, Coordinator of Cooperating Collections at cks@fdncenter.org.

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